Wherein I make a bunch of enemies…

Vanilla Loading screenIt’s time for another installment of Unpopular Opinions with your host, Fussypants! Today, we tackle an exceedingly controversial issue and manage to agree with absolutely no one else! You guessed it, we’re talking about LEGACY SERVERS!

I am not a fan!

First of all, I believe the current iteration, of private servers run by random interwebs programmers, is deplorable.  To take someone elses work, make a few tweaks, and start handing it out for free (or even worse, charging for it) it just plain terrible.  It’s theft, it’s infringement, and its just plain wrong.

And I’m sorry, no amount of ‘large and vibrant community’ is going to make me think otherwise.  Because you know what else can have a large and vibrant community? Black markets.  Cartels.  Gangs.  While their crimes are not nearly as severe, I still consider those who create and those who populate legacy servers to be no better than criminals.  Wrong is wrong, no ifs, ands, or buts.

However, there seems to be a lot of talk about Blizzard hosting their own legacy servers, which would be an entirely different ballpark.  No longer is there an ethical question about the servers, it would be run by those who created the game in the first place.  However, even without the criminal element, I still dislike legacy servers as a concept.

The world is a constantly changing place.  Ideas are born, technology is invented, countries rise and fall, and times change.  I can’t think of a single institution that has remained constant throughout history.  But change also can mean growth whereas stagnation always leads to decay.  Everything evolves.

Change is such a big part of our lives and naturally, is a part of our entertainment. Even video games like Warcraft must change to continue to compete.  Just about everything aside from the very basic controls have changed in Warcraft- the endgame, the class mechanics, the grouping mechanisms, everything.  Heck, every couple of weeks, we have hotfixes to change something else.  Warcraft is a living entity and thus it continually evolves.

And in a game like Warcraft, change is not only a part to the whole, it’s a vital part.  In order to maintain it’s playerbase, new content and quality of life changes must be constantly added.  If they were not, the game would stagnate and people would slowly get bored and leave.  We see the effect of stagnation already- every expansion doldrums the subscriber numbers dip as many people take a break.  Warcraft needs change.

So I just cannot fathom why people would want to go back and play in a static, stagnate, outdated iteration of the game.  Why would you want to purposefully return to a version of the game that will never improve, never progress, never evolve?  It’s like saying ‘oh, I want to go back to the rotary phone because those were the good ole days!’.  It just isn’t logical.

I believe we are blinded by our rose-tinted glasses.  We remember those old expansions not for how they were but rather for who we played with.  We don’t remember all the annoying grindy parts, we just remember the sense of wonder in exploring the world.  We look back fondly onto the people we used to know.  Like a friend of mine astutely put it, you might miss your high school years, but do you really want to go back to that building? Or do you want to go back and meet all the people again? And generally, the people are the pull.

Would it be fun to poke around in a vanilla version of the game? Probably, but only for a little while.  Eventually, you are bound to get bored of something that never changes.  It’s human nature.  There’s only so long you can listen to that one song before you get sick of it.  Even if it did used to be your favorite song.

Legacy servers, in my opinion, are simply not worth the coding they are made of.  With change being such an essential part of life, purposely going backwards and then stagnating there is counter productive.  And I know I’m not alone on this, if this would mean that Blizzard’s limited resources would then get split between developing new content and maintaining the ancient, I would be rather peeved.  Some whiner complaining about legacy servers so much, got their way, and are now slowing down the progress of my game? No way! Warcraft should be moving forwards, not backwards!

Living in the past accomplishes nothing. The only possible way towards the future is through continual adaption and change.

11 thoughts on “Wherein I make a bunch of enemies…

  1. I agree with you. Theft is theft no matter how it’s “justified.” Anyway, Blizzard already has an extensive library containing their history. I was almost tempted to apply for the Curator job they advertised a few years ago :D.
    So even though all the “legacy” stuff might be lost to us as customers, it’s probably safely archived somewhere in some form or another.
    Anyway, if all the people who cry about “the good old days” need a challenge, they can still do it the “hard” way without using their flying mounts, heirlooms, garrisons, etc., etc. It can be done if they really wanted it bad enough 😉
    No need to advocate the theft of intellectual property just because they’re too lazy to try lol.

  2. I know I may be a little late, but here is my comment- I agree with your statement that non-Blizzard WoW servers constitute theft, and I have no desire to go back to any iterations of the non-current game, but you also say that everything changes. I am curious- what then is your basis for saying a given action is (im)moral? (How can you say that theft is wrong?)

    I happen to believe in objective truth- in the words of a favorite author, “Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another thing among Men,” so I think I can defend the proposition that thieving is wrong- can you?

    Finally, since there is much less nuance available here, I wish to say that I am only posing a philosophical question, I mean no offence, and especially I do not wish to hurt feelings or to appear to be attacking anyone. If that is the case, I apologize.

    If you wish to respond elsewhere, Pants, you know where to find me. 😉

  3. I have one point about theft and copyright, some times archivists have to do the wrong thing which is basically stealing to preserve whatever they think is important, a book or a music album and recently old video games, archive.org have so many books/games/music etc, many of them available as public domain so no one owns them, and other are copyrighted and yet preserved for culture value.

    The nature of MMOs make them hard to archive, so emulators and private servers can be used as a way to archive these games, of course the copyright holder should agree on this, i think classic WoW is important enough to be saved in Archive.org or in the Computer History Museum.

    • Absolutely classic WoW is an important part of the game’s history but we still have records of it. There’s countless video and written material on it out there that anyone can access at any time. I understand the appeal of archiving the game itself for history’s sake but as I brought up in the article above, I think that ultimately that would be an counterproductive endeavor. It’s far more work (basically, maintaining a completely different game) than I personally believe it’s worth and I’d much rather that effort be spent on incoming content. Archives are fantastic but at some point, we are going to have to accept that classic WoW as we knew it, the guildies and the community and the nostalgia, just aren’t coming back.

  4. I did not play early World of Warcraft, but I respect that for those who did the changes over the years have transformed the game into a very different one than they fell in love with. I see no reason for Blizzard not to bring the old version back to life for those who wish to play the old world. Other game companies with fewer resources have done it with their own games, and I’ve never seen any fallout from it as if it were a mistake and lessened the current and future game in any way.

    • I do want to say that I have been playing since BC (so not quite Vanilla wow but still, a very long time) and I have actually grown to love the game more as it has transformed. I know I do not represent everyone but I do want to point out that those who dislike what the game has changed into also aren’t indicative of all the opinions on the matter. Everyone feels differently about the changes WoW has gone through.
      As for other games having “vanilla realms”, I will openly admit, my knowledge of other MMOs begins and ends with WoW. What other MMOs offer services like that and how do they go about it?

      • The standouts for providing legacy servers are Everquest and Everquest 2, Ultimate Online, and though I cringe, Runescape. How they did the work is beyond me.
        Personally, I played Galaxies and LOTRO for a long time, trying out World of Warcraft, but not really playing regularly till Wrath. There were some changes to the game during Cataclysm that I regretted seeing, but I don’t feel Blizzard ever made changes to the game that were abrupt and sweeping. I must be the only person who loves Draenor and Garrisons, and particularly my shipyard. I’m looking forward to Legion.
        Even so, I’m curious about the early period game and I’d be happy to play it, if offered by Blizzard. I like what I’m reading about it.

  5. OMG! You used the C word. How can we get all nestled in our Elite-ism, if we have to continually relearn how to play. Change is bad. /entitled /snark


  6. Whilst I can see the point of playing in a “bubble” so to speak and vanilla was perhaps my favourite point in the game for many reasons, I would prefer Blizzard to add to the caverns of time rather than make dedicated “vanilla” servers.

    Basically you could go to Caverns of Time, click a portal and enter say the Eastern Kingdoms as it was when the game went live. The quests would be there and you could potter about, do world PvP with like minded people, take screenshots etc.

    That way the past and present could live side by side.

    • This I could get behind! Seeing the world Pre-Cata while still having all the quality of life changes that we have today, now this makes sense to me. Again, it would still be a good deal of work to remake all those old quests and zones but it would be considerably less than an entire different version of the game. And by adding it onto the current version of the game, it would be more akin to adding content (despite the fact that it is not new, it is just newly reopened). However my one request would be that this Caverns of Time: Vanilla (just to give it a name) would be in addition to current content instead of replacing current content updates.

      Two thumbs up for this idea!

      • I could totally get behind that idea as well!

        I didn’t start playing until late Wrath, and I feel like I “missed out” on a few things. For example, I’d really like to be able to do the old class quests, or see the opening of AQ. There are also things that were removed in the Cataclysm that I miss — the retaking of Undercity after Wrathgate being the big example I can think of. I’d also love to be able to wander around the old world before the Cataclysm, revisiting the old Orgrimmar, or the old Thousand Needles, etc.

        However, I can’t imagine myself playing on a legacy server for any length of time. I wouldn’t want to put in the time and effort of leveling up a character in what would essentially be a separate game, without the ability to move the character over into modern WoW. Also, while I’m glad that I got to experience the original leveling experience (more or less) I think I would find going back to it very frustrating and tedious. (Actually, I’ve been working on Loremaster of Outland and the old model of quests spread out across the world, and having to travel back and forth numerous times, and the lack of flight paths is just KILLING ME, so I KNOW I would get frustrated with Vanilla pretty quickly.)

        Also, I agree with you about how private servers are stealing Blizzard’s intellectual property, and I don’t want Blizzard to, in essence, reward them by caving in to the demand for legacy servers. I don’t think that there will really be enough demand to make it worth Blizzard’s while, and I don’t want to see the current game suffer because resources were transferred to legacy server maintenance.

        But, on the other hand, providing legacy servers might make people finally STFU and stop whining and begging on the forums. (What am I saying? I know they’ll just find something new to whine about.)

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