Executives from Blizzard have spoken for the first time about the decision of shutting down the fan server Nostalrius from the WoW massively multiplayer online role-playing game. It appears they were unable to find a legal path that would allow the pirate server to coexist with the intellectual property of the company.
J. Allen Brack, executive producer of WoW, wrote on the forums of battle.net that the reason they could not let Nostalrius run as it did until now is that
“Failure to protect against intellectual property infringement would damage Blizzard’s rights. This applies to anything that uses WoW’s IP, including unofficial servers.”
Brack also added that no legal way exists tat would grant the pirate server an operational license while protecting the IP of the company.
The official statement was released weeks after gamers from all over the world sent requests and petitions to reverse the decision of Blizzard and re-open the fan server. The fans have stepped in since they were informed by the creators of the server that the lawyers of Blizzard have asked the to take Nostalrius and all its content down. The fan server was ultimately closed on April 10.
While unofficial WoW servers are not uncommon, Nostalrius was unique because it ran the vanilla version of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game. The version in question was 1.12, which is the last update to occur in the game before the first expansion was introduced, The Burning Crusade. The server was quite popular with its 150,000 active users out of the total of 800,000 registered players.
Blizzard has also declared that it has considered running the classic WoW servers. Unfortunately, keeping those updated would pose “tremendous operational challenges”. Instead, they proposed a “Pristine Realm”, where recruit-a-friend bonuses, access to crossing realm zones, WoW tokens and character boosts would be removed. However, most fans expressed their wish for a vanilla version of the game, and not this pristine world.
Fans have long requested a version of the game free from all expansions and the changes that came with them. In this respect, they managed to gather no less than 238,000 signatures for a petition on Change.org. This was actually what made Nostalrius so popular.
The statement does give a little spark of hope, as it appears Blizzard has been in contact with the people who ran the fan server. According to Brack, the company is planning to have several discussions with them about the future of such altered servers.
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