This whole Nostalrius business has been remarkable. Who would have thought a team behind a private/pirate World of Warcraft server - depending on how you look at it - would one day be invited to Blizzard for a meeting that included Mike Morhaime (CEO), J. Allen Brack (WOW executive producer), Tom Chilton (game director), Ion Hazzikostas (assistant game director) and Marco Koegler (technical director)?
Here is a group of people responsible for running WOW servers against the rules so Blizzard's legal team swooped and shut them down. And now, barely two months later, the Nostalrius team is invited to a two-hour meeting (that turned into five hours) with the very top tier of Blizzard - and allowed to talk about it afterwards.
That's the power of a big community - and the power of a big Change.org Nostalrius petition. I've never seen Blizzard be so open to outsiders.
A summary of the day at Blizzard HQ was posted on the Nostalrius forum. The main takeaways were, from the Nostalrius team's point of view, that "these guys WANT to have legacy WOW servers, that is for sure", and that "they DO have the source code for Vanilla WOW".
Making legacy servers a reality, however, is more complicated. In addition to the source code, Blizzard needs all the other elements of a build, like data, models, maps, and so on. And some of this may no longer exist. "Not all of this information was under a version control system," the Nostalrius team wrote. "In the end, whichever of these parts were lost at any point, they will have to be recreated: this is likely to take a lot of resources through a long development process."
On top of that, the Nostalrius team noted - as others have - that anything released by Blizzard to the public needs to be very polished, which will add development time as well.
In other words, it's tricky, but the overriding sense is that Blizzard wants to do it - to make legacy/vanilla WOW servers happen. "To sum up: the good surprise of the meeting was the level of engagement of all these Blizzard people toward making legacy servers a reality," the Nostalrius team wrote. "The downside is the technical difficulty it will take to reach our objective. Blizzard is now well aware of the amount of players willing to play legacy servers, something which wasn't the case until Nostalrius shutdown."
The Nostalrius servers - one PvE and one PvP - were taken down 10th April, and witnessing 'the end' were players in such numbers as I'd never seen on legitimate Vanilla WoW servers when I played. Indeed, that was the attraction of Nostalrius - a vibrant, bustling community that existed in one place rather than be temporarily pulled in from clusters of servers as WOW does now. It gave the sense of belonging to a community, which is vital in an MMO.