Skip to main content

Bizarre dispute erupts within underground vanilla World of Warcraft

Original creators worry about "pirate server" reputation.

Well this is odd. Just as the underground vanilla/legacy World of Warcraft scene flourishes, a schism appears between the two teams responsible for it: Nostalrius and Elysium.

Nostalrius all of a sudden wants Elysium to stop using the server data it provided last year. Data that came with an immense community and expectation; data that stretched WoW server architecture to allow tens of thousands of people to play concurrently; data from servers shut down by Blizzard lawyers but released in defiance of them. Nostalrius data to resurrect a dream Blizzard apparently wouldn't: legacy WoW.

But all of a sudden, Nostalrius believes the Elysium servers are making the overall goal of official legacy World of Warcraft servers harder to achieve.

"The goal," wrote Nostalrius, "was to relieve pressure on Blizzard by providing a home for vanilla WoW in order to lower tensions and begin building a WoW community that includes legacy WoW players. However, when looking back to what happened, we have the feeling that the main objective was missed."

Now legacy WoW players are looked upon as pirates, not fans, Nostalrius said.

"We know that Nostalrius carries the hopes of the legacy community but moving from 'fan server' to 'pirate server' reputation makes it harder to convince that legacy fans have a place on the WoW community. Until this stigma is removed, it's unlikely any true progress towards official legacy content can be achieved."

And so: "We ask Elysium to join this effort for Legacy realms by stopping to use data that we provided. We know they aim at official legacy realms as we do. We have already stopped the account transfer process from our side as a first step. Nostalrius community is no longer about private servers, it is about official legacy realms."

Watch on YouTube

Elysium responded in kind, with a statement titled "Response to Nostalrius - Elysium will prevail".

"It is with sadness that we must act under such circumstances. However, rest assured that our loyalties remain with the community in all things. Nostalrius handed us the torch, we have no intention of putting it out," wrote Elysium.

So Elysium will erase ties with Nostalrius, renaming the resurrected servers, switching their cores and wiping associated data from them. Note: "All characters that have existed in the game world since Elysium's launch until now will be maintained, and all Nostalrius specific data will be wiped."

In addition, Elysium will open a fourth realm (currently there are three: the two renamed Nostalrius servers and the fresh-start Elysium server) for people to play on.

As a show of strength, Elysium shared numbers, stating it had as many as 30,500 players online simultaneously over the four realms.

"Numbers speak for themselves: the community is growing as legacy WoW keeps generating more and more interest. We believe that our movement should remain loud and we will do what is in our power to preserve it. We believe that our players must have a home. We will keep providing this community until Blizzard announces official Legacy World of Warcraft content and provide a tangible timeline for [its] release.

"We hope you all will not see this as a blow to our progress, but as an opportunity to show the world our resilience. While our predecessor has been fatally wounded, we gain a second wind."

The two teams are ostensibly after the same goal but going about it in different ways. But why the change of heart from Nostalrius? It's not as if Elysium was running a service very different from Nostalrius - not as if Nostalrius hadn't hand-picked Elysium for the job. The attention the Elysium servers enjoy is the direct result of Nostalrius' actions. I wonder, would Nostalrius have closed its own servers had the same issue arose?

More to the point, how does Nostalrius intend to keep legacy-WoW pressure on Blizzard now? It was Nostalrius' popularity that earned the team an unprecedented invite to Blizzard HQ to spend hours in a meeting with top brass. Dormant, is Nostalrius as important? Or perhaps the team knows something we do not.

For now, little has changed from the perspective of the player, but it sounds like plans are afoot at Nostalrius. "From our side, we keep on working on multiple ideas which may go in the right direction," it said.

Read this next