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Vanilla World of Warcraft to be released sometime in future

Players+will+see+this+login+screen+for+vanilla+World+of+Warcraft+when+they+start+up+the+game.+Dedicated%0Afans+eagerly+await+the+re-release+of+their+favorite+%E2%80%9CWorld+of+Warcraft+Classic%E2%80%9D+that+has+been+announced%0Abut+doesn%E2%80%99t+have+a+defi+nitive+release+date+yet.+It+could+take+well+over+a+year.
Players will see this login screen for vanilla World of Warcraft when they start up the game. Dedicated
fans eagerly await the re-release of their favorite “World of Warcraft Classic” that has been announced
but doesn’t have a defi nitive release date yet. It could take well over a year.

Players will see this login screen for vanilla World of Warcraft when they start up the game. Dedicated fans eagerly await the re-release of their favorite “World of Warcraft Classic” that has been announced but doesn’t have a defi nitive release date yet. It could take well over a year.

Photo by Patrick Stein

Photo by Patrick Stein

Players will see this login screen for vanilla World of Warcraft when they start up the game. Dedicated fans eagerly await the re-release of their favorite “World of Warcraft Classic” that has been announced but doesn’t have a defi nitive release date yet. It could take well over a year.

Patrick Stein, Staff Writer

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Nostalgia has been a big theme recently with sensations like Pokemon Go and the revisitation of various movie universes, including “Star Wars,” “Star Trek” and “Jurassic Park,” to name a few. Many die-hard fans of Blizzard Entertainment’s “Warcraft” universe will be thrilled as well, as Blizzard announced “World of Warcraft Classic” to be released some time in the future. The announcement was made at Blizzcon on Nov. 3, 2017. “World of Warcraft” (WoW) is an online multiplayer game, and the base game (also called vanilla) was released Nov. 23, 2004. Since then, the game has had a total of six expansion packs and dozens of patches and updates amongst the expansions. “The original World of Warcraft was a masterpiece. The game was immersive, addicting, and the first of its kind to truly show how fun an MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game) could be,” said Zach Rafidi, a longstanding fan of the game.

As expansions came out, the character progression from beginning to end took a turn. Each expansion bumped player characters’ level limit up a bit to explore new content and give the players a sense of progression through the new content. For example, the level cap in vanilla was 60, and in the first expansion, “The Burning Crusade,” it was bumped up to 70, and then bumped up to 80 in the next one, etc, according to wow.gamepedia.com.

As expansions released, the leveling process, or grind, became easier with less experience needed to reach each level, at least up until the players were caught up to the current content. Additionally, the third expansion pack, Cataclysm (released on Dec. 7, 2010), permanently altered many pre-existing environments of Azeroth (the world with the largest land mass, released in vanilla). According to blizzard.com, “Return to Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms to find them scarred by Deathwing’s rage. From the devastated Badlands to the broken Barrens, the transformed lands of Azeroth host new quest lines, new enemies and new rewards.” However, this of course was not everyone’s cup of tea.

“Unfortunately over time and with each expansion, the novelty of running around in a fantasy world with all your friends slowly came to an end,” said Rafidi. Private servers of the game were created in various versions to give people the option to play the game in a version older than the retail one currently out. Creating a private server is not an easy task. It requires a team of people with the technical know-how, time, dedication and money to get the server up and running. It’s not as easy as copy and pasting information and hitting launch. Blizzard played a bizarre game of whack-a-mole for a while. As fans made these private servers in attempts to resurrect their favorite game of the past, Blizzard would send them cease and desist letters and threaten court action.

The game is Blizzard’s copyrighted property, so they could shut down private servers as they saw fit. Nostalrius, one of the more popular private servers, was shut down April 10, 2016. According to en.nostalrius.org in their closing announcement, “Yesterday, we received a letter of formal notice from U.S. and French lawyers, acting on behalf of Blizzard Entertainment, preparing to stand trial against our hosting company OVH and ourselves in less than a week now.

This means the de facto end of Nostalrius under its current form.” Many fans of the game were livid. After acknowledging that WoW is Blizzard’s copyrighted product and they hold all the cards; popular YouTuber JonTron drew the comparison to chess on youtu.be/ EzT8UzO1zGQ?t=8m26s. If the creator of chess drastically altered the game and didn’t let anyone play chess the way we know it today, people would rightfully be upset. “…I think it’s just something innately human about wanting to preserve chess (or WoW) the way it was.”

Many other servers have been started and shut down, but it seems like Blizzard adopted the “if you can’t beat them, join them” motto. This is despite their strong stance against it in the past. At a Q&A session with the development team at Blizzcon 2013, a fan in a hoodie asked, “Have you ever thought about adding servers for previous expansions as they were then?” He received a condescending and now infamous reply from executive producer J. Allen Black: “No, and, and by the way, you don’t want to that, to do that, either. You think you do, but you don’t,” stated Black on www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Wrw3c2NjeE. “You think you do, but you don’t” became a meme amongst the immovable vanilla fans, poking fun at the decline in subscription numbers of the game at the time of the statement. Nostalrius, which started around two years after this event, shared some numbers that actually showed a gigantic fanbase for the vanilla game.

According to an infographic on en.nostalrius.org, 800,000 accounts were created, with 150,000 of the active accounts. Over 3 million characters were created, and the global time played was 64 centuries. This means that in the short amount of time of the private server’s life, over 56 million hours of people’s time have been devoted to playing on Nostalrius before the shutdown.

It seems strange for Blizzard to hire lawyers and pay money to shut down a server of people playing an older version of the game that Blizzard themselves created. After all, many of the people on these private servers would willingly pay Blizzard to play an older version of the game, but they had no other option. Many dedicated fans that fought tooth and nail for this game re-release were ecstatic that their efforts weren’t in vain. “World of Warcraft Classic” has been announced, but it doesn’t have a definitive release date yet. In fact, a staff for the project hasn’t even been finalized, so it could take well over a year

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Vanilla World of Warcraft to be released sometime in future