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.
In the process of picking yourself up off of the floor following Friday’s announcement of World of Warcraft Classic at BlizzCon 2017? As your mind grapples with Blizzard’s surprise revelation of a legacy server project that will take players back to the vanilla era of World of Warcraft, you probably share the same questions and concerns that Eurogamer voiced in an interview at the convention.
Executive Producer J. Allen Brack was reluctant to give the publication any specifics on a timetable, saying that the project was just announced, only basic infrastructure is in place, and that the team is forming. He did confirm that Classic won’t be taking away any people or resources from the main MMO, as Blizzard is treating this as a separate game with its own dedicated team.
“Our goal is to recreate that classic 1-60 gameplay,” Brack said. “Some things changed as time went on, with different patches. How does that get manifested? That’s one of the outstanding questions. But yeah, the goal is to recreate that exact experience, for better or for worse.”
World of Warcraft delivered a jaw-dropping surprise to its loyal community with an amazing announcement at this weekend’s BlizzCon. Blizzard took to the stage with a surprise reveal of World of Warcraft Classic, which will take players back to the “vanilla” setting.
“We think we have a way to run the Classic servers on the modern technical infrastructure,” J. Allen Brack told PC Gamer. “The infrastructure is how we spin up instances and continents, how the database works. It’s those core fundamental pieces, and running two MMOs of that size is a daunting problem. But now we think we have a way to have the old WoW version work on the modern infrastructure and feel really good.”
Blizzard is forming a separate team to tackle this project and has yet to commit to any sort of timetable or release window.
Yesterday’s big news in the ongoing Nostalrius saga was a message from Blizzard’s J. Allen Brack, who suggested to players that in lieu of some form of vanilla or class servers for World of Warcraft, the team has kicked around the idea of “pristine” servers.
“Over the years we have talked about a ‘pristine realm,'” he wrote. “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.”
One might suppose that the end result of a pristine server would be the current game world, minus the cash shop nonsense, looking-for-group tools, and easymode leveling schemes. The proposal has been met with opposition from players who say that’s not enough — that they want the classic classes and landmasses too.
Would you play Blizzard’s idea of a “pristine” realm?
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.”