Blizzard President Mike Morhaime, in an exclusive interview with TechRaptor, clarified the position of both the World of Warcraft development team, as well as the entire Blizzard enterprise by stating gamers think they want fun games, but they actually don’t. 

Legacy servers in World of Warcraft have been a topic of much debate in recent weeks, due to Blizzard sending a cease and desist notice to the admins of the Nostalrius server as well as Nostalrius’ hosting company.  The closure has sparked a heated debate among WoW related communities across the Internet, with battle lines being very distinctly drawn in support of or in opposition to servers from the far past of World of Warcraft

J. Allen Brack even weighed in on the topic of legacy WoW servers, as well as “pristine” WoW servers, stating the following:

We have been discussing classic servers for years – it’s a topic every BlizzCon – and especially over the past few weeks. From active internal team discussions to after-hours meetings with leadership, this subject has been highly debated. Some of our current thoughts:

Why not just let Nostalrius continue the way it was? The honest answer is, failure to protect against intellectual property infringement would damage Blizzard’s rights. This applies to anything that uses WoW’s IP, including unofficial servers. And while we’ve looked into the possibility – there is not a clear legal path to protect Blizzard’s IP and grant an operating license to a pirate server.

We explored options for developing classic servers and none could be executed without great difficulty. If we could push a button and all of this would be created, we would. However, there are tremendous operational challenges to integrating classic servers, not to mention the ongoing support of multiple live versions for every aspect of WoW.

In addition to the above statement, both Blizzard and the admins of Nostalrius announced there would be discussions between the two groups about the possibility of creating legacy servers.  The meetings have been a source of cautious optimism across the Internet about legacy World of Warcraft.

Blizzard’s top executive was far less positive about the idea.

When asked about the possibility of legacy or pristine servers in World of Warcraft, Morhaime said the following:

That petition Kern got involved with made it to 250k signatures, or something?  I bet a lot of the people who signed it think legacy servers would be fun.  These gamers—they think they want fun—but really they don’t.

Seriously, name the last one of our games that was fun.  These gamers seriously thought that line from Brack at Blizzcon was just a smug throw-away line to deflect discussion away from gamers’ criticism of the WoW team’s assembly line of inexpensive, mediocre content?  We’ve been living “Gamers think they want fun…” as a part of our culture since 2009, or earlier, really.

Look at our enterprise.  We transitioned WoW from a video game into feel-good engine for bad players with Wrath [of the Lich King].  We tried to make our ARPG an extortion racket.  Our CCG is so feature incomplete it can barely be called one, and our RTS is less a video game and more sports entertainment!  We even bought the sports entertainment league to add the appearance of legitimacy to what we’re doing in Starcraft 2, just to mess with these gamers.  Overwatch is a soulless copy of a game from Gearbox.  Our MOBA is League of Legends for these gamers dumb enough to get taken in by our characters instead of good matchmaking and gameplay.

And across our enterprise, we’ve gone to impossible lengths to better-deal these gamers—who just want to play our games, do a little work, clear the content, and enjoy the rewards—to Twitch streamers, pro-gamers, anti-social pre-teens, and scrubs.  Why do you think every decent Hearthstone deck is actually a degenerate archetype tucked behind a pay wall?  Why do seasons exist in Diablo 3?  Why are we jamming max levels down every new character’s throat in World of Warcraft?  Why do we resist legacy servers with everything we have?  Why did we make the Starcraft 2 campaigns barely memorable enough to play through once?  Looking for Raid.  Heirlooms. Naxx 2.0. Hunters rolling on melee weapons. Warlords of Draenor.  Do you see ANY gamer giving a crap about any of this?  I certainly don’t. 

In spite of it all, these gamers are lining up for the scraps from our creative table, and we’re going to keep feeding them before breaking their backs.  You’re an intelligent gamer. Let me ask you this: if you were me, and these gamers were all foolish enough to buy your products, even though you’ve been phoning in those products for years, why would you ever give ‘A’ level effort, when a solid ‘C’ means profit? Our bottom line says gamers don’t care if we phone in a game or not.

The “smug throw-away comment” Morhaime is referring to is a comment made by J. Allen Brack at Blizzcon 2013.  When asked if the World of Warcraft team was thinking about having servers for previous expansions, Brack responded by saying gamers think they want legacy servers, but they don’t.

The two statements from Brack and Morhaime further muddy the already less than clear water on whether or not Blizzard will consider undertaking the technical challenges and resource costs associated with opening World of Warcraft servers set in the far flung past of WoW’s story line.

Truly, it’s a confusing time to be a gamer and a fan of Blizzard.

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Todd Wohling

A long time ago on an Intellivision far, far away my gaming journey started with Lock n' Chase, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons The Cloudy Mountain, and Night Stalker. I earned both a BS-Physics and a BS-Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Today I spend most of my time on PC. I left a career of 14 years in aerospace in Colorado, so I could immigrate to Norway.