Blizzard Entertainment closed down WoW "vanilla" (original World of Warcraft release) private server, Nostalrius. Before it happened, I was fortunate enough to play around on Nostalrius and get a bit of nostalgia - from back when World of Warcraft was released.
Back in 2005, when World of Warcraft was released in Europe and I was attending highschool, I saw some of my class mates play this new "Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game" (MMORPG) and I was hooked. They told me how they set up deals with other players in game, to trade materials to sell in-game items in the "auction house" and how the entire world from the Warcraft series, had been re-created.
I rushed out and bought myself a copy, installed it, logged in and I was hooked from that very instant. World of Warcraft was something new, something special - something noone had ever, successfully, done before. It included a massive world for each player to explore, deep questlines (Onyxia anyone?) and a huge community that starter working together.
World of Warcraft grew to a dimension Blizzard had never forseen and rumors say they actually stopped selling the game for a while because of stress on servers.
WoW is a progressive game
World of Warcraft is a progressive game in the sense, that the history evolves.
We started out with one look on the world, along came patches that brought new content, new items, new dungeons and raids.
Then in 2006 Blizzard released the first expansion titled "(World of Warcraft) The Burning Crusade".
Along with the new expansion, Blizzard added new places for players to explore and raised the level cap to 70 (from 60).
After this, additional expansions have come and in 2010 Blizzard released the expansion "(World of Warcraft) Cataclysm" which altered the world forever. The "zones" (places in the game) were altered due to a "cataclysmic event" and much of the old content was removed, forever.
Unfortunately, while creating these newer expansions, not only has the world changed - so has the fundamentals of the game. The game went from being a hard-to-master game, which required 40 people to work together in raids, who knew game tactics and spend time - to a game where you can even pay Blizzard to get a character in a certain level, instead of starting "from scratch".
This has ruined the game experience for many people - myself included.
I created a character on Nostalrius and played there - not excessively as I used to - but when I had some spare time once in a while. I only reached level 36 and thus didn't get to the endgame content, which I had looked forward to with incredible joy; but it was all worth it.
I have not had this much fun in World of Warcraft in years! Nostalrius had a huge community of players (150.000 active!) and this community came together on numerous occasions in guilds, raids, dungeons and had fun! The type of fun the original World of Warcraft included and was super popular due to!
Last night the server closed down, due to a cease-and-decist letter from Blizzards attorneys over copyright infringement.
I do respect that Blizzard Entertainment needs to protect their intellectual property however - I have lost a lot of respect for the Company after they merged with Activision in 2007-2008.
Blizzard holds their own conference, Blizzcon, each year and use it to reveal new expansions, new games and similar. During Blizzcon 2013, a Q&A session was held titled "Q&A About Almost Everything Panel".
During the Q&A, a WoW player asked the question, "Have you ever thought about adding servers for previous expansions, as if it were them." to which J. Allen Brack from Blizzard replied "No. And by the way, you don't want to do that either - you think you do but you don't." He goes on by mentioning a few things, which might annoy some users - like waiting for certain classes for dungeons. Instead today Blizzard have added a "Looking for group" system where you one-click and you are playing. Well - J. Allen. Brack. We actually do wan't that.
See the clip here, at 30:00
I guess no-one really knows. Nostalrius was the biggest private server so far - yet 150.000 active accounts are not much in Blizzards size - where the original World of Warcraft hit 10.000.000 players!
However, since Vanilla Private servers aren't something "in your eyes" if Blizzard launched any, they would probably be highly popular.
The crew behind Nostalrius, have created a pertition for Blizzard co-founder and CEO Mike Morhaime to create official servers, feel free to sign it!
Anyway - in any case I have finally after 11 years cancelled my subscription. I simply haven't played the last expansions! I do have a "highest level character", however - I never did anything than find myself bored while trying to level up.
To Blizzard - We do know what we want - Nostalrius have shown us that we are many (800.000 users!) who would wan't a Vanilla server and I am certain that plenty of us would like to PAY you guys for it. Don't let your great game die out.