Back before BlizzCon, the admins of the now-sunsetted illegal World of Warcraft emulator Nostalrius issued a vague threat. “If Blizzard doesn’t make an announcement to honour their own core values, be sure that we will,” they wrote. Blizzard, however, made clear that no announcement about legacy servers was forthcoming, and those of you who watched BlizzCon alongside us know that Blizzard kept its promise.
As did Nostalrius. This afternoon, the emurunners announced that they are releasing all of their source code to the community and will allow rival emu group Elysium to resurrect Nostalrius, a move that will likely surprise private shard players who expected a new server announcement from Nostalrius itself.
The group claims that following its meeting with Blizzard earlier this year, it continued communicating with the studio, offering “mature proposals” for solving the very real legacy server issues, even offering to completely transfer all of its code and efforts to Blizzard.
“Our only goal was to nullify as much as possible the impact of Legacy on the WoW team so that everyone could be pleased with the result,” the admins write. “Sadly, we never received any answers to these proposals either. […] So we decided to take the risk of challenging Blizzard regarding Legacy servers and lighting the flame of hope for one final burst” by “challenging Blizzard regarding legacy servers.”
It’s worth pointing out again here that Blizzard didn’t strictly say that legacy servers are off the table; in fact, J Allen Brack said the team is “still discussing the possibility” but simply wouldn’t have “any updates to share on [it] until after [BlizzCon].”
Nostalrius’ reps, however, maintain that until Blizzard provides a schedule, “the Legacy community will have to assume there will not be an official Blizzard release of Legacy WoW – possibly for very long time.” This, the emu team says, is why it’s turning over its source code to everyone, beginning with a rival emulator, in what it’s calling “Legacy community reunification.”
“The source code will be first given to an existing Legacy project which we believe to be the most in line with our core values, named Elysium. This server shares the volunteer spirit and passion for the game we had. Furthermore, an important part of Nostalrius volunteers are already working there, some under different names. We wish them all the best, and hope that they will become a new home for the reunited Vanilla community. We will continue collaborating closely with them. This collaboration could include additional ‘things’ to share with them if necessary to achieve this goal. In exchange, this server promised to not receive any profit from this activity. They will also have to create the documentation required to install, understand and use the work we did.
“Once this work has been done, source code & documentation will be release to the public. Goal is to have the same user friendly development package as we did for our Burning Crusade project. All of this to help developers who want to work in the gaming industry later understanding how a server works, as Nostalrius server backbone can be considered as one of the rare production server of that scale to become available. The purpose of this will still remain mainly educational in nature.”
Mark Kern, a former WoW developer who’s been a proponent of legacy servers since the Nostalrius shutdown earlier this year, weighed in as well, expressing his disappointment and calling Blizzard’s behavior a “complete PR whitewash.” Over a series of tweets, he wrote,
“I can confirm that after Blizzard met with us, both my own and @NostalBegins e-mails about legacy have not been returned. Given Blizzard’s silence on legacy WoW, I’m glad to see the Nostalrius project will live on in other forms. I’m saddened by what appears to have been a complete PR whitewash by Blizzard on the legacy issue. Were they ever serious? Even after many incredible attempts by @NostalBegins to contact Blizzard and provide full technical details and assistance, Blizzard silent. Why would you welcome the entire Nostalrius team, give them VIP treatment, then NEVER answer their e-mails again?”
The folks behind Elysium, the current most popular illegal WoW emulator, have issued a statement of their own: It is indeed resurrecting Nostalrius. It says it has snapshotted the current database of its own server to import into its new Nostalrius servers (there will be several of different types; the number will be determined based on stress testing). Further play on the Elysium server will be possible but will not carry into the new server.
“The Elysium database is being frozen while work on the Nostalrius core progresses. As of the time of this announcement, all characters on Elysium have been saved and frozen to be loaded into the new core once it’s complete. Elysium, as a server, will remain up for your enjoyment until the new server is complete, but any changes to your character after this announcement will not carry over. Furthermore, all items from Elysium will be downgraded to match the 1.9 Patch itemization of Nostalrius.”
“We will provide a new timeline with the launch date announcement,” the staff write. “As for the dates of these servers coming to life, we cannot provide you an answer on that just yet. There is a lot of work that still needs to be done! But rest assured, the team will work tirelessly day and night until everything is ready. The next announcement will be this coming weekend, as well as an AMA on Sunday, November 13th, on /r/wowservers at 9 PM server time.”
Clarification: No matter the circumstances we will be providing legacy until Blizzard does.
— Elysium Project (@elysium_dev) November 6, 2016