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Dec162016

Top Five Takeaways of the Announced World of Warcraft Nostalrius Server

By Jeff Francis
Top five takeaways of World of Warcraft Nostalrius server resurrection

Nostalgia remains a potent force in the lives of gamers. One would think that the relatively new existence of mmorpg games would lead to a lack of nostalgia, but such a sentiment would be wrong. The original crop of online gamers lament the lack of challenge found in most mmo games today and still wistfully talk about the vibrant, albeit small, communities that were forged long ago. One particular area of nostalgia is for vanilla World of Warcraft, whose adherents say is the best (and likely the only) version of the game worth playing. A legacy server called Nostalrius was shut down some time back through the legal efforts of Blizzard, and the two sides did eventually meet to discuss the possibility of a server catering to vanilla WoW fans. Such talks went nowhere, but it appears that Nostalrius is not dead as the mods decided to release the source code to the masses and have led the cheerleading of a new legacy server, Elysium, to pick up the reins starting on December 17th. This announcement was met with a lot of elation by legacy players, and I'm sure that the Blizzard legal counsel will take notice as well. We examine the top five takeaways of the announced World of Warcraft Nostalrius legacy server revival.

One note that must be made is that the new vanilla World of Warcraft server is Elysium and not Nostalrius, but I will be going back and forth between the two names. The reasons are that many of the individuals working on Elysium were part of the Nostalrius team, and then there is the fact that it was the folks behind Nostalrius that released the source code in the first place. Another reason is that player characters on the vanilla WoW Nostalrius server have been transferred to the new Elysium server. In essence, the two servers are essentially the same. So now let's take a gander at the five takeaways we have about the new World of Warcraft Elysium server that follows in the footsteps of Nostalrius.

Good Times
Our first takeaway of the revived World of Warcraft Nostalrius server in the form of Elysium is that fans of vanilla WoW have a reason to rejoice. There is no doubt that the community of mmo gamers who have rallied to the vanilla WoW cause are a dedicated bunch. When the Nostalrius server was shut down, it was estimated to have had 150,000 players, which is pretty damn good. I can fully understand those players excited to continue their journey on the new legacy WoW Elysium server playing the version of the game that they love so much. I'm sure the server will be slammed when it opens for business on December 17th (this Saturday). This development for a new legacy server is tremendous news for them as they have openly expressed in many different online forums.

Theft is Theft
Our second takeaway from the new World of Warcraft Elysium server is that it does not change the fact that theft is theft. A lot of gamers proclaim that releasing the source code for vanilla WoW is not theft at all as those who will play it are not playing the current version of the game and that the entire operation is non-profit. Such views do not jibe with legal practice. Taking the intellectual property of an entity (the source code for Blizzard's vanilla World of Warcraft) is still theft. It does not belong to a group of gamers, no matter how long they've played the game or how much they love it. Such code belongs to Blizzard. Even if they are not using it, such as to power a legacy server for vanilla WoW fans, it still belongs to them. One could argue that a small percentage of players on the new WoW Elysium server might have played the current game if the legacy server was not active, which means that the existence of such a server is financially harmful to Blizzard in terms of lost revenue.

Blizzard Will React
Our third takeaway from the revived World of Warcraft Nostalrius legacy-style server is that Blizzard will act. I've read a number of online forums where people were questioning if Blizzard was going to send another cease-and-desist letter from their lawyers. The answer to that question is patently obvious: Blizzard will act because it has to. If a company does not vigorously defend their intellectual property, then it greatly weakens their legal claims farther down the road. If they do nothing, then lawyers could argue that their actions are a tacit approval of vanilla WoW servers existing. Blizzard really has no other choice in this matter from a legal point of view. Administrators of the new World of Warcraft Elysium server should prepare themselves to begin receiving legal notices as soon as the server goes live.

Elysium Will Keep Running
The next of our takeaways concerning the new World of Warcraft Elysium server is that it will keep running despite having received notices from Blizzard to shut down. The reason for this is that it appears this new vanilla WoW server is based in Russia, which means that US-based laws on intellectual property will not apply. Blizzard can get judges in the United States to agree with them on shutting down Elysium, but there is no way that they can enforce such an order in Russian territory. A lot of regions, particularly Europe and Russia, have been incredibly lax on what crosses the line on stealing an IP and using it, especially when it comes to mmo games. Just like other pirate servers, Elysium will just accept the cease-and-desist notices and continue to thumb their noses at Blizzard.

A Potential Rise in Legacy Servers
Our last takeaway from the World of Warcraft Nostalrius server resurrecting as Elysium is that it may, if successful, usher in more legacy servers for other games. A lot of gamers in Eastern Europe are finally being exposed to IPs that they may have not been aware of before, not to mention the possibility of basing legacy servers in Russia to escape the legal clutches of the actual owners of such IPs. Games like Star Wars Galaxies and Dark Age of Camelot were beloved by their original players before a dreaded update changed those respective games forever. Players of those original games may very likely be amenable to once again recapturing the magic of those halcyon days of yore by playing on a legacy server, just as vanilla WoW fans will be doing on Elysium. The increased technology of today is allowing individuals and groups to set up shop in countries that have very different ownership laws than those found in the United States. While a headache for the game companies, this is a major boon for old school gamers looking to go back to the past.

These are our top five takeaways from the new World of Warcraft Elysium legacy server coming online tomorrow. Blizzard has to act to protect their IP, but the reality is that there is very little they can do if the vanilla WoW server is located in Russia. If the server is successful, then other games may look to follow suit and set up shop in Mother Russia as well. It'll be interesting to see what happens over the next few months. What are your thoughts on the World of Warcraft Nostalrius server being reborn as Elysium? Let us know in the comments below.

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