Yesterday’s Extra Credits video sends the RC team diving into the Nostalrius issue, but don’t start groaning yet: The video initially zips past the polarizing specifics of World of Warcraft vanilla servers and gets to the real question facing all players of MMORPGs and other increasingly online games:
“Do you have the right to play a game the way you want to play it, or heck, maybe even, do you have have the right to play the game you actually bought?”
The team argues that it’s one thing for George Lucas to make Greedo shoot first in the special editions, but he can’t actually touch our original copies, and that’s something game developers, especially MMO devs, can do, leaving us — and history — without much recourse. On the other hand, online games are sold to us as services, not as products. Plus, developers want to avoid fragmentation, improve customer service, and spend time and money on new content rather than maintaining a million other versions — never mind the incentive of wanting players to buy your new stuff on the newest build.
Set aside Nostalrius and vanilla anything for a moment and consider the ongoing debate: How much right do we have to play the games we buy, and if we don’t have any rights at all, how do we tackle the issue of preserving a historical record of video games?