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Should Blizzard Tolerate Private Servers?

Date: Apr 12 2016 Views: ( ) Comments ()

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As we have witnessed the recent shutting down of the Nostalrius private server that was running the Vanilla version of World of Warcraft and a huge question emerges about private servers in general.
First of all, it is important to see the whole situation through the eyes of Blizzard too, not only as a gamer. Let’s say you are Blizzard, you invest tons of money over decades into your MMORPG and while doing so, others privately run servers with your self-developed game, and they most likely did not ask for permission. As a developer, you will probably be rather frustrated by others making a profit from your own piece of work, regardless of the fact that some exceptions like Nostalrius were there to ease that existing Vanilla WoW hunger.

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Now that you see both sides, let’s attempt to find out whether Blizzard’s actions towards the Vanilla private server were understandable. This question has a simple and logical answer but it is not what players want to hear. Blizzard’s actions towards private servers are probably driven by two major factors, one being that someone is drawing away players from the official WoW servers by using an earlier version of their own game. This is probably a nuisance to Blizzard, but it brings up a secondary question, if the official servers would bring enough new and exciting content, would a  private server be able to “steal” players away from Blizzard?
The secondary focus of Blizzard’s attack on private servers is most likely to be an act of pride. I made this game, I want to be the only one that runs this game. This is probably something that Blizzard officials keep repeating to themselves while battling private servers.

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A logical decision from Blizzard would probably be making an exception with Nostalrius due to the immense amount of complainers through a petition, but making an exception might lead to other private servers following Nostalrius’ methods. Blizzard might just want to make an example of Nostalrius instead of an exception.
Blizzard has probably also considered the possibility of releasing its very own version of an official Vanilla server to please players in need of nostalgia. But by doing so, they might harm the populations of official WoW servers which can lead to a decrease in profit unless an official Vanilla server is made with a similar monthly subscription system.
All in all, Blizzard’s intolerance of WoW private servers is probably rational, however, they must realize that so many players are playing on private servers for a very good reason, and that is probably the lack of new content in the official World of Warcraft. Nostalrius might just end up winning this battle, but on the long run, Blizzard will probably win the war, since their personal property is being used without official permission.


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