That’s BlizzCon 2016 come and gone, with announcements including a new Overwatch character, another Hearthstone expansion, Diablo throwbacks, and other odds and ends… with no mention of reviving old versions of World of Warcraft [official site].
Blizzard made clear that they would have nothing to announce, that they were still discussing it internally, but some folks have grown impatient. The folks behind Nostalrius, an unofficial vintage WoW server which Blizzard shut down earlier this year, are sharing their source code and documentation with other unofficial servers to help improve them and keep the ‘legacy’ community going.
Why are folks so into vintage WoW? Because WoW was quite a different game before expansions, before remaking the world, before changing a lot of how it worked, and some people prefer that. There’s surely also a small number of people who play because these unofficial servers are free, but largely it’s people who prefer WoW the way it was or are nostalgic. Activision Blizzard are, unsurprisingly, not entirely thrilled about people reverse-engineering and bootlegging WoW.
Actiblizz called in their lawyers to shut down Nostalrius, as they have other servers before, but this particular server’s demise caught a lot of attention. Blizzard even invited some of the Nostalrius gang to meet with them and discuss legacy servers. Blizzard’s official stance is still that they’re thinking about it but, with no confirmation of legacy servers let alone a schedule for their launch, the Nostalgang are done waiting. They explained in a forum post yesterday:
“So, it’s time for us to release our source code and additional tools to the community in the hope that it will maintain the Legacy community as much as possible until Blizzard announces an official Legacy plan – should they decide to do that.”
Nostalrius plan to share their source code and documentation with Elysium, another legacy project which they say “we believe to be the most in line with our core values”. They expect to release the code and docs publicly for everyone later too.
There’s nothing to stop the Actiblizzolawyers from going after Elysium and other servers, of course.
I do hope Blizzard will revive vintage WoW in some form. Blizzard themselves have acknowledged pacing problems with modern WoW, among other issues. I miss how big and mysterious it all felt. Legacy servers wouldn’t suck that knowledge out my head but at least WoW wouldn’t try to whip me through the world at breakneck pace.