World of Warcraft has come a long way since it first launched in 2004, however a great many players out there still prefer the game as it was originally released. This rabid and sentimental fanbase call their hobby “vanilla World of Warcraft,” and it is not a pastime that Blizzard officially supports anymore.
These gamers who wanted just the basic experience instead turned to Nostalrius, a private server dedicated to allowing players to play World of Warcraft as it was when it was first released back in 2004. No micro-transactions, no PvP, no expansions. Just the game at its absolute most pure and basic levels. If I ever crawled back into Azeroth, it would definitely be to experience the game like this since the expansions are far too bulky and don’t do much for me.
However, it looks like I’ll never be able to do so anymore. After receiving orders from Blizzard to shut down, Nostalrius’ creators did just that at 11:00 p.m. “server time” on April 10. During the shut-down event, thousands of the server’s 150,000 active users gathered in different areas to celebrate one last time before “vanilla” World of Warcraft once again became but a past memory.
One such in-game gathering involved the players marching for hours across each of the games’ regions before jumping off of a cliff at Thunder Bluff.
Since the server’s closure, a petition over at Change.org has gathered over 81,000 signatures, urging Blizzard to start supporting legacy servers and granting legal access to “vanilla” World of Warcraft. It’s a lofty and sentimental goal. However, I don’t see this happening until Blizzard can find some way to compromise and add micro-transactions or other petty ways to make a penny on a version of a game it would never have given a second glance to.
If that happens, we’ll only have to wait until the next time another Nostralius emerges.