Friday, May 27, 2016

The Ongoing Saga of Nostalrius


By now I think everyone's heard of the situation with Nostalrius: it's a private vanilla World of Warcraft server which Blizzard is forcibly shutting down.  There are many opinions and speculations, particularly about why Blizzard is choosing this particular time to crack down on a private server,

Blizzard's main given reason is so they can maintain control of their IP.  A private, non-Blizzard-affiliated World of Warcraft server is a thread to their copyright.  They also reject the idea of official legacy servers due to operation constraints.  Whatever that means.

So why now?  My theory is that because Legion is launching soon and WoW's subscriber base has dropped significantly, that they are trying to close down unofficial servers to drive more people to official WoW, and pay a subscription fee.  I'm not saying this is a wrong or right decision.  It does sound like a fiscally smart decision and it IS their intellectual property.  They are well within their rights to shut down Nostalrius.

Blizzard has said it is floating around the idea of "pristine servers".  This would entail no leveling help of any kind.  No WoW Token, no boosts, no Recruit-A-Friend, no heirlooms, and no dungeon finder.  Unfortunately, I don't think this would satisfy anyone looking for a genuine vanilla experience.

Even if Blizzard did somehow develop the capability of running genuine vanilla servers, would that really be a good idea?  The entire point of an MMO is that it is dynamic, and ever-changing.  While I can understand why people would want this experience, I think that's doing Blizzard a disservice by essentially saying you're not interested in what they're developing now.  And who would pay a subscription fee for it?  It needs to be maintained somehow.  But players of Nostalrisu weren't paying to play it, so they probably wouldn't want to pay a subscription for a legacy server anyway.  They'd probably just find a new private server to play on.

Maybe the solution is a happy medium.  I don't know how they could accomplish it, but maybe Blizzard could create some sort of partnership with Nostalrius.  Even though there isn't a sub fee for it, it could be monetized in other ways.  Maybe in-game ads (like billboards in GTA), or ads ont he website, or small non-obtrusive ads in the game that you can click out of.  You can't expect Blizzard to let someone use their IP without some sort of gain from it.  It just isn't feasible.

Blizzard has said they are going to be having "talks" with Nostalrius.  I'm excited for what this might entail