Blizzard has released a statement regarding World of Warcraft vanilla servers in the early hours of this morning ahead of the arrival of a 250k petition.
The overall tone of the response is essentially, “we’re not ruling it out perse, but it’s fairly difficult to pull of”. The petition itself received a considerable spike in support after ex-Blizzard dev Mark Kern voiced his support for the creation of vanilla servers. The entire controversy got going after the shut down of one of the most popular private vanilla servers. For the uninitiated, vanilla servers are those which strip away many of the editions of newer versions, as well as the expansion content, to create a player experience that closely mirrors the game in it’s initial release state.
Blizzard does mention an option of what they call a “pristine realm” which would remove features such as character transfers, boosts, group finder, and other features that have made the game easier.
The statement reads:
We wanted to let you know that we’ve been closely following the Nostalrius discussion and we appreciate your constructive thoughts and suggestions.
Our silence on this subject definitely doesn’t reflect our level of engagement and passion around this topic. We hear you. Many of us across Blizzard and the WoW Dev team have been passionate players ever since classic WoW. In fact, I personally work at Blizzard because of my love for classic WoW.
We have been discussing classic servers for years – it’s a topic every BlizzCon – and especially over the past few weeks. From active internal team discussions to after-hours meetings with leadership, this subject has been highly debated. Some of our current thoughts:
Why not just let Nostalrius continue the way it was? The honest answer is, failure to protect against intellectual property infringement would damage Blizzard’s rights. This applies to anything that uses WoW’s IP, including unofficial servers. And while we’ve looked into the possibility – there is not a clear legal path to protect Blizzard’s IP and grant an operating license to a pirate server.
We explored options for developing classic servers and none could be executed without great difficulty. If we could push a button and all of this would be created, we would. However, there are tremendous operational challenges to integrating classic servers, not to mention the ongoing support of multiple live versions for every aspect of WoW.
So what can we do to capture that nostalgia of when WoW first launched? Over the years we have talked about a “pristine realm”. In essence that would turn off all leveling acceleration including character transfers, heirloom gear, character boosts, Recruit-A-Friend bonuses, WoW Token, and access to cross realm zones, as well as group finder. We aren’t sure whether this version of a clean slate is something that would appeal to the community and it’s still an open topic of discussion.
One other note – we’ve recently been in contact with some of the folks who operated Nostalrius. They obviously care deeply about the game, and we look forward to more conversations with them in the coming weeks.
You, the Blizzard community, are the most dedicated, passionate players out there. We thank you for your constructive thoughts and suggestions. We are listening.
J. Allen Brack
The petition video is still going out today even though Blizzard has finally responded publically on the matter and the petition is still going to Blizzard. We’ll post both of those up as soon as they are available.