The talk of the town today has been Blizzard’s response to Nostalrius. Let’s take a look at what they have to say, and then I’ll address a few key points.
[su_expand more_text=”Expand the rest of Blizzard’s Response” height=”300″ less_text=”Read less…” text_color=”#2a2a2a” link_color=”#011948″ more_icon=”icon: file-text-o” less_icon=”icon: eject”]We wanted to let you know that we’ve been closely following the Nostalrius discussion and we appreciate your constructive thoughts and suggestions.
Our silence on this subject definitely doesn’t reflect our level of engagement and passion around this topic. We hear you. Many of us across Blizzard and the WoW Dev team have been passionate players ever since classic WoW. In fact, I personally work at Blizzard because of my love for classic WoW.
We have been discussing classic servers for years – it’s a topic every BlizzCon – and especially over the past few weeks. From active internal team discussions to after-hours meetings with leadership, this subject has been highly debated. Some of our current thoughts:
Why not just let Nostalrius continue the way it was? The honest answer is, failure to protect against intellectual property infringement would damage Blizzard’s rights. This applies to anything that uses WoW’s IP, including unofficial servers. And while we’ve looked into the possibility – there is not a clear legal path to protect Blizzard’s IP and grant an operating license to a pirate server.
We explored options for developing classic servers and none could be executed without great difficulty. 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.
So what can we do to capture that nostalgia of when WoW first launched? Over the years we have talked about a “pristine realm”. In essence that would turn off all leveling acceleration including character transfers, heirloom gear, character boosts, Recruit-A-Friend bonuses, WoW Token, and access to cross realm zones, as well as group finder. We aren’t sure whether this version of a clean slate is something that would appeal to the community and it’s still an open topic of discussion.
One other note – we’ve recently been in contact with some of the folks who operated Nostalrius. They obviously care deeply about the game, and we look forward to more conversations with them in the coming weeks.
You, the Blizzard community, are the most dedicated, passionate players out there. We thank you for your constructive thoughts and suggestions. We are listening.
J. Allen Brack[/su_expand]
Obviously there’s PR speak going on here. The “we hear you” and “we too feel this way” and “even I’m here because I love classic” or “we’ve looked into it and its hard” stuff is a tad sycophantic. But that’s all there because of what follows.
Blizzard has to protect their IP, otherwise they lose their rights. That’s the part everyone with even a whisper of a clue knew because that’s how intellectual property law works. I don’t think that comes as a shock to anyone, nor is any of that why people are talking about about this release. The real reason….
Here’s where people are going a bit nuts and not only reading waaaay too far into this, but also missing the mark entirely. First — no, this does not mean Blizzard is missing the point. They know you want vanilla. It’s at least a public acknowledgement that there has been thought to a solution.
I believe people underestimate what a big deal it is to support a classic server. Blizzard employs an army of customer service representatives just to handle a game that has a consistent experience. Imagine if the customer support had to be (1) trained and (2) taking the time to manage multiple version. You think they’re slow now?
Looking at the only major example of classic servers out there right now, we see that even EverQuest hasn’t been able to recreate a true “classic” experience. Their “progression” servers or “time-locked” servers all have modern conveniences built into them. They have major updates they simple can’t remove.
People don’t REALLY want Vanilla
At least I don’t. I don’t miss that version of WoW. I think modern WoW is way better. When it comes to a themepark, I prefer the convenience. If I’m looking for an experience that takes commitment and dedication then I want more than questing and gear treadmills from that investment. I’ve done the ‘first to kill all the raid bosses’ thing on 3 different WoW servers. I’ve done the competitive play. That’s not fun for me. What’s fun is the journey, and that’s why I dabble in EverQuest classic servers, but WoW lacks that journey. WoW has -never- been about the journey.
Blizzard knows most people would agree. Most people want modern WoW and its conveniences. When I say most, I mean enough that it doesn’t make financial sense for them to do classic. If classic meant way more money, then as a public company seeking to make profit they’d do it. They’re not in the business of testing something publicly just to see if it works. They’re crunching data, and I bet you the data shows it’s not worth their time. If they wanted to have a classic experience, it would have already been done.