Blizzard Responds to Nostalrius Server Closure Complaints

Lizzy Finnegan

New member
Mar 11, 2015
1,650
0
0
Blizzard Responds to Nostalrius Server Closure Complaints

//cdn.themis-media.com/media/global/images/library/deriv/1309/1309904.jpg

Blizzard has responded to complaints over the closure of Nostalrius, an unofficial vanilla World of Warcraft server.

Earlier this month led to a petition calling for the reinstatement of the server [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/167113-Blizzard-Sends-Cease-and-Desist-to-Nostalrius-Vanilla-WoW-Private-Server], which has since gathered over 235,000 signatures.

World of Warcraft's executive producer, J. Allen Brack, responded on the official forum today [http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20743584206?page=1], saying that the team has been "closely following the Nostalrius discussion," and that Blizzard's silence on the matter "definitely doesn't reflect our level of engagement and passion around this topic."

Brack says that while Blizzard has "looked into the possibility" of working with private servers, there is no "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," Brack wrote. "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."

"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 can read the statement, in full, below:

"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"
Permalink
 

RJ 17

The Sound of Silence
Nov 27, 2011
8,687
0
0
Translation:

"Blah Blah PR PR Spin Spin Spin Fuck you it's our game."

At least that's what I got out of that statement. :3
 

Fappy

\[T]/
Jan 4, 2010
12,010
0
41
Country
United States
I'm not sure the profits would be huge, but I can see vanilla, TBC and WotLK servers generating enough revenue to be worthwhile. Certainly plenty of veteran players would return for them. Would be interesting to see how they handled raid progression.
 

Petromir

New member
Apr 10, 2010
593
0
0
Fappy said:
I'm not sure the profits would be huge, but I can see vanilla, TBC and WotLK servers generating enough revenue to be worthwhile. Certainly plenty of veteran players would return for them. Would be interesting to see how they handled raid progression.
I believe Blizzards argument is that an official server requires a lot in the way of maintenance, support, and patching to create keep it running up to the standards expected, plus development to ensure the accounts system could handle it.

Licensing out would lessen these issues (and remove the Blizzard accounts issues) but with Blizzard taking a cut, and imposing a minimum standard of service (after all Blizzard's official blessing signals they feel something is good enough to have their name) would it be possible.
 

Corven

Forever Gonzo
Sep 10, 2008
2,022
0
0
I feel as though the profits could outweigh the hassle of setting these legacy servers up, I mean when they launched the official everquest legacy servers they saw a boom of re-subs.
 

Chronologist

New member
Feb 28, 2010
206
0
0
"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."

I don't believe this for a minute. They let Nostralrius exist for an entire year and it didn't cause Blizzard to implode. They could have just ignored it completely and we wouldn't even be having this conversation. Hell, I worked on Elder Scrolls digital roleplaying content and not only did we not get a C&D from Zenimax, they told us they approved of our efforts. Blizzard's excuse is lame and almost certainly a lie.
 

Elfgore

Your friendly local nihilist
Legacy
Dec 6, 2010
5,655
23
13
Way to say a whole bunch of words with little to no meaning. I think Blizzard just need to sit down and accept that no matter what they do, they come out as nothing more than a greedy corporation that don't care what their fans want.
 

Cowabungaa

New member
Feb 10, 2008
10,806
0
0
"We explored options for developing classic servers and none could be executed without great difficulty," Brack wrote.
Y'see, I don't buy this. Hobbyists could do this and they didn't even have access to Blizzard's actual IP, no first-hand access to their code, their financial resources and amount of technical expertise and familiarity with WoW's systems.

But this guy says it's too hard for Blizzard? I call bullshit.
 

Senare

New member
Aug 6, 2010
160
0
0
I think that there is a high chance for this statement to be a honest answer. Don't dismiss everything as PR bullshit or you risk finding yourself in an uncompassionate echo-chamber.

http://www.blackweb20.com/2009/11/25/the-consequences-of-not-protecting-and-defending-your-trademarks/
"...failure to prosecute infringers usually is evidence of a weak mark.? As a result, challengers can petition the USPTO to cancel your trademark registration."

Shift the blame to your convoluted legal system, if anything.
 

VaporWare

New member
Aug 1, 2013
94
0
0
Chronologist said:
"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."

I don't believe this for a minute. They let Nostralrius exist for an entire year and it didn't cause Blizzard to implode. They could have just ignored it completely and we wouldn't even be having this conversation. Hell, I worked on Elder Scrolls digital roleplaying content and not only did we not get a C&D from Zenimax, they told us they approved of our efforts. Blizzard's excuse is lame and almost certainly a lie.
This actually /can/ cause some arcane legal issues if it goes unhandled.

IP law being what it is, if a company doesn't take clear steps on a regular basis to protect their ownership, they risk losing legal control of it. If Nostralrius had gone on long enough, and someone could prove Blizzard knew about it and had not taken steps to shut it down, they could argue that Blizzard had allowed Warcraft to lapse into the public domain.

This would allow pretty much anyone to do whatever they wanted with the IP...another 'Warcraft' MMO, spinoff RTS', whatever, completely outside Blizzard's control and without having to pay for the privilege the same way Konami and Hammer Films don't have to pay Bram Stoker or Mary Shelly's estate when they use 'Dracula' or 'Frankenstein' in their works.

Blizzard would still retain /copyright/ on the games (Warcraft 1 through 3, WoW, etc.) and assets themselves, which would still allow them to attack private WoW servers and so on (so long as they were running on proprietary software/using proprietary assets), but they would no longer be able to stop someone else from making their own 'Warcraft' media using that name and those characters.

It gets messy. Roleplay, fanfiction, fanart and so forth are one thing...what amounts to competing products is another.
 

laggyteabag

Scrolling through forums, instead of playing games
Legacy
Oct 25, 2009
3,195
829
118
UK
Gender
He/Him
Chronologist said:
They let Nostralrius exist for an entire year and it didn't cause Blizzard to implode. They could have just ignored it completely and we wouldn't even be having this conversation.
The argument is that if somebody is playing on a private server, they aren't paying Blizzard a subscription, and so it is harming Blizzard. Of course, the counter argument is that not every download/player = a missed purchase or subscription. Regardless, however, I am fairly certain that private servers are against Blizzard's TOS and are against the EULA, so it isn't really a question of morality, and is more a question of legality.

As to why they have to squash it: You can't squash one case of copyright infringement, and then let another one go. It is either black of white, otherwise, (don't quote me on it) it can be used against Blizzard in court, if it gets contested.
 

Chronologist

New member
Feb 28, 2010
206
0
0
Senare said:
I think that there is a high chance for this statement to be a honest answer. Don't dismiss everything as PR bullshit or you risk finding yourself in an uncompassionate echo-chamber.

http://www.blackweb20.com/2009/11/25/the-consequences-of-not-protecting-and-defending-your-trademarks/
"...failure to prosecute infringers usually is evidence of a weak mark.? As a result, challengers can petition the USPTO to cancel your trademark registration."

Shift the blame to your convoluted legal system, if anything.
Pretty sure Blizzard can just say something legal-ese amounting to "We will license you to the rights to operate the Nostralrius server in return for one dollar per day. We retain the rights to renegotiate this price in the future." Protects their I.P. without shutting down the servers, and to be honest 365$ a year is nothing, some fan sites cost more than that to maintain.

In addition, the text you quoted Senare indicates that "...failure to prosecute infringers usually is evidence of a weak mark." I don't think there's a court of law in the U.S. that would consider World of Warcraft a weak trademark. Blizzard isn't going to lose their trademark rights because some fans set up a server using an outdated version of their own game.
 

P-89 Scorpion

New member
Sep 25, 2014
466
0
0
Chronologist said:
"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."

I don't believe this for a minute. They let Nostralrius exist for an entire year and it didn't cause Blizzard to implode. They could have just ignored it completely and we wouldn't even be having this conversation. Hell, I worked on Elder Scrolls digital roleplaying content and not only did we not get a C&D from Zenimax, they told us they approved of our efforts. Blizzard's excuse is lame and almost certainly a lie.
It takes time to set up legal preceding's a year is a short time in law firm land.
 

Totenkreuz

New member
Aug 31, 2013
56
0
0
It's hard to say this but Blizzard did the right thing when closing those servers from my perspective. It's their right to protect their work and if they were to start their own server instead, they would have to control it by their own standards. You need people working on it and I don't believe they would gain much of a profit from it.

Still, it's sad for those people who enjoyed the vanilla content.
Cheers.
 

Pirate Of PC Master race

Rambles about half of the time
Jun 14, 2013
596
0
0
RJ 17 said:
Translation:

"Blah Blah PR PR Spin Spin Spin Fuck you it's our game."

At least that's what I got out of that statement. :3
Sounds about right. Crushing private servers are where the money's at.
 

Thatguyky

New member
May 23, 2011
144
0
0
You know, I understand why Blizzard did this. They have every right to shut down a "pirate" server. That doesn't mean I like it though. I'm hoping their just sort of covering their butts by saying implementing classic servers is too much of a hassle, and someday down the road they will add them. I love Vanilla or BC WoW way more than current day WoW or "retail". Here's hoping Blizzard now realizes the mass amount of love for older WoW, and can make a profit off of dealing with Vanilla servers.

Basically, money talks, and Blizzard loves money. If Vanilla servers ever do become profitable, you better believe they will invest in one when they need to.
 

Bobular

New member
Oct 7, 2009
845
0
0
I understand why they closed the server, but I think that a classic server would be a really good idea. I've wanted to get back into MMOs for a while and WOW is one of the few I used to play still around, but the amount of expansions and that I wouldn't have anyone to play with really until I got the the current level cap put me off.
 

CritialGaming

New member
Mar 25, 2015
2,170
0
0
Okay let me break this down for you guys who don't understand why Blizzard bothered to shut down a private server.

It boils down to copyright law. Blizzard owns the Warcraft IP and in order to maintain the copyright err...rights on that IP, they must aggressively prevent other entities from using it. Thus they had to order the shut down of this private server, even if they personally didn't care that much. The reason behind it is that if they let this server exist for several years, then they run the risk of losing any right to claim their IP. Meaning that someone could, later on, remake and resell World of Warcraft Vanilla, and Blizzard couldn't stop it, because they hadn't defended the IP over such a length of time that legally it becomes "open source" and other people can then copy and sell it as if it was their own...to a certain extent.

Thus Blizzard is simply protecting it's ownership. They do not have a choice, they either use it or lose it. Basically.

Now that isn't the exact wording of how the law works, but it is a very very very basic summary of why they had to shut down Nostarius.



All that being said, will Blizzard ever make Vanilla servers available through their own cilent?

Short answer: Probably not.

Long Answer: By releasing "progression servers", or simply a pure "vanilla" server, they run into a couple of problems. Number one, will enough people actually sub and play on the old school servers to support development and maintenance costs? Well Nostarius had 850,000 registered users, so clearly at 15 bucks a month it would easily support a server. EXCEPT Nostarius only had 150,000 active users, let's call them subs. That while probably could still support the cost of a server might not be enough for Blizzard to care. Now I'm sure with an "Official" Vanilla server, more people would probably try it and play it on a regular basis, with the more advanced version of the game a mere click away how many people do you really think would stick around on it? Sure some people would come back for that experience alone, but wouldn't you rather Blizzard put more effort in trying to make the next expansion the best one ever?

Of course some would say no, Wow has gone to shit in many many ways and certainly it will never capture the playerbase like it once did ever again.

That brings me to Number two, taking development from Legion (or whatever the next expansion or patch will be by the time they decide to do this, IF they decided to do this) risks hurting further progress in WoW as a whole. If a huge chunk of people fall back in love with WoW playing on a Vanilla, what does that mean for future expansions and patches. Say they get a million or more players back, but those players only play on the Vanilla servers, why would they bother continuing development of future patches and expansions?

Ultimately it hurts their business model by doing Vanilla servers. Quite frankly there is not enough proof that people would now only RE-sub to WoW but also stick around to play Vanilla to really justify doing it. I hate Ion Hostakosis, but he does have a point when he says, "You think you want it....but you really don't." Sure a lot of people would log on and make a character just to see the world from a Vanilla perspective. But people also like to forget the colossal grind old school leveling was, how weak you were, how broken many of the game's areas were with quests you literally couldn't do until you grinding mobs and gains a few levels to unlock them, only to not gain enough experience for the next set of quests and forcing you to grind mobs to level again!

Vanilla 40-man leveling was great. But I seriously do not think that many people now could go back with a fresh start and grind their asses off for weeks or months to get to 60, just to experience that raiding again. I just seriously don't.

You think you want it....but you don't....not enough of you to justify it. Sorry. It sucks but that's the fucking truth and many of you know it.
 

Wuvlycuddles

New member
Oct 29, 2009
682
0
0
They were right to close down the private server but very wrong for not making their own vanilla/classic server. Right now vanilla servers are a bit like abandonware, no one is offering the service and people are willing to pay or even go play dodgy private servers. Also, if it really was so difficult to do, how come a small group of fucking enthusiasts can do it and a massive corporation can't?
 

Neonsilver

New member
Aug 11, 2009
289
0
0
I can understand that they had to close down the server. I'm no expert in copyright laws, but I can see how it could be problematic for a copyright holder if they don't do something about things like Nostalrius.

What is somewhat confusing to me is their statement that there isn't a way to grant an operating license to a pirate server. Couldn't they just give some kind of license to host a private server of vanilla wow, as long as they don't do it commercially.
Or sell a server application of vanilla wow that is only to be used unchanged and non commercially.