So there’s a huge controversial issue about the Vanilla WoW private server Nostalrius where Blizzard’s legal department did a shutdown. The shutdown caused the community to start a petition for Blizzard to look into starting their own legacy WoW servers. The goal is to meet 200k signatures. There’s a lot of issues in this situation in Blizzard’s legal stance, the communities’ response and whether or not there should be a legacy server.
First, there’s no doubt that Blizzard has the legal right to shut down the server. It’s a shame that this had to go down this way, but hey in America lawyers have more power than other person (which is why they’re bad jokes). Supposedly, the server was not generating money and was being done on a voluntary basis. I have no idea how they were able to figure out the server side code but it’s a pretty impressive feat overall.
Next, the communities’ response has been pretty powerful. There are a great deal of people who want to return to their nostalgic days. Honestly, there’s no other way to put how the situation must be for these people. I suppose LFR, LFG, daily quests, etc. were things they despised and that they simply wanted to grind for days to get a few gold. To each their own.
Now, where the boiling point comes down is the question of whether a legacy server should exist. I feel that for historical purposes games should not fix old content. It’s kinda like the way George Lucas has updated Star Wars. Although he is within his rights to update his own film, to the community at large the original is a piece of art on its own where the world embraced it.
A game as magnificent as World of Warcraft lost something when it destroyed all of its old areas. There’s no way anyone now can experience old content because of what Cataclysm did except through private legacy servers. Whether or not you enjoyed the grind, you simply cannot ever experience the old game.
From a resource/development point of view, I completely agree with Blizzard’s stance. As a developer, I hate looking at old code (especially my own!) You never want to go back and have to deal with issues that you already fixed. It’s frustrating and you already have moved on. Probably, in the World of Warcraft’s case, many people have moved on both career wise and code wise where development managers and executives alike think that code maintenance is a complete waste of resources, whether the community begs for it or not. It really is just a sane thing to do.
The way I feel about this situation is that Blizzard simply fucked themselves because of the Cataclysm expansion. The way it was handled was poor in the complete restructuring of the world. I don’t think LFG, LFR, etc. were the killers but something certainly was lost. But the show had to go on and by the point the overhaul was executed, it pretty much was too late. I think if they wanted players to experience the new content they should’ve made the revamped areas for leveling 80-85 or provided a secondary option to level in old zones using the new content. There simply wasn’t any options for players.
The people who I’ve seen being the biggest advocates of a Vanilla servers are those that grew up in it. But let’s be honest. People grow up, move on, get lives, marry, get jobs, etc. It’s part of the growing up process. You can’t stick around in an old world hoping to relive memories, especially one that is a game. Not everyone is privileged to be a large enough streamer so that they can sit at home collecting donations and subs.
But this situation points to the bigger issues of World of Warcraft and a game that’s driven by the online community. The game itself is just old and being able to cover all the bases in such a massive community is impossible. Blizzard has done for the most part the best job that they could do without going completely insane. At the same time, online gaming is such a bastard in that you can’t just patch for bugs. You have to constantly update and deal with the growing demands of the community. Reverting to an older version will bring up its own share of issues that a lot of these people banging at the gates with their torches don’t even realize nor probably care about.
Personally, I think they just need to stop creating expansions for World of Warcraft. The game has aged reasonably but now it really is on its last legs of life. The ideas behind World of Warcraft worked in a different era but it’s not as sustainable. Attempting to converge the people who started in the original World of Warcraft and the evolved player base is just going to add more headaches. For myself I hope that Legion is the last expansion in the current World of Warcraft environment. Not that WoW is horrible but that the ideas need to be rethought from the ground up and the state needs to be separated from the next evolution as a product.