World of Warcraft‘s fan-made legacy server Nostalrius may be back from the dead, but Blizzard’s reaction to the news of the resurrection remains to be seen.
After about a month since the first rumors surfaced, it seems that Nostalrius, a World of Warcraft server that allows players to experience the game in its original 2004 state, will soon be up and running again. Developer Blizzard forced the closure of the Nostalrius server earlier this year with a cease-and-desist order that sparked a petition signed by over 90,000 players and a mournful march through the realms of Azeroth.
According to Shacknews, the team in charge of maintaining the original Nostalrius server has handed their project over to another fan-run group, Project Elysium, who will be opening the proverbial doors on December 17 at 9 a.m. PST/12 p.m. EST. Project Elysium will change little about how the original team handled Nostalrius, allowing players to carry over their original characters to the new server. Also unchanged is the game’s state, set at the last patch before the first major expansion to the game, allowing veterans to enjoy the game in pristine condition.
Over the 12 years of its existence WoW‘s expansions have been met with praise from critics and players alike, including the latest, titled Legion. At the same time, each expansion from 2007’s Burning Crusade onward has met with complaints from a small groups of players that criticized Blizzard for lowering the difficulty or preferring form over substance with added bling. Though the devs often try to learn from their mistakes, these critics are not always satisfied. The fact that Elysium felt the need to stress-test their server up to a capacity of 100,000 players shows that they, at least, see servers like Nostalrius as a home for a large number of similar-minded players.
Blizzard, for their part, seems to be a bit ambivalent about having legacy servers around. On the one hand they threatened the original Nostalrius with legal action if they didn’t shut down, on the other J. Allen Brack, executive producer of WoW, said in a forum post that “we explored options for developing classic servers and none could be executed without great difficulty,” He then further stressed the technical challenges that face the Blizzard team. “If we could push a button and all of this would be created, we would. However, there are tremendous operational challenges to integrating classic servers, not to mention the ongoing support of multiple live versions for every aspect of WoW.”
Blizzard did, in fact, have a meeting with the Nostalrius team a few months ago, but no statement was ever released after it ended, nor did the company ever give an official reply to the petition to keep the legacy server open. Though excitement seems to be mounting in anticipation of December 17, the question remains whether Project Elysium will be allowed to run its server or will face renewed threats from Blizzard’s lawyers.