Back in October, the team behind the Nostalrius vanilla World of Warcraft private server promised to bring back the popular server if Blizzard didn’t announce an official vanilla server at this year’s BlizzCon. BlizzCon has now come and passed without an announcement, so Nostalrius is putting their money where their mouth is.
Since the team behind Nostalrius met up with Blizzard Entertainment earlier this year, the massive developer, who is also working on Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm, turned out to be uncommunicative after the meeting last summer, according to a forum post by Nostalrius’ project manager Viper on the Nostalrius forums.
After the meeting with Blizzard, we continued to reach out regarding the issues they raised in order to help them as much as possible and to speed up the process of an official release. Trust us, we were ready to work like hell on that, even more than before in order to help WoW team. But we never received any response to these questions, even after 4 months.
Despite Blizzard’s silence, the team decided to approach the developer from another angle, saying that the team started working on “mature proposals” that included studies, analysis of the potential costs of maintaining an official vanilla server and even the “complete transfer of technology of our existing work, fixing the few remaining issues we had, official Battle.Net integration on Legacy to enhance community driven strategy and other more complex IT topics, all of this on a volunteer basis”.
Even with most of the footwork was done by Nostalrius voluntarily, Blizzard would continue to be silent despite the support Nostalrius got from their, and Blizzard’s, community.
Viper notes that World of Warcraft executive producer J. Allen Brack said that the topic of a vanilla server wouldn’t be talked about at this year’s BlizzCon, a sentiment that was echoed by Professions Lead designer Matt Goss during BlizzCon (the article itself is in German).
Still, we should not forget that Blizzard is the owner of World of Warcraft and would be for sure the most able to restore it. Until they disclose a schedule (if they do), the Legacy community will have to assume there will not be an official Blizzard release of Legacy WoW – possibly for very long time.
With the ongoing radio silence from Blizzard, the Nostalrius team has decided to release their server’s source code and their tools for all to see (and use) as they see fit. While the code and the tools will be available to everyone freely, it’ll first be given to another private server (Elysium) running the vanilla version of World of Warcraft. Why Elysium? Probably because Elysium’s server is based in Russia which makes forcing a Cease & Desist a little more tricky than it would be if the server was based in the US. Another reason why Nostalrius could have decided to return to the private server scene might also be that their product very likely won’t impact Blizzard in any way since the difference between vanilla WoW and current, pot-Legion WoW is pretty big so you might as well not see them as comparable products.
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.
Viper says that the Nostalrius team will be working closely with the Elysium team, who will maintain the server without trying to turn a profit. The Elysium team will also be given the documentation that explains how the tech works. After the Elysium server has been set up, Nostalrius will release the source code and the developer tools as a free download, allowing anyone to use their technology. Viper notes that they also want to release their server tech to help budding game developers to understand server architecture.
While Blizzard Entertainment can do whatever they want with their game, the announcement from Nostalrius tastes bittersweet to those who have been pining for an officially supported vanilla server. Despite their story becoming one of the biggest stories of the year, there is only so much they can do without help from Blizzard themselves, who seem less than willing to continue the dialogue between their teams.
We worked hard for the last 6 years on this project, even if most of you only experienced it for just one year. A list of all the volunteers who worked here will be provided soon. We know that it may be difficult to understand our motivation: spending all this time for a passion on a volunteer basis. Maybe it is heresy. But for us, if you’re good at something, it’s your duty to give back one way or another.
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