This week, the team behind Nostalrius, one of the most popular private World of Warcraft servers, was forced to shut it down after Blizzard Entertainment’s lawyers sent a letter threatening legal action. Now, the Nostralius team has written an open letter addressed to Blizzard founder and CEO Mike Morhaime, arguing that private servers are important for the World of Warcraft community and do not threaten Blizzard’s own official servers.
“We never saw our community as a threat for Blizzard,” said the letter, which was posted on Change.org. “It sounds more like a transverse place where players can continue to enjoy old World of Warcraft’s games no longer available, maybe until a new expansion appears; a huge and powerful community of fans that remains attached to future Blizzard games, as we have in no other gaming company.”
Rather than hosting the most up-to-date version of World of Warcraft, the Nostralius server hosted a “Vanilla” version of the game that was roughly 10 years old. There is currently no official way for fans to play older versions of World of Warcraft, so for players who want to relive their early experiences with the game, private servers like Nostralius are their only option.
“Do you think that a policy change can be made regarding legacy servers based on volunteers work, for very old no longer supported game expansion?” the letter continues. “Or do you think that legacy servers are doomed by definition since, in the end, it’s hurting Blizzard trademark & communication more than anything else?”
“We finally truly understand the difficulty to handle constant community evolution, requiring often more updates for a shorter period of interest in a MMORPG context.”
“Nevertheless, the time spent helping people in this kind of context will be part of our memories forever, every team member also certainly acquired a unique experience that will be valuable in its future life.”
Blizzard’s official stance on private servers has always been negative, and since World of Warcraft enjoys its most substantial subscription boosts immediately before and after new expansions are released, it seems unlikely that the studio would change its mind on providing Vanilla servers itself anytime soon, or ever.