Earlier this month Nostalrius, who run volunteer-driven vanilla World of Warcraft announced that they had been threatened into shutting down by the games developer Blizzard. These servers are basically running the original World of Warcraft without all the changes and expansions that have happened since. During its lifetime Nostalrius has had 800,000 accounts created and has 150,000 active accounts. You can find more details in their infographic here.
As expected, the gaming community has been less than impressed with this move and are trying various methods to get Blizzard to change their minds. Most notably this petition.
Yesterday Blizzard responded to the community on their forums. The gist appears to be that they “have to protect their intellectual property would damage Blizzard’s rights”. Personally I don’t really buy their reason, the same reason is used frequency and it seems to me to be a bit of a cop out. Take Renegade X for example, it’s a fan-made remake of Electronic Art’s (EA) Command & Conqueror: Renegade which even has EA’s blessing for release. I mean, if EA can approve a remake, why is someone hosting a server infringing?
Perhaps they’re planning on launching their own vanilla servers and dont want the competition. Although Blizzard claim this would be difficult for them to do - you know - despite the community, without the official source code managing to do it with volunteers for years. Maybe they think the users will switch back to the official World of Warcarft? Who knows!