[Column] How Nostalrius Killed Its Credibility, Image With One Dump


A few weeks ago, Blizzard revealed that they would not be discussing legacy servers at Blizzcon this year, however the idea was not off the table and that the company was still considering such servers. In response, the folks at Nostalrius decided to make a threat upon which they have no moral or legal standing: To discuss vanilla servers or the team would release the source code for the Nostalrius private server. Blizzard didn’t discuss vanilla servers, Nostalrius dumped its code.

Still, we should not forget that Blizzard is the owner of World of Warcraft and would be for sure the most able to restore it. Until they disclose a schedule (if they do), the Legacy community will have to assume there will not be an official Blizzard release of Legacy WoW – possibly for very long time. 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.

Like an entitled child denied a much desired toy, the Nostalrius team responded to demands that they had no leverage on with the equivalent of a flailing tantrum. Let’s get a few things straight: Nostalrius has already lost this battle, they acknowledged that they didn’t have any footing when they bowed to Blizzard’s cease & desist and shut down their servers. They have no ownership of the World of Warcraft game, the brand, nor do they have the rights to operate their own private server. It doesn’t matter if Blizzard ultimately says no to a vanilla server, it doesn’t matter if they take ten years to release it, and it doesn’t matter if they say yes and never follow up on it. Nostalrius has no ground to stand on, zero, none.

And while I won’t take the route of some internet commentators and claim that this could kill Blizzard’s enthusiasm in legacy servers, something which is about as low on the totem pole as you can get in terms of priority, I will say that it has killed any potential of Blizzard working with the Nostalrius people, a killing blow to a group that feels entitled enough to demand regular progress updates from Blizzard corporate and make threats if senpai doesn’t notice them. They threw a fit when Blizzard didn’t respond in a timely manner, let’s see how they take it when the company stops acknowledging their existence entirely.

And what they’ve done by releasing this code is effectively to poison the well with a tracer, with everyone who drinks it being tagged for eventual plucking. Now that the code is out there, everyone is talking about this Elysium server like it’s the next Nostalrius. What do you expect is going to happen when Elysium launches? I’ll clue you in: Blizzard’s lawyers are going to send a cease & desist and the Elysium team are going to buckle and shut down. And none of this is going to have any effect on whether or not Blizzard launches a legacy server.

Which, I will reiterate, they still want to do.

Via IGN:

“There’s no question it’s something we want to do,” said Hazzikostas. “I am a 2004 World of Warcraft player myself. Tons of us came to work at Blizzard because we fell in love with that version of World of Warcraft. And we met with the Nostalrius developers on our campus over the summer and were really impressed by the passion they had for the game and what they’re trying to do to recreate what they see as a lost experience.

So where do we stand now? Nostalrius has burned its bridge with Blizzard, likely taking Mark Kern along with them, any servers that use the Nostalrius code and attract any respectable level of traffic will be nuked from orbit by Blizzard, and the timeline for a legacy server very likely has not moved a millimeter. Not a productive day by any sane metric.

Otherwise I have no opinion on the matter.

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