Blizzard Will Meet With Fans Behind The Vanilla World Of Warcraft Servers

The last month has been a bit of a surprise for the World of Warcraft community. At first they had a legacy, fan-run vanilla server for people to enjoy World of Warcraft as it (largely) originally was. Then they didn't. Then there was a petition, which grew. And the mobilisation of that community has now brought Blizzard to the table — or in this case, the fans.

Photo: Blizzard Entertainment / World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

The admins behind the Nostalrius World of Warcraft server, which Blizzard admitted they shut down to protect their intellectual copyright, announced earlier this morning that they would be having a meeting with Blizzard at the company's campus.

"After the answer from Blizzard and the amazing support we received, we feel we are now not only the admins of a private server: We are also the ambassadors of a larger movement for the entire World of Warcraft community that wants to see game history restored," the fan admins wrote. "It is a major responsibility. Our top-priority and only focus now is to fulfill the needs of this community, by carrying your voice to Blizzard directly."

They added that their custom anticheat won't be released to the public, despite calls for some in the emulation community to force the creators to release all code relating to Nostalrius. "A second important point is that keeping the sources private could be useful at some point during the discussion with Blizzard. They proposed to discuss together and we want to have all the chances on our side, for the community we represent now."

What has been released, however, is a bit of code that allows people to "replay" segments of the game. It's only compatible with a 1.12.1 original World of Warcraft client, but the code's available for everyone on GitHub.

That hasn't placated voices from within the vanilla community angry about the takedown of their characters — and the effectual wiping of the hundreds of hours spent levelling and grinding. But, as many have pointed out, the situation with Nostalrius has gone well beyond some fans running a server using Blizzard's IP.

It's now about a movement seeking to preserve, as close as possible, the original flavour of what could be one of the most influential MMOs and video games in the history of gaming. That's a whole lot bigger than someone's level 60 character — and given that Blizzard have been debating internally about the prospect of vanilla/legacy servers, it'll be interesting to see what happens as a result of these talks.


    Still puzzled why so many people got shitty at Blizzard for shutting down Nostalrius. I mean it's nice in theory, but in reality the world isn't so simple. Blizzard has to protect it's property. Nostalrius was using Blizzard's property. I keep hearing that no money was being made off it - which even if true, it still doesn't change the fact that Nostalrius was using Blizzard's intellectual property without permission. And every single person playing Nostalrius is potentially a lost customer for Blizzard.

    People are saying Blizzard should just 'let them do it', but if Blizzard lets one unsanctioned private server get away with it, where do they draw the line? I'm no expert on the legalities or copyright law, but I'm pretty sure it starts getting fuzzy around this point. If I was Blizzard, I'd be looking after my shit wholesale.

    Not to mention I know a multitude of people who lament the old days of Vanilla/BC - I mean I still think BC was the pinnacle of WoW as we know it - but holy shit I couldn't go back to it. People forget about all the little things there changed that made life a lot less tedious and time consuming. Rose colored glasses, etc. Modern WoW has it's fair share of issues, sure - but it's a naive fallacy to pretend life was perfect way back when too.

    I'm still curious how Nostalrius was running a server capable of hosting over 100k people at once though if no money was changing hands. Honest question - who was funding it? It's not like you can just run it off a spare PC in your garage. That would've taken some serious hardware and bandwidth to host.

    We've all seen many private servers get shut down over the years - why is it just this one that sparked a debate? Again - honest question.

    Last edited 02/05/16 11:46 am

      Nostalrius took donations to cover server costs.

        Thanks, that explains a bit more then. Which in that case would even further legitimise Blizzard's intervention, imo. Even if every donated cent went to server costs, it's still people taking/making money from a Blizzard product.

        The private server I played on accepted donations but there was no cap and you got special abilities if you donated like multiplied drop rates for certain types of gear or power-level stuff and the like. It was definitely a business model that profit could have been made from.

          That's one of the risks of private servers, really. You never know if everyone really is on equal footing or if they've purchased advantages. A while back there were a host of stories about private servers that outwardly denied they gave rewards for donations but did it secretly instead.

      "but holy shit I couldn't go back to it." - I'm guessing the Nostalrius project wasn't for people like yourself.. but in order to get the numbers they did there clearly was a market for people who did prefer the older builds.

      Yes the property belongs to Blizzard, Yes they were right to have it shutdown. People are still allowed to want what they want and be saddened that it isn't available any more.

      I gave up playing WoW on any regular basis but still pay for a subscription to co-op with my gf. I would happily pay a subscription for access to play a fully supported older version of WoW.

      Not to mention I know a multitude of people who lament the old days of Vanilla/BC - I mean I still think BC was the pinnacle of WoW as we know it - but holy shit I couldn't go back to it. People forget about all the little things there changed that made life a lot less tedious and time consuming. Rose colored glasses, etc. Modern WoW has it's fair share of issues, sure - but it's a naive fallacy to pretend life was perfect way back when too.

      But that's the draw. It wasn't perfect, far from it but you need some adversity for anything to be interesting. For me the addition of all the creature comforts made the game boring\intolerable. To progress through raids you can now just log on and do lfg on the weeks of their release with progression being about loot instead of new bosses. They really killed off that progression path for me - all of a sudden it wasn't about seeing new bosses (yer hard mode didn't count as it took something away - i'd already been farming this boss for weeks on a different difficulty)

      LFG/LFR/Server transfers/Name changes killed the community - it's similar to the greater internet fuckwad theory - anonymity and little consequence leads to people being dicks. Having permanency or around 20 - 30 days played time invested in a character just to get to 60 meant generally people were less of a dick. The community in general was much healthier and less toxic (imo).

      Now im sure there are some out there that love the way wow is now. Not arguing that each to their own but i'd love (and by the looks of it others too) the option of an officially supported server set back in 1.12.1 where i could just log on 4 - 6 hours a week and take ages (like a year or so) to level to 60.

        Look, I definitely agree there's a market for it. I'd happily check it out myself if it was made available by Blizzard. I was more addressing the legitimacy of Blizzard's intervention, and the associated outcry that resulted. I noticed a lot of negative feedback attacking Blizzard for just shutting it down to kill people's fun/be arseholes for the sake of it, etc. I even saw people stating that no money changed hands, which is apparently incorrect too.

        I hope the Nostalrius guys can instigate some change. If there's enough demand, and it's profitable or beneficial to their brand, I'm certain Blizzard will be right on board.

      Cody you are a pleb.

        I'll be whatever you want me to be, baby.

    If there was an official 1.12.1 server i'd be all over that shit. I loathe the new systems, they killed the game when they added more "accessibility" options. You know the much pandered lfg, 999 different difficulties, server transfers & name changes, far to much class homogenization all, IMO, fuckin terrible for the game.

    If they could bring them into the fold and release an official 1.12.1 server....

      I always found the old system catered more to the hardcore players. Casuals didn't much care because it didn't affect them, but middle-rung players like myself and pretty much every player I know always missed out. I mean I raided full time in BC (Kara/Gruul/TK/SSC, etc) and I burnt out literally in 3-4 months. I'm not a casual, but I'm not hardcore.

      I miss some of the old systems too, but am grateful I can experience more of the game now. I don't have the time or the willpower to commit to hardcore raiding or PvP. I don't think people's experiences should be limited or gimped if they can't commit full time. I play the game for fun these days, and a lot of the old systems were not fun.

      Last edited 02/05/16 12:34 pm

        I was pretty casual (played Saturdays from 1pm - 5pm and that was it). I ended up getting to see just about all of vanilla content with naxx being the exception. It took me the better part of a year to level to 60 and we only raided one day a week. Did i see all the content? No. Did i really need to see all of it to enjoy the game as it was? No.

          Took me 3 months to level my first toon to 60 in Vanilla, and I never even got remotely close to Naxx when it was current. If you saw just about all of vanilla content with naxx being the exception then you pretty much saw all that vanilla had to offer.

          My point is simply that adding LFG systems, or anything that can accommodate casual or time starved players takes nothing away from those wanting more. You can still raid normal/heroic/mythic, push 2200 arenas, whatever you want - the existence of the 'lesser' systems has no effect on you. It just lets other people get more out of their game that they couldn't before because they didn't have a guild, or the time - or even maybe they just weren't skilled enough.

          But we're digressing away from the topic of Nostalrius, so that's pretty much all I've got to say about old vs. new WoW.

          Last edited 02/05/16 12:57 pm

            My point is simply that adding LFG systems, or anything that can accommodate casual or time starved players takes nothing away from those wanting more.

            Like i said i had limited time but we never really had many problems forming a group. We just had a pretty well orgainised guild.

            As far as taking anything away, imo, it did. It killed the server community. It brought anonymity and people became impatient. This had a cascade effect and lead to dungeons becoming easier - you now have 3 different difficulties? With different rewards? Scaling went nuts - now in one tier you have the power difference of a whole previous expansion (vanilla ~3.5 tiers of gear, in draenor you have 3.5 tiers in one raid). This led to outside content being a joke, dungeons being a joke. I remember farming tyrs hand in my ahn'qirag gear and still getting my ass handed to me if i wasn't careful with those level 55 elites.

            It's entirely subjective tho - i'm not saying you're wrong for liking it, that's your opinion i'm just trying to put forward that maybe there is a subset of people who don't and would actually enjoy the game more without those systems in place.

              Hooray for reasoned and polite argument! \o/

    Never played any form of WoW, but I find this story extremely interesting, particularly from a game preservation perspective. Once these games are updated, they are gone forever. That experience is fleeting. Unless someone outside the respective company does something about it. Should older versions of games be available? Do consumers have a right to play older versions of any game? Not questions I have answers to, but really interesting discussions for sure.

    I heard and understand both sides of this arguement now but have been wondering- Blizzard say its too hard to intergrate a vanilla server into battlenet and want to protect their IP. Both fair statements. But cant they buy the server the server fans have built (keeping it separate from and bring the the team onboard as a separate dept to mange it? Its not like Blizzard cant afford what would be a relatively cheap aquisition and it would make them $ in the long run if a small sub fee was in place. That would solve both those problems, yes? I know its probably not that simple but its just a thought.

    Blizzard are having a hard enough time running the game at current, main reason they don't want old servers on their plate is they probs cant handle it. The old builds were a nightmare of coding and band aid fixes that would last til the next patch. Most of their old talent has left by this stage and going by how long its taking there "largest team ever" to develop less content in more time I have no faith that they could handle the old system.

    Nostalgia allows you to see things in a different light, and for some WoW 1.12.X was the best MMO gaming around and they believe after 12 years its gone a bit off the rails.

    Honestly I hated 1.X, 2.X was where it was at it was at its best in my opinion... Group Finders, Reduced PvP queuing, good raiding, better netcode (especially for oceanic), more specs actually worked. There is No Feral, Balance, Shadow Priest, Ret Paladin, Tank Pally etc in 1.X.

    I still remember 12 people I used to have them in my friend list to level up with. That precious rogue who knows the importance of sap and poisons, the amazing warlock who used his cc properly, healers and casters who knew what they were doing. Occasionally I meet up with them, even after so many years that we stopped playing and we didn't even been in the same guild!

    Blizzard should take a cue from runescape and have old school servers.

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