WoW emulator Nostalrius’ sunset renews calls for retro WoW servers


As we reported last night, Blizzard lawyers issued a legal threat against popular vanilla World of Warcraft emulator server Nostalrius, propelling its administrators to begin a sunset of the server. According to those administrators, the illegal emulator hosted 800,000 accounts and 150,000 active players, a swarm of whom can be seen in the video floating around Reddit today.

A petition started by the server admins yesterday nears 25,000 signatures as of press time; they appealed to Blizzard President Mike Morhaime, asking that the studio reconsider its decision and work with vanilla emulators, even offering to share its resources. “We don’t have the pretention to come up with a complete solution regarding legacy servers that you and your company didn’t already think about,” the admins write, “but we’d be glad and honored to share it with you if you’re interested, still on a volunteer basis.”

Blizzard isn’t likely to be amenable to such appeals. At BlizzCon 2015, studio reps answered a question about vanilla servers that seems rather on the nose. Said Tom Chilton,

“We do not plan to do that. There tends to be a lot of emotional desire for that although when other MMOs have tried that they don’t tend to survive for very long. There are a lot of complexities with that. Because kinda has to be a bundle, where you get the old hardware, the old code, because the old code is meant to run on the old hardware, the old data, the old bugs, all that kind of stuff. Of course the natural expectation is that well you would fix all that stuff. But kind of maintaining that many different versions of the game is just not really feasible. Particularly in a world where people that are playing right now really want more content, not less.”

The most current statement from Blizzard we appear to have as of press time — other than the legal complaint itself — came obliquely from EU Community Manager Aerythlea, who diverted fresh requests for vanilla servers today to a 2011 blue name post that reads,

“We realize that some of you feel that World of Warcraft was more fun in the past than it is today, and we also know that some of you would like nothing more than to go back and play the game as it was back then. The developers however prefer to see the game continuously evolve and progress, and as such we have no plans to open classic realms or limited expansion content realms.”

In stranger news, an e-sports attorney who plays on the emulator has claimed that the case presents “interesting copyright arguments to be made,” which certainly would have come in handy if the complaint had actually made it to a court.

A Reddit AMA with the Nostalrius administrators is planned for noon EDT today.

With thanks to Rohirrim and Oleg for additional sources.
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