Blizzard responds to vanilla WoW server requests, considers ‘pristine realms’

The shutdown of the Nostalrius private server happened some time ago, but the debate it started hasn’t stopped, and today the World of Warcraft team has actually issued a statement in response to the server’s fans and others raising a clamor. If you were hoping for the announcement of a classic server, you will be disappointed, but the open letter from executive producer J. Allen Brack sheds light on both Blizzard’s thought process and what the company is both capable and willing to do for the classic crowd.

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.

Brack’s letter restates that running a classic server is not something that could be accomplished with any sort of ease, although the discussion is brought up repeatedly in the development team. “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,” he writes. “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.”

At the same time, the team has discussed having what the letter calls a “pristine” realm, a server without any leveling accelerations, cross-realm zones, or group finder functionality.

So what can we do to capture that nostalgia of when WoW first launched? Over the years we have talked about a “pristine realm”. In essence that would turn off all leveling acceleration including character transfers, heirloom gear, character boosts, Recruit-A-Friend bonuses, WoW Token, and access to cross realm zones, as well as group finder. We aren’t sure whether this version of a clean slate is something that would appeal to the community and it’s still an open topic of discussion.

Whether or not such a server will be launched is not being announced, but it’s still more of a response than most fans are likely to have expected, and it indicates that the debate is clearly reaching high-level ears.

Update: Mark Kern, who appeared last week promising to hand-deliver the community’s vanilla server petition to Blizzard, has tweeted promising to post his video plea anyway.

https://twitter.com/Grummz/status/724953906728554497

https://twitter.com/Grummz/status/724958404410789888

The video is now live:

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JohnBlue1
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JohnBlue1

I already have a Vanilla and a TBC private server that i sometimes play on, the issue is always the lack of players on these servers though. If blizzard were to release a Classic Server [aswell as a Burning Crusade server and WOTLK server] I would definitely resub to WoW, there is a CHARM to the early period of WoW. Its hard to pinpoint but i would say a large part of it is classes were unique, leveling took some time and wasnt instant, the PVE world itself had some danger to it where your character could die…All in all, the game was more difficult. And ever since Wotlk, Blizzard has fully stripped any difficulty from the game – and that sucks and is also extremely boring…just my 2c.

Skyewauker
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Skyewauker

chernabog  Of course they coooooooooould do it, but in the end is it worth it for them to do it.  Never once did I say that it would be impossible for them.  Right when they bring vanilla legacy servers back up, the TBC crowd will want theirs.  Then the wrath players…. then the cata players…. etc.  Opening up legacy servers isn’t going to be some over night endeavor.  It brings with it a ton of headaches that, at this point, they probably just don’t want.

DrowNoble
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DrowNoble

Skyewauker chernabog Considering the resources Blizzard has, they could do it.
They’ve boasted they are the “#1 subscription mmo in the world”.  Even with *only* 5 million (estimated) subscribers, that is a lot of revenue coming in.  They’ve also said the Warcraft division has 1000 employees.  That is vastly larger than other mmo companies, yet puts out far less content.

Reht
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Reht

Skyewauker chernabog BS, EQ changed considerably from the start.  Which is the TLP servers have been plagued with issues from the start,  because they use the same database as live, think monks hit increase (using live attack table), mage pets (all the pet upgrades), spell tuning and unlinking (hi necros!), etc.  Would it be easy to do?  No.  In no way i am stupid enough, unlike most people, to think that it would be an easy undertaking however with the resources WoW has it could be done if they wanted to do it.

Processedknowledge
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Processedknowledge

I would play.

VasDrakken
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VasDrakken

every classic version of old mmo’s has been what they people doing it were capable of not what happened the first time. The realms online is the best example the original game last about three months live after six months of what was basically an open beta… the remake looked nothing like it, likely because most people who do the remakes were simply not around when the vanilla versions were out and they try to experience the thrill of back then but most of us unless we wrote down our adventures and took screen shots barely remember most of these games. My oldest clear memory is of sitting around a half finished log cabin talking about who was playing at a local venue for dracual’s ball the next week and the free cds I got from the show the weekend before… there were no monsters even in the game and company was hoping that people’s computers would handle the graphics level they had spent two years building on hardware that every weekend it was ten or fiftteen mhz faster than the weekend before… in 1997 in Dec I looked into shipping a computer to my follow on assignment it took until feb to build and by that time they had called me twice to update the order. by June when I was stuck in cherry hill the 300 MHz processor that cost me almost a thousand dollars was slower than the two hundred dollar celrons… this is the time period eq and ashron’s call, the realms, M59 (Meridian 59), all launched into most people were running 25MHz to 90Mhz machines with onboard dsp which were the predecessor to the expansion cards, some on risers with other parts but most of the games that came out between 1997 and 2004 had to target three years ahead to figure out the baseline hard ware. models of character were forty to five polygons period. I think some of the bosses had eighty maybe… these are you classic games. They had to focus on humor and story and wow factor of looking around and playing a game with your friends and thousand strangers… most of us treated it like a glorified chat room. Those us who wanted eye candy would spend about two hundred dollars a part every two years for a new graphics card, a new motherboard and cpu, because even though they were supposed to be universal sockets tech changed so fast that even if the part fit in there so you could buy then in different months the things like new hard drive controllers and things like adding usb sockets… had a major impact on people that grew up expecting to budget two or three thousand dollars of their income every year to playing what ever new game came out with more eye candy cooling looking characters or gear. When I was kid pole position and zork were fun, they still are but if I could get fun plus eye candy way would I want just fun or just eye candy?
I good story that looks like it revolves around you and your friends or you, your friends and the people you look up to is what most of us played games back then for and where the vanilla came from. I am happy that people who spent so much of their time are finally getting their version but I just want to remember be careful what you wish for if you get actual servers that run like that and everyone hates it because someone plays on it that says something you don’t like your not going to be able to ban them… barrens chat was due to the looking for group… I meet some of friends though wow and some old friends I had not seen in years, starving malcontents is likely the funniest group of people but how many of them still talk to each other I know I talk to women who was lost in the tarruen high lands but that was random quirk of fate to run into her, it was not even my main but being curious what a shaman played like that lead to bonk… those things may not happen on your pristine servers because those days happened and interesting people might be there but the people who played there years ago likely have continued to upgrade their hardware if they can so that they can keep playing new games. 

so just keep in mind that a couple hundred people hours that results in severs with the settings if you don’t play on them and blizzard does not see a spike in money likely will result in the next time you want something they will ask you how long you played with the last toy you got…

universalbri
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universalbri

An open letter to Blizzard from a Homeless man enjoying the Vanilla servers
An open letter to Blizzard concerning Nostralius

Wyattearp1989
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Wyattearp1989

Karl_Hungus ManastuUtakata ItsLorgarn Shame that his “followers” are too stupid to realize or care about Kern’s history. That moron doesn’t actually care about all this stuff, he just finally has something to make him feel relevant again.

mourasaint
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mourasaint

Necro Mage Smiggins mourasaint https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBPHRlgczmk

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Karl_Hungus ManastuUtakata ItsLorgarn 
…and maybe that too.

theeknighthood
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theeknighthood

Wandris Cool story, what you have not thought about is the amount of support staff and GM’s that will be required, don’t need those when your a small non profit team, as people can’t really complain when they are playing for free.
Throw in a cost and Blizzards name and people will expect instant replies from any issues they are having as well as free miracles.

Skyewauker
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Skyewauker

Sorenthaz Skyewauker Come on maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.  I watch Summit nightly.  He played The Division.  I wonder why.  Hrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrm.  Could it be because it was a shooter with heavy PvP elements?  He will play a new game that comes out for his viewers, but then its right back to CSGO.  He did it with The Culling.  You have to be smoking that crack rock to think he would stream legacy WoW gameplay for longer than a couple of days.  Its not his cup of tea.  I looked at the list of streamers when Kungen was showing them on his stream.  A majority of them aren’t going to be streaming WoW 24/7.  Sure they might stream it a day or two here and there, but you are acting like this is going to be some genre breaking event if it were take place.  It wouldn’t be.

Btw.

https://www.twitch.tv/summit1g

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

Skyewauker Sorenthaz Summit would definitely be the type to play WoW, not sure what you’re smoking to think otherwise.  He’s been playing the hell out of The Division for example and if I remember correctly he did dabble in Blade and Soul for a little while.  WoW wouldn’t be that drastically different.   
Plus these streamers could form guilds for their subscribers/followers to join which would encourage more people to join WoW as a result.  
Also a number of the big streamers on Twitch started their streaming careers in WoW and got as big as they did thanks to WoW, for the most part.   So it’s not just a “cool thing to do”.  It’s legitimately something they’d do because they used to love playing and streaming WoW in its earlier days.

Skyewauker
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Skyewauker

chernabog Apples and Oranges man,. DBG did legacy servers in a game that they never really changed from the start.  WoW from Vanilla to now, is vastly different.  Its pretty much been recoded.  WoW now is also integrated into battle.net.  There are a lot of infrastructure changes that they have made.   There are changes in how things are coded every year.  What was used in 2000 through the time vanilla was around might not work in their heavily modified engine.

No one but blizzard (i dont give a fuck what experience you have UNLESS YOU WORKED FOR THEM ON VANILLA) can sit here and say exactly how much work would be needed to make exact vanilla servers playable today.  It could take months / years.

Skyewauker
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Skyewauker

Wandris Its not extremely accurate though, that’s the thing.  Nost wasnt 1:1 scripted.  it was close, but it wasn’t exact.  Some bosses were wacky.  Some quest mobs acted strangely.   A good bit of quests were broken.  

You also cannot just use someone else’s code if you are Blizzard.  Its a no-no.

Skyewauker
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Skyewauker

Sorenthaz Stahp.  The streamer kiddies are just posting that they would because its the cool thing to do right now.  Come on man.  Summit playing WoW?  GTFO rofl!

schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

SallyBowls1 Karl_Hungus CloakingDonkey 
If they really wanted, Blizzard could identify the differences between current and Vanilla and make their current servers and client capable of doing both. This would mean more upfront work, but at the same time would mean just one code base to maintain.

schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

breetoplay rottenrotny 
It’s not a guess. Character transfers were explicitly listed among the things that wouldn’t exist on a “Pristine Server”.

schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

mourasaint schmidtcapela Necro Mage Smiggins 
And, pray tell, why on earth should a player even bother with a game where the “main” content is clearly designed to be out of reach for him, more so considering that now there are games meant for players of all dedication levels out there?

Sincerely, I believe it only worked for early WoW due to lack of options. During Vanilla and much of BC WoW was widely known as the easiest of the easy, the most casual MMO among those with good production values, and this IMHO had far more to do with WoW’s success than its raiding.

BTW, watching the story on Youtube does work, but at the same time it doesn’t require playing the game at all. Not really a good proposal for a dev studio; it’s, for example, what allowed me to never regret staying out of TOR, despite loving the two KotOR games.

Robert80
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Robert80

Quincha Nordavind  Yeah… not a fan of Blizzard but certain things I can see the argument of ‘This isn’t acceptable’ from them over.  I’m not arguing you are wrong about how they treat people, or that their quality is not all it is made out to be.  Simply that there are a few things that would be looked at as very bad from their viewpoint for this.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

lanessar ManastuUtakata Wandris SallyBowls1 Tongle MikedotFoster 
What you are saying is that WildStar wasn’t hardcore enough. Then the solution for their sagging sales would to make conditions that your character would die 3 times or more at level 6. It’s funny that Carbine didn’t choose that route to get back the players they lost, because the main complaint that content was being too difficult…
…but speaking of anecdotal levelling experience in Vanilla WoW, my first character had serious difficulty in staying alive until she hit lv 36. That’s when the game’s nuance kicked in for me. Thusly, every other character I rolled in Vanilla (and there was a lot) rarely experienced death there after. Did you simply forget how to play that game? o.O

schmidtcapela
Guest
schmidtcapela

MikedotFoster breetoplay MrEllis 
Actually, yeah, WoW was made to be far more casual than other MMOs at the time:
– Faction-based PvP, so you always knew at a glance if a player was safe to be around.

– PvE servers.
– Death penalties removed from PvP even in PvP servers.
– Instanced group content meant both no waiting for bosses to respawn and that, even on PvP servers, no one could hinder your group’s attempt at defeating the instance bosses.

– A mail system that allowed for cash on delivery, and thus allowed purchases not made face to face.
– A server (faction)-wide AH.
– Failure when crafting or gathering doesn’t cause loss of resources.

– Numerous characters allowed per server, and easily sending things between characters (using mail), so players were able to just use alts for the crafting professions they didn’t have on their main.

– It was possible to reach max level, with every class and spec, while playing exclusively solo.
– Content meant to require groups clearly marked (either with the “Elite” tag or by being instanced).
– Rested XP, making the first hour or so of gameplay worth almost twice, clearly intended as a catch-up mechanic for casuals.

Of course, that is exactly why I went with WoW instead of other MMOs. I wanted a game, not a second job.

mourasaint
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mourasaint

schmidtcapela mourasaint Necro Mage Smiggins Thanks for the informative recap on the downward spiral of design blunders Blizzard has been sucked down for more than half a dozen a years. 

In my opinion raids *shouldn’t* be accessible to all players. If they want the story, they can go to youtube. 

The key is to design other, much less demanding diversions to keep more casual/less skilled players entertained.

schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

mourasaint Necro Mage Smiggins 
It’s not just that. LFR also has a stacking buff that is gained when the group wipes, and before long guarantees that even the most clueless groups can simply ignore all mechanics and beat the raid.

But LFR is faceroll easy for a reason.
Back in late BC, Blizzard put a choice to the WoW devs: either they would make enough of the player base experience raiding in order to be able to justify the huge amount of money being spent on raiding content, or else the budget for raids would be scaled down to something more in line with the number of players it attracts.

So, the devs got to working.

Attunements were the first casualty; the two final raids from BC, Sunwell Plateau and Hyjal Summit, didn’t have attunement requirements, and from WotLK the only raid that did have a requirement was Eye of Eternity, which just required having a single person in the group who had previously completed Naxx. That increased the number of raiders, but not enough.

‘The next step was “wellfare epics”. Players were given ways to obtain raid-capable gear that didn’t require raiding, to the point the WotLK launch event granted a full set of raid-capable gear. This continued in WotLK by having reasonably good raid-capable gear purchased with tokens obtained by running dungeons. This further increased raiders, but again not enough.

The devs then introduced dual spec in the first WotLK patch (originally costing 1000G, so clearly aimed at not-so-casual players); with this, players could have a raid-capable spec and a general purpose spec, alternating between them at the touch of a button.

When all of the above proved insufficient, the devs implemented something to make sure every player could run as many heroics as they wanted, regardless of guilds or friend lists: the LFD. It meant going back on a few early promises, but drastically increased the number of dungeon runs, and (thanks to allowing many more players to obtain raid-capable gear) managed to push the number of raiders above 10% of the player base for the first time in WoW’s history.
Despite that, only a handful of players ever got to defeat the Lich King and see the end of the expansion. So, it was still not enough to justify both the money spent on raids and having them as the cornerstone of the expansion’s story.

Thus, one expansion later the LFR was implemented. The intent is clear: allow everyone to beat the final raid of the expansion and see the end of its story. And it finally managed to bring enough players into raiding (even if a watered-down version of it) to justify the amount of money spent making the raids.

Or, in other words: adding a faceroll-easy LFR was the way WoW devs found to avoid having to scale down the raiding content.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

14 million viewers among the Twitch streamers who pledged to stream legacy servers?  Holy shit, Blizzard should be foaming at the mouth over that.

schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

lanessar ManastuUtakata Wandris SallyBowls1 Tongle MikedotFoster
Huh, what?

The only reason I took more than 30 minutes to get out of the starting zone in WoW, when I first played during Vanilla over a decade ago, was because I was intent on talking to every NPC and fighting every mob. And it was easy enough that I was never in actual danger, even while exploring that first cave alone.

What set WoW apart from other MMOs back then was how casual-friendly, easy even, WoW was. It was among the very rare MMOs that, at the time, allowed players to reach max level without having to group even once, and even clearly marked all quests not meant for solo players by labelling them as “Elite”.

lanessar
Guest
lanessar

ManastuUtakata Wandris SallyBowls1 Tongle MikedotFoster

WS actually sort of failed at “the vanilla experience”, then. I’m not defending Mike Kern or whatever, but the devs of WS utterly failed if that was what they were aiming for.

I played for 30 minutes and was level 8 in WS not two weeks ago. I barely had time to digest the story being fed by quests, there are just little arrows and paths to follow.

The starting zone is completely instanced. There is absolutely zero reason to talk to another player, as killing the mobs as a caster requires three clicks. Killing five mobs at one time just requires positioning.

You even get an achievement for standing out of the red. Well done, you’re not completely a drooling vegetable!

On a private vanilla server, I’m at level 6, died three times, and I’m probably about three hours in. I’ve also interacted with about 30+ players, grouped up at least 3 times to finish a quest, and have two friends.

…and just left the starting zone.I’m not being nostalgic. WOW Vanilla is (minus many QoL factors) factually a better-designed game for keeping you logging in and enjoying what you are doing. It’s NOT a single-player experience.

ManastuUtakata
Guest
ManastuUtakata

Karl_Hungus ManastuUtakata breetoplay JudgeDavid101 
Wait…you’re not logging on for 2 years now? I almost missed that! o.O

ManastuUtakata
Guest
ManastuUtakata

Wandris SallyBowls1 Tongle MikedotFoster 
If this where the case, then WildStar, another game that tried to emulate the success of Vanilla upon it’s release, should of been the next WoW by that logic. We already know this wasn’t the case at all. And it still seems to be struggling today to make the overhead. Most likely concluding Kern is full of it on this position. Just saying.

ItsLorgarn
Guest
ItsLorgarn

enamelizer the ‘Making X Great Again’ is as much a worldwide meme making fun of Trump as it is making a reference to him. Doesn’t have to be in support of his campaign or otherwise.
If you get icky by seeing a ‘Make X Great Again’ meme, oh honey, you better unplug your modem sooner rather than later. Or at least try not to venture outside the comfortzone of your favorite online game and perhaps MOP. Because it’s everywhere at this point, both related and completely 100% unrelated to any campaign of any candidate.

Nordavind
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Nordavind

Quincha They might have agreed to do that, but would Blizzard have wanted all of them? Were they up to Blizzard’s standards? Were the server? We’re talking about a company that axes everything in development that they are not happy with.

Nordavind
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Nordavind

Smiggins Nordavind Zariarn Karl_Hungus Read the last sentence of my profile. Try again.

Tithian
Guest
Tithian

So, that’s a big no then. No one asked for crap like ‘pristine servers’, even without heirlooms, xp bonuses, gear or whatever the mobs still die in 2 hits and we are still stuck with the new world, legion class design and linear dungeons.
Pretty much the PR bullshit I expected from Blizzard. It’s clear that they are not comfortable spending more money on this than a suggested threshold (i.e.zero/free).Oh well, at least we can stop beating a dead horse now.

Wandris
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Wandris

SallyBowls1 Tongle MikedotFoster He might not be a good dev or CEO, but I don’t think he was wrong. Blizzard made some bad design decisions on a very fundamental level which rippled out to other games, instilled bad qualities in the gamers themselves and set their own game on a bad path. WoW has social inertia, enough to last a while yet, but the game  has only ever gotten worse.

Wandris
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Wandris

I have an idea, hire/buy Nostralius! They managed to resurrect original WoW with extreme accuracy, limited resources, in their spare time.

BKone
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BKone

castyr Don’t mix up things. Aspirin was taken from Bayer. 
Learn your history, kids.

chernabog
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chernabog

Such BS.   If SoE/Daybreak can do it with a vastly smaller team, so can Blizzard with all those employees on its multiple campuses.   And if not, there is no reason why a legal team cannot craft a simple licensing agreement.

Jack Pipsam
Guest
Jack Pipsam

I wonder how many Pristine servers they’d open up, and where.
I would give one a shot if they did one in the Oceanic server cluster.

Jack Pipsam
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Jack Pipsam

Smiggins Nordavind Zariarn Karl_Hungus They have a lot more to loose than the people behind Nostralrius (who had nothing to loose).
Security exploits that could affect other Blizzard games, Battle.net 2.0 integration, customer support, ect.

Jigawatts
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Jigawatts

Necro Mage Smiggins mourasaint

I want challenge to permeate all aspects of gameplay, not only high end raiding.

To elaborate. I want group areas out in the world filled with elite mobs, where grouping is mandatory(Stromgarde, Jinthalor, etc). I want random named mobs that kick your ass out of nowhere while questing. I want the removal of the “LFX” instant teleport tool, you want to do a dungeon, make your own group, hop on your mount, and go there. I want dailies utterly obliterated from the game as a concept. I want non-homogenized classes that have individual identities. I want zones teeming with life. I want a real community where your reputation as a player matters. I want to be immersed in a virtual world.

DPandaren
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DPandaren

Quincha You can literally download the WoW server emulation code right now and launch one from your PC.

DPandaren
Guest
DPandaren

agemyth Well, technically we know what they use for their servers in 2005-2012. http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/images/ap/BL25p_v7.pdf

:P

DPandaren
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DPandaren

mourasaint Necro Mage Smiggins That’s LFR though. Mythic is like the FFXIV equivalent to Hard/Extreme.

MikedotFoster
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MikedotFoster

breetoplay DrowNoble theeknighthood  Yep! It was 2k+ when they fired 1,000 support people a couple of years ago.
The core WoW dev team is only a small fraction of the people who work on WoW.

MikedotFoster
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MikedotFoster

mourasaint Necro Mage Smiggins  Also you couldn’t just AOE heal through damage instead of avoiding it.

morganfeldon
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morganfeldon

They’re muddling about the IP thing. The “protect it or lose it” thing applies to Trademark not to Copyright.

morganfeldon
Guest
morganfeldon

Sony Online has officially endorsed a fan run classic EverQuest server called Project 1999. If their lawyers can figure it out so can Blizzard.

Karl_Hungus
Guest
Karl_Hungus

Tamanous Karl_Hungus

morganfeldon
Guest
morganfeldon

It seems you’re having trouble distinguishing between Trademark and Copyright. Sony Online allows a fan run EverQuest server called Project 1999. If their lawyers can figure it out so can Blizzard.

Radfist
Guest
Radfist

Uh their pristine servers totally miss the point.  Players want the original level cap and content, including talents.  Gimping the current systems is just dumb.

wpDiscuz