World of Warcraft Classic announcement sends shockwaves through the vanilla emulator community

As the World of Warcraft community grapples with the surprise BlizzCon announcement of a classic server, one subset of players in particular are feeling the impact of this statement more than anyone else. The WoW emulators that have been the center of the vanilla movement find themselves at a crossroads of what to do now that Blizzard is getting ready to officially deliver what they are already illegally doing.

Overwhelmingly, there was rejoicing among several of the emulator communities at the announcement. The Elysium Project said that it will continue to run its servers even after Classic’s release, saying, “We will continue to provide whatever services the community desires should Blizzard not meet expectations.” On the other hand, the newly formed Light’s Hope team announced that it plans to shut down its server when WoW Classic launches.

J. Allen Brack told Eurogamer that Blizzard might recruit Nostalrius’ past leads: “We would welcome their involvement for sure. One of the challenges is they’re both French and so there’s a little bit of a visa concern, but we’d be open to it.”

Source: Eurogamer
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58 Comments on "World of Warcraft Classic announcement sends shockwaves through the vanilla emulator community"

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Dread Quixadhal

There’s one good thing that *MIGHT* come out of Activision launching a classic WoW server.

On the slim chance that it gets enough of a stable population, not just the rush at launch, they might very well decide to continue development on it as a parallel project to the current WoW.

By that, I mean instead of just leaving it stagnant, or trying to bring out TBC and then resetting again.. it’s entirely possible to start developing new content that fits into the old gameplay style better. You could even tell the same storyline, but from a different viewpoint since the mechanics would all change.

The question though, is how many stable players do you need to make it worth keeping a full dev team on it? I would guess at least a million. Not likely, but then nobody believed any MMO would hit 12 million subscribers either.

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Tithian

The emulators really won’t have any choice but to shut down. Blizzard will C&D immediately with Classic launch, and they know it. Frankly, if the official vanilla version remains true to the original, the emulators will not have a purpose to exist, especially the typical bug-ridden lagfests, ran by ‘devs’ that cannot write a script to save their lives, steal donations and can shut down the server at a whim.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Im not surprised Shenna from Elysium says they will keep server. They were milking it selling gold and stealing donation money, and will milk it till the last drop. Im surprised about LIghts Hope announcement. Tons of people will still want to play on private servers since they are free. Besides there are many people on LH who are well geared and dont want fresh start.

styopa
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styopa

The more I think about it, the more I think there will also be shockwaves for the greater MMO community.

I don’t expect I’m the only one who – since maybe TBC, maybe WotLK, maybe Cata, certainly Pandaland – abandoned what WoW was becoming and has really never found a game worth REALLY dedicating time and effort to. Modern MMOs all seem so facile and enervating…I can’t say for sure, but the fact that there is a “WOW CLASSIC” server coming makes me hopeful it will be one worth committing to.

And the result of that is that I can stop wasting my time and money fishing for the ‘next big game’. I have my hopes up for this one, and I can wait.

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Dušan Frolkovič

You are assuming that everyone that stopped playing WoW did it because of it changing.
Which plainly is not the only reason.

You have people that just did not have the time anymore.
Or found a game that more suited their gameplay preferences.

amkosh
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amkosh

I think that you’re wrong. Probably 99.999% of the people who left WoW found games and other entertainment. Will only 0.001% play? Of course not, the percentage will be higher, but I doubt it will be super high, except maybe on launch day and then it will bleed customers after that.

If you want to know why I think you’re wrong, it’s because that’s what history has shown us. Or to put it a bit more bluntly, if you were right, WoW would have never been made because people would still be playing SpaceWar! and Rogue….

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Arktouros

I just don’t see a large impact happening. We’ll likely see the same WOW style cycle of immense popularity following release followed by the usual lull that hits once the content has been consumed (and never updated? How do you update classic WOW without making it “un”classic? So many philosphical questions with this title :D)

Fundamentally WOW’s game play has changed very little when you get down to it. In Vanilla you got to level cap, grinded dungeons, then ran raids for gear. As of Cataclysm (last I played) you still continued to level up, grinded dungeons, grinded heroic dungeons, then grinded raids, then grinded heroic raids. This game play already had a massive impact on the industry when numerous businesses invested in the era of the WOW clones. That era was full of atrocious games that copied WOW’s game play model but failed to fundamentally understand what made WOW so successful as a game (SWTOR being the apex of those failures).

It’s great though to see PvE players hit their nostalgia phase. As a PKer I’ve been surrounded by the nostalgia phase for years now with everyone going on how great UO was or how amazing DAoC was and all the new titles are just so carebear yada yada yada.

April-Rain
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April-Rain

Having played on some of these vanilla servers over past year I can honestly say the private vanilla server community will be dead at release. You will get some running still with small communities as you will always get people who want to play for free in any game but the numbers will all be playing blizzard.

Servers to run wow with a good server pop and performance are expensive and I don’t think any will be able to raise the required amounts unless they pool together into one community which as we have seen is very unlikely.

I will also add i have never met a vanilla player who has said they would rather not go back to blizzard if blizzard launched vanilla.

Why? because it will be supported with no dodgy dealings or badly run communities by admin that sell gold, characters, cash shops or rip off the server donations.

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johnwillo

And persistence… no chance that your characters will disappear when their server gets shut down.

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Castagere Shaikura

Can’t wait to hear how people feel about paying a sub.for this classic server.

styopa
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styopa

So you’ve missed the hundreds of people JUST HERE (like myself) that were longtime subs of Blizz, that dropped WoW, and have said “If they just build a classic server, I’d be happy to pay for it”?

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Lethality

There might even be 10 of you.

styopa
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styopa

Are you just trying to convince yourself now?

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Lethality

Wait and see. Guaran-fucking-teed.

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Reht

Doubt you are going to hear much crying, a lot of people have been wanting this and know that they will be paying a sub cost in some form. Those that have an issue with it can still play on Elysium… I, for one, am not going to complain even if it costs a separate sub from my normal wow sub, which i can more than easily pay for using wow tokens.

April-Rain
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April-Rain

I will gladly pay another sub on top of my current wow sub for classic.

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Carebear

these people were paying a sub for years in blizzard and played wow… they are not your typical f2p hippies… if you are looking for hippies, try the current f2p games.

When the time comes, and Blizzard release the classic servers, then you ll see what MMO success means.

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David Harrison

Us Everquest gamers have been paying a subscription fee to play on classic servers of Everquest for years. They are called Time Locked Progression servers (TLP for short) in Everquest, and you can ONLY access them with a paid subscription (note that all the other servers are accessable with out paying for a subscription). If anything, the TLP servers for Everquest have proven that gamers want classic MMO servers and WILL pay for it.

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Knox Harrington

There will always be a portion of the emulator “community” that just wants to play the game for free no matter how much they pose as hipsters on a vintage kick.

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Reht

Pretty much

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

NO SOUP FOR YOU.gif
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Utakata

Seconds that LOL! <3

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rafael12104

LOL!

Hey… I know that movie. Witness. Damn good movie too.

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Iain B

“Shockwaves”? Really?

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Armsbend

Shockquakes

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rafael12104

Shaka… Chaka, Chaka Khan!

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Hirku

Boomshakalaka!

boomshakalaka.jpg
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Targeter

Shockadins.

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Sorenthaz

After playing Valkyrie WoW (which was up to the Ahn Qiraj War Effort) a few years ago, I think I’m good on emulators. Emulators are cool because you can go back and see the World that was, but it’s always bound to never be the perfect 100% experience. Often times due to it largely being a volunteer project it can take a long while before the emulator reaches AQ/Naxx, and there’s also the problem of figuring out what to do with the special events. Not only that but scripting often has to be done from scratch, it looks like, so there’s a lot of things that can be broken or seem incredibly off when it comes to dungeon encounters especially.

Only reason to play an emulator after Classic would be because Classic probably will require monetization of some sort, and there’s been no word on whether or not a normal WoW sub will be good enough to get in.

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Slaasher

That’s an interesting point of concern for many i’m sure.
I am of the opinion that they will combine the prices for both. Maybe $15 /month or $18 instead of the $12 they charge now (numbers may be off a bit – been awhile since I’ve owned a WoW monthly sub)

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Reht

I am curious to see what/if they do with WoW tokens on the classic server.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

Blizz finally seeing the money on the table will mean blood in the water. When it comes to pirate servers it will be, as the Daleks say, “Exterminate!”

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roo woods

I only tried an emulator once . It was pretty good but I would rather play on an official classic server .

And I live in hope that they will be such a success that Blizzard considers the pristine servers that they were talking about a while back which will maintain much of the original difficulty of the classic WoW but extend it into new expansions .

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Melissa McDonald

feel free to disagree, but as long as a game is actively running/patched/supported, there isn’t a real need for an emulator.

This is different than the idea of a player-run/ruleset, or configured server in the official game construct, of course.

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David Harrison

Everquest has had TLP (their version of “classic” servers) for many years, and they are a HUGE success for Daybreak Games. If anything, Blizzard saw how popular the TLPs are for Everquest, and decided it was time to share in the profits.

I think that going forward, we are going to see MMORPGs adopt a dual modal. One modal focused on main line expansion, and one modal focused on an arc in the time line. TLPs (and classic for WoW) represent a separate timeline in the game’s history where the game lost a large number of followers due to people not liking the direction the game took.

TLPs/Classic servers give the MMO industry a way to recoup their lost customers with out admitting that they blew it at some point along the way. Their current customers keep playing the main line expansions, and their newly regained customer base returns to play on the arc’d time line servers.

The next step in the evolution of these classic/TLP servers is for one of these MMO companies to take the initiative and release a NEW expansion that is for their classic servers only. It takes the game in a new direction but along the same game mechanics of what made their classic game attractive to it’s customer base.

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Slaasher

I don’t think Blizzard spends much time looking at EQ or Daybreak as an example of what to do. I believe they are moving forward with this to put another nail in the coffin of the emulators that are in the business of stealing their game.
I would also disagree with your assertion that they are using this as a disguise for admitting they “blew it at some point along the way” seeing as how WoW is the most successful mmo in history.
I am surprised that they are starting up the classic servers as Blizzard has never struck me as a company to look in their rear view mirror but I am curious enough to perhaps give it a try for a time when it launches.
I would like to se them eventually take the classic in a different direction story wise. Perhaps an alternative and/ or parallel universe type thing but I highly doubt they will take that risk

styopa
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styopa

While I played on private vanilla servers, the three biggest discomforts for me were:
– This really IS Blizzard’s IP, no amount of sugar-coating or rationalization changes that…, and
– Playing in Vanilla requires a commitment of time. It’s not 1-20 in an hour like today. Why am I committing time into something that could vanish tomorrow due to C&D are any of umpteen reasons a private server implodes?
– Since they had to hide from the lawyers, they were invariably in Europe or further. Trying to PVP with a 100ms+ disadvantage frankly sucked.

All of these go away, if I pay Blizz instead. That’s worth it.

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Sorenthaz

There’ll likely be emulators covering more than just Vanilla and once Classic decides to move on to expansions there probably won’t be a way to go back to Vanilla and so on.

Unless Blizzard does different servers for each expansion, but that might require a lot of different installs and separate files for each one… *shrug*

Also people are playing emulators for free. Classic will almost certainly have some sort of entry fee.

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BDJ

The difference is, is that Blizz will have an even stronger leg to stand on than they do now.

You can’t use the “game not available anymore” arguement. You can take it to the bank that blizz will go after private servers with a fiery passion once they launch classic n

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the_balance

I’ve got two diverging trains of thought on this topic (and emulated games on the whole). While I’m not a huge fan of emulating games that still exist to appease to a niche market those who not only want, but will actually play on early-stage WoW servers in this case, I understand the many reasons for emulating dead games and mostly agree with them.

But first, a quick aside – what people say they will do regarding video games, and what they actually do are two VERY different things. This is true in literally every aspect of life. My father had a great quote when I disappointed him and then promised to do better, “Don’t tell me, show me.” He appreciated the sentiment+apology when I screwed up, but only how I learned from it and acted in the future really mattered.

Anyway, back to games.

The first train is ethical. I don’t care so much about the laws involved and/or legality on the whole. I just feel that to one extent or another everyone deserves to benefit from / have a say in the work they produce.

What’s essentially happened in these emulator setups is that, while those running them aren’t doing it for profit, they’re essentially providing a service with someone else’s product. Emulator efforts rarely ask for permission from the game’s creators, and even more rarely receive it.

Said differently: I wouldn’t be happy with someone using something I poured my efforts into, for any reason, and especially without permission. Even if they’re doing it for free. Even if they’re doing it for charity. Even if anything. Continuing to utilize the hard work of others for any reason, especially when you have categorically been denied the right to do so consistently just irks me.

The second train sees how something like the many SWG emulators have helped preserve a community and a game, in all its many stages, that people can no longer play. SWGEMU is also a great example of how emulating games you didn’t make SHOULD be done – they negotiated use of the game to ensure they remained on ethical and legal grounds while doing their project.

Aside #2 – the SWGEMU team is some of the most dedicated fans I’ve ever seen in any realm of fandom, ever. They’re consistently performing a labor of love to run and restore a game many cherish years after their last opportunity to play it.

I never got to play SWG, when I jumped into my first emulated version of it I was mad at myself for not trying it when it existed (before the NGE, anyway).

I love the reasons behind emulating video games. Sometimes they go in a direction that nobody likes. Sometimes they sunset for good. Sometimes it’s a passion project with a few friends and sometimes its a sprawling effort to return a still-running game to its glory days. I just can’t shake the voice in my head that says it’s not right to use someone else’s work, regardless of the reason, and especially when you’ve been told no. Repeatedly.

These WoW emulations are likely to get wiped off the landscape when they’re close to launching official vanilla servers – and rightfully so. It’s their product, and the (still unethical) justification that they’re no longer providing a service you want (IE you don’t want to play WoW as it is now, but how it was in 20XX) will be gone.

If these emulators are your thing, I suggest you enjoy them while they last. I’d be shocked if any of them survive more than six months after the official vanilla servers go love.

Truthfully, I’ll be impressed if they make it six days.

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Tazuras

Firstly I want to say I really appreciate the detail in which you have shared your view point. When I first saw the length of your post I was wary but it turned out to be an interesting read.

Personally, however, I come at his from a different angle. The heart of where I come from is this: corporations are not people. Emulators aren’t taking a single person’s work and using it to provide entertainment for others, they are taking a work of a corporation. This corporation may have employed hundreds of people to develop the game, but the vast majority of them do not directly benefit from anything that happens with the game. In fact most of them are fired or moved to others a games once it is complete. It is not the creators of a game saying no, it is the corporation who owns the game.

If I were to develop a product and then had to choose if either no one could use it or if people could only use it for he joy of using it with no one standing to profit I would choose the latter.

Unfortunately this is where the law gets i the way. As I understand it the reason mmo companies can’t give permission to others to offer game services they no longer is purely legal as it could cause them to lose copyrights, rights to the IP or for various other legal reasons that in these cases don’t really make sense as far as I understand them.

The legal mess of emulators and the fact that they can be very popular makes me believe that while they may be illegal they are not unethical.

Once the owner is offering the service though, I tend to agree that no one else should be allowed to offer it.

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the_balance

Appreciate the vote of confidence and the effort in the response. Unfortunately, we’ve just got a difference of opinions that are, rarely, legitimate in their own right – this basically never happens on the internet.

To somewhat elaborate on my initial post, I considered (at the time, as I do now) individual and corporation synonymous in this context – whatever creates it, a person or an intangible entity like a corporation both have the right to benefit from the resources they put into the product and/or service.

As someone who’s real career involves software development, I’m aware that individuals are shifted around during the many phases of development. Being able to do this efficiently and utilize your resources correctly is often the largest factor contributing to its eventual success (or lack thereof).

Regardless if whether or not those that actually wrote the code are still working on the game years later when its emulated, my opinion still has merit! Even though those people have moved on and are working on different things in different places, they were compensated for their work at one point – the code they wrote was done so under an employment agreement they willfully entered into.

Just because the corporation is what owns the final product doesn’t mean my statement of everyone deserves to be paid for their work is any different. Everyone that worked on it got paid. The company paying them now has the right to benefit from its resources being put into the product by continuing to offer the game to the public. It’s no different, I just needed to explain it a little clearer.

Emulators using games they hold no ownership of to offer a service (for any reason) break my first point in the OP. Everyone deserves to be paid for their work. The devs created the game, ATVI paid them for their work. ATVI now owns their game, but nobody is paying them for its use via the illegal emulators.

Let me know if I explained that better this go around :)

Just to quickly touch on your copyright point – you’re definitely on track with your statement. Letting someone else use your IP without permission weakens your case of defending it should those people profit from it and you slap them with a lawsuit in the future. What will literally happen is the defense will ask the owners of the IP when they knew someone was emulating the game, and then follow up with, “If this property is so important to you, why did you not initiate legal proceedings immediately upon discovery of its infringement?”

Also, trademarks, copyrights, etc. can be stripped from anyone failing to utilize them and/or defend them regularly via a complicated system that has numerous stipulations, time frames, etc.

Because of these laws and our borderline worthless legislation over the last 30+ years, nobody bothered to update the legal constraints in the digital era. No lawyer will tell you, under any circumstances, that it’s OK to let someone use something you own the rights of (to any extent) without a binding contract (at minimum).

Those emulating games, as we’ve already established, (obviously) do so without permission. The only thing anyone does by allowing that to happen/continue is weaken their eventual grounds for legal action in the future. It’s always a bad idea – and a part of that is because the digital age hasn’t seen adequate legislation updates to laws governing these things to any meaningful extent.

And, seriously. Thanks for sticking with the OP and commenting back in a thoughtful manner. This is the kind of stuff everyone hopes to get into when they comment.

Unless they’re commenting on an FPS/MOBA forum, I suppose :P

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Dug From The Earth

Elysium… sheesh…. Freaking hypocrites.

Before blizzards announcement, they justified what they were doing because people wanted something that Blizzard wasnt willing to give them. Now that Blizzard is going to give it to them (when its available) they should cease and desist. Riding the lame excuse of “should blizzard not meet expectations” is a free, infinite hall-pass to stay up and running, because they will always be able to find something, no matter how minor, that isnt “meeting expectations”.

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Carebear

there are no “elysium” anymore… not in the way you think it is… most of the developers moved on to lights hope, because there were 2-3 devs that were cheating and dublicated items and selling etc… those who stayed on elysium are these 2-3 people who did all the shit work…

So of course they will continue to run emulator, because this is how they make money, but they will close long before Blizzard release classic… 90%+ of the players moved to Lights Hope.. thats the new Elysium/Nostalrious/whatever you wanna call it.

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BDJ

They won’t have a choice. They WILL get shut down. It’s a foregone conclusion.

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Rottenrotny

Some people will stick with the private servers I’m sure. Many have been playing on the same vanilla server for years and have quite a sentimental attachment to their characters at this point. I’ve played on Kronos for years and I know I do.

Others probably just want to play for free.

Another thing to consider is that Blizzard might change the vanilla experience a little or a lot. I think that depending on what changes some will refuse to play a version of vanilla that is different that the vanilla they know and love. Just some small tweak like adding Blizzard’s social UI changes like realID etc will be enough to turn some players off.

Despite some flaws here and there some of the private vanilla servers offer a genuine vanilla experience.

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Hirku

The Elysium Project said that it will continue to run its servers even after Classic’s release, saying, “We will continue to provide whatever services the community desires should Blizzard not meet expectations.”

Cool, I’ll enjoy watching them burn. Blood for the Lawyer God!

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Melissa McDonald

his name is TORT. all hail Tort, bringer of damages. Lord of cashflow. Prince of punitive. /s

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johnwillo

Mighty must He be, to surmount the barriers of international law. The Ukraine fears not Tort, and yet abides.

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Melissa McDonald

China sneers at Tort and instead makes their burnt offerings to Fauxus, the god of imitation/knockoff products.

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Skai R

Unless you don’t want to pay for classic, why in the world would you play on a private server knowing there’s basically an 100% chance of Blizz shutting them down.

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Tandor

You answered your own question. Emulators are primarily for those cheapskates who like a game but don’t want to pay for it, and who are prepared to play on illegal servers while claiming that they’re doing so because the company that no longer receives any revenue from them isn’t providing what they want.

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Rottenrotny

100%? Hardly. What do you base that on? lol
Some of them aren’t going anywhere.

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Michael

Don’t stop…believing……hang on to that feeeeeeeeeeling

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David Harrison

lol

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Loopy

My prediction and hope is that majority of players will move on to the official classic servers, and the private servers will end up shutting down for the most part. I’m sure there will be examples here and there of private servers operating, but i predict that the numbers will be negligible.

I’m also sure that for every 1 person like myself who is willing to pay to play on an official vanilla server, there are 5 other players who want to continue freeloading. That being said, i’m also predicting that Blizzard will start going a lot harder after private servers once their official ones start operating.

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A Dad Supreme

“The Elysium Project said that it will continue to run its servers even after Classic’s release, saying, “We will continue to provide whatever services the community desires should Blizzard not meet expectations.”

Once the Classics open, I doubt Blizzard would legally allow them to stay open regardless of what these guys say.

The only “service” that they actually would provide at that point is a free way of playing Classic, which Blizzard would be providing for a fee. If that’s the case, then Blizzard could legally sue the pants off of them (not that they can’t now) because they could actually prove lost revenues/damages at that point.

These Elysium guys would be better off quitting while they are ahead at that point.

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Slaasher

This is an interesting soap opera for sure. Cant wait to see it all unfold

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