I've never seen World of Warcraft servers as packed as the two Nostalrius pirate servers on Sunday night - moments before they were closed for good.

Thousands gathered for the pre-announced End, which took place just after 11pm server time, and recorded numerous videos in different areas of the game world.

There's not a great deal to see: a great crush of players huddle, some yelling, others casting spells, and then you see those fateful words: "Disconnected from server."

The Nostalrius servers, against the rules though they were, provided a classic, pre-expansion World of Warcraft experience that the official game does not.

The team behind Nostalrius reckons 800,000 people registered to play on the servers and that 150,000 were active, although how that number was measured I don't know. It's also worth remembering that you didn't have to be a paid WOW subscriber in order to play on the Nostalrius servers although some people were.

Nevertheless, Nostalrius was undeniably popular, and reportedly gave people the feeling of active and recognisable community - something that has arguably disappeared from the live World of Warcraft game now, which temporarily pulls in people from other servers to fill instanced events.

The Nostalrius petition to have Blizzard revisit its stance on private, legacy servers, has now reached more than 80,000 signatures. It's after 150,000.

The Nostalrius source code has been released to the community so it may live on in some shape or form, but its departure raises the question of whether Blizzard will ever officially offer a legacy WOW server as other MMO companies have with their games - Daybreak with EverQuest 2, for example.

Personally, I doubt it, as Blizzard seems keen on offering old WOW content inside the live game itself via features like Timewalking, where you can revisit old dungeons adjusted to the current highest character level. But one day, who knows? Maybe as things start to really peter out...

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About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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