Elysium, the private/pirate vanilla World of Warcraft server that took over from Nostalrius, has imploded amid allegations the people in charge were pocketing donations and creating gold and characters to sell to players for real money.
A coup was led yesterday by a splinter group who completely wiped and took down the Elysium servers after having made their own backups, which they will use to continue a purer - if you can call it that - service of their own.
"Due to failures to uphold the projects ideals and integrity, the Elysium Project is being dissolved and relaunched out of the control of those who have abused the trust of the staff, community, and legacy movement as a whole," the Light's Hope group said in a statement.
It was alleged that the project's former leader, Shenna, "has taken at least roughly 2000 Euros or more for personal financial reasons", and that another senior project member, Crogge, was running a gold and character selling business on the side. There are pieces of chatlog evidence appearing to back this up.
The existing Elysium servers are not dead and can be resurrected from backups, but how recent they are and how much progress will be rolled back no one yet knows. However, there will now be two sets of Elysium servers for players to choose between; think of this as a schism.
"The core team that are stepping down from the Elysium Project are coalescing around the foundational ideals this project is supposed to represent and are relaunching/rebranding as Light's Hope," the statement read.
Elysium has not issued a full response and servers appear to still be down.
"We're currently working to bring all realms online," read a message on the Elysium website. "Elysium will continue to run, and despite what many people believe, will not be shutting down. Further comments about downtime and response to allegations will be made later."
Elysium recreates pre-expansion World of Warcraft - a game and world many, including myself, remember fondly. It's an experience Blizzard doesn't offer officially in the game, which is the crux of the 'is it pirating?' debate surrounding legacy WoW servers as they're known.
It was a debate that erupted in spring 2016 after the closure of Elysium's predecessor, Nostalrius, by Blizzard's lawyers. Hundreds of thousands of people petitioned the action - Nostalrius had attracted players in their hordes. This led to one of the most remarkable actions I've ever seen Blizzard take: invitating the Nostalrius team to Blizzard HQ for a meeting with the heads of the company and World of Warcraft game - and it lasted several hours.
But nothing appeared to come of it, which eventually provoked the Nostalrius team's hand, which gave the Nostalrius server data to the Elysium team to carry on, and the service reappeared in December 2016. It has run without apparent interference from Blizzard ever since.
The question about what Blizzard got from the unprecedented meeting with the Nostalrius team remains. Why do it? Did Blizzard explore, with actual intent, providing legacy servers to the community? Last year at BlizzCon there was anticipation of an announcement but nothing happened. The anticipation has carried over to this year's BlizzCon, where World of Warcraft looks set to dominate proceedings. And we won't have long to find out, with the opening ceremony due Friday 3rd November at 6pm GMT. We'll be covering it live.