April of last year, one of the most prominent private servers running World of Warcraft, Nostalrius, was shutdown by Blizzard, which caused quite the outcry. That was not the only private server for WoW, however, and did not deter a man known as Gummy from continuing work on Felmyst, his private server intended to run WoW during its Burning Crusade expansion. Unfortunately for Gummy, Blizzard sent him a cease and desist letter causing Felmyst to shutdown the same day it was officially launched.
For Gummy, Felmyst was a labor of love and the product of four years of work. It recently went into open beta for testing at the end of June as it ramped up for release. It'd be easy to say that after Blizzard shutdown the Nostalrius server in April of last year, Gummy should have moved on to something else. In a statement currently live on the Felmyst website, Gummy goes into why he continued working on Felmyst:
Last year's news of what Blizzard was doing came at the absolute worst time for me, frankly, with so many years already invested. To explain what may appear as an odd series of decisions it seems worthwhile to disclose my condition, muscular dystrophy, which only one other person in the online sphere knew of until now.Obviously, any project someone spends four years of their life working on will be very dear to them, but one can only imagine how much that is amplified when someone is struggling with muscular dystrophy, a disease that only continues to get worse as time goes on.
One of the problems Felmyst ran into, which is the case for many fan projects, was that it became popular. There are many more WoW private servers out there at the moment, but those that have tried them will tell you they are not the most pleasant experience, therefore they are not that popular. Felmyst received a lot of attention pretty quickly, which of course put it on Blizzard's radar.
Gummy was trying to anticipate this, as he has had experience with WoW private servers before, as he launched Scriptcraft, a WoW private server based on the original game. It was never shutdown by Blizzard, as it never got an incredible amount of attention, unlike Felmyst. In the statement on the Felmyst site, Gummy addresses this as him gambling on Felmyst's popularity in hopes that it will stay alive, which he obviously lost. To him, there was no point in announcing that Felmyst would have a limited server population, as that would have only killed the player count in his estimation.
Felmyst's future is unknown right now, but from comments Gummy has made on reddit, he has no plans to bring it back online. He's also dealing with fans that have been anticipating Felmyst for quite some time that are disappointed the server is gone already, which you can see in that reddit thread. There are ways to get around Blizzard's legal attempts—which is evidenced by the many other popular WoW private servers still running with large populations—but Gummy was taking a different approach to not deal with all of the jumping around he would need to do. It seems he wanted to avoid the headache as well, hoping his approach he took with Scriptcraft would work, but in a post-Nostalrius world, luck wasn't with him when he gambled.
What do you think of Felmyst being shutdown? What would you like to see done with the project? Let us know in the comments below!