It’s a sad day for the private server community of Nostalrius Begins. For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Nostalrius was a private server community for the game World of Warcraft, staged all the way back to client patch 1.12.1 which is more formally known as “Vanilla WoW.”
Patch 1.12.1, “Drums of War” was the second to the last patch before the release of The Burning Crusade pre-patch 2.0.1. While the server was in fact 1.12.1, the private server developers decided to slowly open more raids overtime. This allowed the players to progress through each patch fully reliving the “vanilla experience” without having to patch the client.
Blizzard Entertainment brought down the law on the developers and the private server’s hosting company after the server had grown to a large number of players. You may read the full formal letter of complaint on the main Nostalrius website, here.
“Yesterday, we received a letter of formal notice from US and french lawyers, acting on behalf of Blizzard Entertainment, preparing to stand trial against our hosting company OVH and ourselves in less than a week now. This means the de facto end of Nostalrius under its current form.”
I am quite sad by this news myself. I dove into the server and leveled from 1-60 on my mage, Spudicus, last summer and relived the vanilla experience. I joined up with the guild at level 30 and stayed with them until I had to go back to college. I’ve played on private servers before, but this one was truly “Blizz-like,” which means the server’s experience and gold rewards were equal with the way they were on the official servers.
My guild and I running Blackrock Depths, gathering our pre-raid best in slot gear a couple weeks before we gained enough people to run Molten Core.
On a typical World of Warcraft private server, you’d find bugs everywhere or you’d get immediately killed by another player in an unfair advantage because they donated and gotten all sorts of VIP gear. In some private servers, you’d immediately be given max level, max gear, and engage PvP in a broken, buggy, and annoying server. In Nostalrius, all of these typical private server problems were non-existent.
The Nostalrius developers didn’t want your money, they even tried to hide the donation link on the website because money is not what they wanted but much appreciated. If you donated, great, you helped a community stay alive longer. You got no reward out of it. You didn’t pay to win, you played to win. The developers gave up all their free time for a couple of years to deliver the most nostalgic gaming experience ever for a game they know and love to the World of Warcraft fans.
If you played World of Warcraft at release or during The Burning Crusade, you wouldn’t even recognize the game it has become today. While Warlords of Dreanor was pretty cool for a month, I lost interest and so did my friends. Nostalrius brought back the hardcore experience where you needed close friends to help you succeed. It was really exhilarating to walk into a 40-man raid again, for the first time in 10 years, with 39 other people and down bosses. I can’t tell you the last time I had a whole guild do a raid scream over Ventrillo/TeamSpeak because we had downed a boss for the first time in Molten Core. (Another great boss kill/raid scream here.)
The point I am trying to make here is, Blizzard is shutting down a good idea. Instead of filing a lawsuit against the poor developers and server host, they should have offered them a job right at Blizzard HQ and moved Nostalrius to be an official World of Warcraft server.
They wouldn’t be the first game company to host a legacy server with a small team either. Jagex Ltd, the creators of Runescape opened up Old School Runescape (OSRS) servers, which are generating revenue from 40,000 OSRS players. Jagex is fully supporting the OSRS servers and actively engaging with the player community with polls, Twitch streams, and making new content while keeping the legacy/nostalgic feel to the game. This brought back a lot of past players to the game.
In today’s WoW, Blizzard is losing subscribers. Their last report was 5.5 million, and noted that they were no longer reporting subscriber counts. Blizzard lost 5 million subscribers since the release of their latest expansion. Why won’t Blizzard Entertainment follow Jagex’s idea? They obviously saw that it worked on a beautifully crafted private server for their own game. You can see how well it worked for Jagex with their game, why will Blizzard not follow through?
In my opinion, Blizzard Entertainment loves creating content but they are not listening to the players anymore. I’ve seen numerous posts of requests on the official forums of World of Warcraft asking, “Will there ever be a vanilla server?” I remember replying to one of those threads and about five minutes later the post was removed from the forums. There was no vulgar language, no trolling, no spamming or anything breaking the rules. Blizzard just swept it to the side, like it was nothing.
Yet, here we have 12,500 players on Nostalrius at peak hours on one server. It’s just not making sense to me that Blizzard wont support official legacy servers for World of Warcraft, and the Nostalrius community is outraged.
(Please watch the video below – its a good laugh and related to this article)
The developers made a petition directly to Michael Morhaime, the CEO of Blizzard Entertainment in hopes to keep the server alive. I signed it 30 minutes ago, and I was the 500th signature. It is now up to 6,000 signatures within the last hour. There is clearly a lot of support from the community in an effort to keep the server alive. There are a lot of people who love playing the 1.12.1 version of the game. When will Blizzard get the message of what the players want?
I really hope Blizzard makes the right move. I understand that the Nostalrius developers are breaking the law hosting copyrighted content and Blizzard has to protect their trademark. However, Blizzard needs to learn that Nostalrius Begins brought a lot of joy back into World of Warcraft fans, such as myself. They need to take advantage of the opportunity instead of destroying it.
Until then, RIP Nostalrius 2015-2016