Fans who enjoy playing older games are quickly finding themselves out of luck. Sure, a lot of classics are available cheaply online, and it's never been easier to find a few rare gems like Mega Man Legends 2. However, those who play exclusively online games are forced to endure updates that they might not want or see a game "evolve" that they already like.
Take World of Warcraft, for example. The MMORPG has changed so much over the years that it is barely recognizable from the state of its launch back in 2004. While some players accepted the changes and decided to continue adventuring with the additions, others enjoyed vanilla World of Warcraft as it was and rejected the changes, some quitting in the process.
It is this second group of people who are SOL, and that goes double now that their only means of playing vanilla World of Warcraft has been blasted into oblivion. Blizzard's lawyers in North America and France have shut down the private server Nostalrius, sending 800,000 registered users and 150,000 active users packing.
Well, they can always play the official World of Warcraft, right?
Not really. Players who have been left out in the cold are furious and have started a petition to get Blizzard to at least fire up a Legacy server of the official version. Meanwhile, Nostalrius has promised to release its source code, allowing others to pick up the remnants its place.
Today is also the day where Nostalrius will start being community-driven in the truest sense of the word, as we will be releasing the source code, and anonymized players data (encrypting personal account data), so the community as a whole will decide the form of the future of Nostalrius. We will still be there in the background if you want us to, but will no longer take the lead.
How about it? Are these "pirates" breaking the law and stealing from an active product, or are they just trying to find an outlet for a game that effectively no longer exists. I doubt such a private server would be this enormous if Blizzard supported a vanilla World of Warcraft server, and I wonder how many subscribers it could help Blizzard's hemorrhaging game retain.
Again, this comes down to what rights gamers have to play their favorite games, and what rights companies have to protect their copyrights, profit from subscriptions, and make sure everyone is playing on an even playing field with an official build.