Last week, Justin and I were chit-chatting about legacy servers in MMORPGs when he said that Trion should really get moving on classic servers for RIFT. My first reaction was what, really, that game is way too young to need vanilla servers! But then I remembered playing on Ultima Online emulators within a year or two of launch. RIFT, which came out in 2011, isn’t exactly old, but it’s not brand-new either. It’s old enough to have weathered a lot of changes, some of which were probably wide-ranging and contentious enough to have created plenty of players who’d rather see them undone and the game returned to a more primordial state.
What’s the cut-off – or is there one? How old should an MMO be to consider classic servers? And if age isn’t the determining factor, what exactly is?
I think it’s safe to say, after all the Nostalrius and legacy server drama from last year, that Blizzard has surprised a lot of people by actually keeping its word to build out some form of classic servers, as announced at BlizzCon last weekend. And the English-language WoW world lost its collective minds, if the 10K-word, 54K-upvote thread that rocketed to the top slot across the entirety of Reddit last Friday is any guide.
The thing is, the studio didn’t actually talk much about the servers other than to say they’re happening, they won’t take resources from WoW, and they’re operating under a separate team – there’s not much to talk about, just basic infrastructure. That probably means we’re a long way off. On the other hand, Blizzard seems serious about making a commitment to the community on this one, which makes it really enticing to me at least, way more than I expected.
How about you? Will you be playing World of Warcraft’s Classic servers? Or are you in wait-and-see mode until we know much more?
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.
According to a tweet by the original folks behind Nostalrius, the new version of the World of Warcraft classic emulator has already (or only, depending on your read) seen 25,000 accounts generate a key.
Yesterday, the new masters of the emulator opened registration for former Nostalrius players, who were able to generate a token to transfer their characters to the new servers.
Nostalrius has previously claimed that prior to the C&D letter that prompted its shutdown, it had between 150,000 and 220,000 “active” accounts with as many as 800,000 total. The petition asking Blizzard to consider legacy servers stands at 276,000 signatures since April.
Back before BlizzCon, the admins of the sunsetted illegal World of Warcraft emulator Nostalrius issued a threat as part of this year’s until-then-ongoing conversation with Blizzard regarding official vanilla or legacy servers. “If Blizzard doesn’t make an announcement to honour their own core values, be sure that we will,” they wrote. Blizzard didn’t take the bait, so Nostalrius announced it would release its code to the community and allow a rival emulator, the Ukraine-based Elysium, to restart a PvE and PvP Nostalrius emu under its banner, which is precisely what’s happening this weekend.
Blizzard’s J. Allen Brack has a post on the official forums tonight that ought to temper expectations players might have about World of Warcraft vanilla servers and a possible BlizzCon announcement.
“We’ve seen some talk among the community that you might be expecting to hear some news on legacy servers at BlizzCon,” he writes, “and we just wanted to take a moment to let you know that while we’re still discussing the possibility, we won’t have any updates to share on that until after the show.”
Earlier this month, pro-Legacy server representatives of the former Nostalrius emulator posted that BlizzCon marked “the golden occasion for [Blizzard] to announce [its] plan for legacy realms, and potentially fulfill the dreams of millions of fans over the world,.” The group insisted that Blizzard has “everything in [its] hands to fulfill the large community request for Legacy servers,” and then Nostalrius issued what appeared to be a threat: “[I]f Blizzard doesn’t make an announcement to honour their own core values, be sure that we will.”
Before Destiny places its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions in their own maintenance mode bubble, the online game has one final gift for the so-called “legacy” consoles: a patch.
Actually, today’s patch is going out to all four consoles, but it will be the last one (barring hotfixes) that legacy consoles should receive. All in all, we are not looking at a major update but rather a handful of minor corrections to help get the game in shape for its upcoming expansion and version split.
“Before the launch of Destiny: Rise of Iron on September 20th, there are a few issues we are fixing,” Bungie explained in the patch notes. “This update will also be the last scheduled deployment for legacy consoles, excluding emergency fixes for future game-breaking issues.”