Watch: revisiting vanilla World of Warcraft while we still can

Queue queue.

Always a great fondness for simpler times isn't there? For turning the dials back. It's the same in World of Warcraft, a game more than a decade old, so old it has eras. Was it really better back at the beginning? How can we objectively know? We have only memories; no way to travel back and test it. All that's available is the latest World of Warcraft build. Or is it?

If you go down a shady path you can get to vanilla World of Warcraft, a relic from 2005/2006, before any expansions came out. It's maintained by the Elysium project and exists in contravention of Blizzard's rules. A private server, an unofficial server - a pirate server, if you like.

Blizzard lawyers shut down Nostalrius vanilla WoW servers for that reason last year, but Elysium recently resurrected them, reinstating the saved characters on them. And now Elysium has opened another, fresh-start server, where everyone begins from scratch.

These are servers where concurrent player numbers are unlocked to well beyond official Blizzard server levels, to as high as 10,000 players. Servers that feel massively multiplayer. And players are flocking to them in droves.

This is where me and Chris Bratt jump in, into the time warp, to see what this vanilla WoW craze is really like. It may not be here long after all. Our first steps after a bloody long queue - just like old times! - are what you see in the video, both on the fresh-start server and the resurrected Nostalrius PvP server. Bring back any memories?

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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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