World Of Warcraft’s Most Popular Legacy Server Is Returning

World Of Warcraft’s Most Popular Legacy Server Is Returning
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Shortly before BlizzCon, the people behind recently shut down World of Warcraft legacy server Nostalrius put Blizzard on notice. “If Blizzard doesn’t make an announcement to honour their own core values, be sure that we will,” they wrote. BlizzCon’s come and gone, and true to their word, the Nostalrius folks made a big announcement. They’re bringing it back.

People miss older versions of World of Warcraft. At its peak, inviting Nostalrius’ staff to a big meeting and expressing preliminary interest in creating their own legacy servers. Since then, however, very little has changed, and Nostalrius’ staff claims Blizzard has been non-communicative, despite hopes from Nostalrius that they could collaborate and jumpstart efforts on a polished, Blizzard-quality legacy server. Now, they’re operating under the assumption that it’s going to be a very long time before Blizzard releases their own legacy servers — if they ever do.

Today, the people behind Nostalrius and another legacy server project called Elysium announced an effort to revive Nostalrius, all the way down to people’s old characters. In the future, Nostalrius plans to release their source code and tools to the public in hopes that legacy servers will proliferate even more than they already have.

“The source code will be first given to an existing Legacy project which we believe to be the most in line with our core values, named Elysium,” wrote Nostalrius’ project manager, who goes by the handle Viper. “This server shares the volunteer spirit and passion for the game we had. Furthermore, an important part of Nostalrius volunteers are already working there, some under different names. We wish them all the best, and hope that they will become a new home for the reunited Vanilla community. We will continue collaborating closely with them. This collaboration could include additional ‘things’ to share with them if necessary to achieve this goal. In exchange, this server promised to not receive any profit from this activity.”

Meanwhile, over on Reddit, an Elysium admin named Suzerain explained that the current Elysium database will be frozen, and characters will be transferred to Nostalrius when it’s back up and running. “As for the dates of these servers coming to life, we cannot provide you an answer on that just yet,” they wrote. “There is a lot of work that still needs to be done! But rest assured, the team will work tirelessly day and night until everything is ready.”

Of course, there are questions. What’s to stop Blizzard from shutting this project down as well? Or taking even further action if Nostalrius’ people continue to act against their wishes.

One thing’s for sure, though: At BlizzCon, Nostalrius’ absence was felt. While walking past the Big Ol’ Wall O’ Drawings (my name, not theirs), I was stricken by the number of large tributes to Nostalrius. Here are just a couple:

Later, during an interview with WoW game director Ion Hazzikostas at BlizzCon, I asked about Nostalrius’ then-impending announcement and the tensions that had arisen since the meeting between Blizzard and Nostalrius a few months prior. Hazzikostas more or less reiterated Blizzard’s message of the past few months.

“I can’t speak for Nostalrius, but I can say I really thoroughly enjoyed our meeting with them,” Hazzikostas told me. “A ton of us on the team, myself included, are day-one World of Warcraft players and beta players. I work at Blizzard because of my love for the original World of Warcraft, so I definitely feel a great sense of nostalgia for those times. It was really cool meeting a team of enthusiasts who put together their own project trying to reverse-engineer and make sure those days are represented. They’re a great group of people. It was really cool seeing their passion.”

“But as we said on our forums a couple weeks ago, it’s something we’re still discussing,” he added. “It’s something that, if we were to do it at Blizzard, we’d need to do it at a Blizzard-level of quality. That’s a large undertaking. It’s like launching a new game, for all intents and purposes. If we could flip a switch and just make it happen, we would. But it’s not that simple. So it’s something we’re still discussing internally, and we wanted to make sure people understood we’re not closing the door on it, but also we don’t have anything to announce just yet.”

To be absolutely certain, I asked for clarification. “Just to be clear,” I said, “you’re only discussing things right now? You’re not working on anything at all?”

“We have nothing yet,” replied Hazzikostas. “We have nothing to announce. We’re figuring out what the right path for Blizzard with regards to this project is.”

I reached out to Blizzard for comment on the latest development in the Nostalrius saga, but as of publishing, they had yet to get back to me.


  • Blizzard announced on their own forums prior to Blizz-con that nothing would be announced about a “classic” server. Could have saved the Nostalrius guys some trouble.

    The reality is that there isn’t a good business case for launching a Blizzard Classic server. 1 mil “registered” accounts is meaningless when people can have multiple accounts and there’s inactive accounts etc. What was their typical daily/monthly active user base? I’d bet it was tiny compared to what Blizzard would need to justify spending the cash on reviving Classic.

    Yes, a Blizzard run Classic would get more people playing it but some of those are people they’d lose people from the current iteration of the game who switch over.

    Blizzard are a company, they do this for profit. No profit = no server.

  • I still really hope that official Blizzard legacy servers are made one day. I stayed away from Nostalrius purely due to the fear that it might be taken down (which proved true). If there was a server made with a guarantee to stay up I would be all over that along with at least 3 of my friends that played Vanilla, as well as a few other friends that never experienced it and are curious.
    I just miss the camaraderie that existed back then. When there was no cross-server play or LFR functionality you used to have to communicate and you got to know many people from both factions on the server. Now everything is so automated and that communication is basically gone. While I remember that Vanilla WoW was far from a perfect game, it was the player-base and sense of community that kept me playing it originally for so long.
    I would love the chance to revisit that.

    • I hit lvl 60 the day before BC launched so I never got to experience max lvl Vanilla but BC was still before cross-realm stuff.

      What I did back then was develop a friends list of good tanks/heals/dps that I’d run with in pugs and whenever I formed a group I’d message those who looked free. Over time I ended up with an extensive list of friends and got to know most of them pretty well. Gave me plenty of people to play the game with outside of my guild. I quite often got messages asking if I wanted to run something…with the person asking also wanting me to form the group because it took me all of 5 mins and the groups were always great.

      That same process still applies now, regardless of cross-realm play. I took a break for 5 years so my friends list is being rebuilt but last week in Kara I joined a pug, noticed the healer was awesome. Added him to friends and we’ve been messaging back and forth about kara this week despite running with different groups.

      tl;dr the friendship and camaraderie still exists…you just need to talk to people.

  • Is this a situation where people have this idyllic memory in their head of something from oh so many years ago, ie a TV show or movie they loved as a kid….but then you watch it and it’s totally shit.

  • Cant wait for all crying to start once this one gets taken down as well. then again the “outpouring” that we will see this time will be extremely small because theres no massive content drought.

    Going to be fun to see this new team bitch and moan then they get taken to court for not following the Cease and Desist letter that they will recieve

  • So basically:
    “Blizzard aren’t giving us enough attention so we’re going to infringe on their IP again”

    Surely a bunch of clever people really aren’t that stupid.

  • This is Blizzard, they are slow… if you put a top twenty list of the games with the longest development time. The whole Blizzard catalogue would be up there. Diablo III :p

    Given the technical issues trying to ressurect an old game that has been overwritten again and again after 11 years. A hig def remake of an old console game can take years for developers.

    The issue for them is a business model… cant be free (or even free to wow players) as it wont cover development install and operating costs and would have to be profitable on its own to maintain while not detracting from the current blizzard catalogue… thats a lot of planning and business modelling.

    Personally classic wow sucked… Burning crusade was the pinnacle.

    • Personally classic wow sucked… Burning crusadeWrath of the Lich King was the pinnacle.

      Ahem. FTFY.

  • Seems like a dumbass move in my opinion.

    So much for being grateful for the cooperation and goodwill shown by a company who really, really don’t have to. Are these folks actually looking forward to having the lawyers sicced on ’em in perpetuity; a digital lifetime of guerilla server moves/shutdowns, lawsuits, and refunds/lost funds? Is that ‘pirate server’ underworld romanticism part of why they do it? Or is this seriously all because they are too petulant (and/or arrogant) to play by the rules and accept that Blizzard-quality polish comes at a cost of time?

    I really don’t get the mindset of anyone who could be so consumed by impatience and nostalgia that they’re willing to burn bridges and put up with all those losses, and disrespect the artists responsible for something they love. It seems pretty unhealthy to go to such lengths because they can’t accept compromise.

    Like a kid getting into their 20s but who still won’t let go of their security blanket long enough for it to be mended and/or cleaned.

    • At the same time though we don’t know what was discussed at their meeting. What we do know though is Blizzard are still unsure if they even want to do it.

      • Blizzard has said repeatedly that they’re ‘discussing it internally’. I don’t know what these complainers expected. Don’t they know what that means? They want to, if they can. And ‘if they can’ is a fucking huge ‘IF’.

        What people need to understand is that there are a billion questions to answer about this kind of thing.

        * How will accounts work? Will Vanilla be a chargeable product? How much will it cost – one-time upgrade, or part of a current WoW sub? Will it be hosted on the store? What engineering needs to happen to make the out-dated code interface with the new store and authentication code?
        * Will it even be a separate download build, like PTR, or will there be incorporation into Live? How would they do this? What would it look like? What would it break?
        * If they incorporate into Live, will there be character-porting for eligible characters? How would they do this? What would it look like? What would it break?
        * If they incorporate character-porting from Live, will they enforce vanilla race/class combos? How would they do this? What would it look like? What would it break?
        * If they enforce vanilla race/class combos on an imported character, will they offer players a choice for their transit? How would they do this? What would it look like? What would it break?
        * If it’s a separate build, how will it be maintained? How will the character pools look? Which ‘quality of life’ mod/UI improvements will be retained? Which will be kept the same as legacy? You have to understand that there is code in there that was changed for reasons which have nothing to do with ‘the flavour of vanilla’ and all its precious balance.
        * Which patch will they use as their base? Latest Pre-BC? Golden age 1.6? 1.2? Will the Naxx event be running in perpetuity? Do things that were broken/bugged in Vanilla stay broken? Will we have a rolling patch cyclce for vanilla to adapt to the demands of our server infrastructure and changes in consumer hardware/software, or do we say that players not running a 10yr old machine can’t play anymore?
        * Will they use a current build with a vanilla ‘instance’ or ‘phase’? A Live build, but with Vanilla art assets and rule-sets (eg: potion-stacking, flightpaths not being one-click journeys, quivers, ammo requirements, most classes needed reagents, weapon skill levels, etc).

        The answer cannot – and will not – be, “Just do what Nost did.”

        These are not small questions, and each one answered creates pages and pages and pages of entirely new questions and challenges, some of which may end up causing them to re-think the first answered question. You cannot simply pick your favourite answers, because those answers may end up conflciting with each other thanks to development costs, development time, or simple incompatibility/impossibility between desired options.

        And the ONLY driving priority cannot be, “Is it authentic vanilla?” They need to be thinking about other priorities, like: “How many people will pay to play it? How long will they play it for? What demands will they have once they start playing it? What’s our timeline for planning/developing/testing/marketing/release? Which resources will we divert to it? What do the different options cost in both human resources and systems resources?
        How does a Vanilla patch cycle to address those issues plus ever-evolving security threats fit into our existing patcher/download criteria?

        And for every question, add: Do the answers to these questions veto any of the available options?

        We’re at hundreds of words here with no answers, no options, just questions, and not even a complete list of questions, and that’s without even knowing anything about what is or isn’t possible in the back-end and what would or wouldn’t take years to implement?

        Now take that new awareness of complexity, and apply it in the context of an already-stretched team who has just launched an expansion, is working on a tight schedule of frequent content updates WHILE working on a new expansion, and understand that all of this discussion is being held by those incredibly busy people who are known to spend literally weeks deliberating over a ~1% change to a specific class’ specific ability.

        What the fuck did these folks expect Blizz to say? “We’re digging up a copy of our old code and hosting it as-is, it turns out it was really simple to do and doesn’t cause any problems or conflicts?” Get out.

    • Especially since Blizzard have to decide if its even worth the time and money to begin with. They run a company for profit, if the business case can’t be made to develop and run a Classic server then it won’t happen.

      Also have to remember…they just released an expansion! They don’t have time to consider another path right now. Look at all the new content they’ve announced, that will keep them flat out for a year. At the same time they’ll already be planning and doing prelim work for next expansion….working on a Classic server requires either re-routing existing resources/people or hiring more.

      Not very likely.

  • Sorry to burst your bubble people but it ain’t coming back, they sold the code to another private server and the pathetic part is the ones they are selling it to are the same ones thst kept on mocking and and giving them shit ( there name evades me at the moment).

    So long story short they lied, don’t believe me go check the forum’s.

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