World of Warcraft Players Look For Nostalgia On Growing Private Servers

WoW, MMO, Blizzard, Word of Warcraft, Private Server
Character creation screen for one of the many private servers that offers its players race options not seen in any of the Blizzard released versions.

An Ever-Changing World of Memories

As Blizzard’s World of Warcraft works its way towards year number 13 of activity, fame and success, some players are yearning to go back to a time when things were far more different than the Azeroth of today. As an active on-again, off-again subscriber for the better part of the last 12 years, I myself have spent a nearly uncountable number of hours in the world Blizzard created and all the new ones the expansion packs offered. Having witness the changing of the game first hand, it had me (like many others) missing the one that I had first fallen in love with all those years ago. WoW today has truly changed in both content, pacing, experience and presentation. While it still maintains its dominance over all other MMO’s, too much change isn’t always the best thing.

The Rise of WoW Private Servers

In enter private servers.

Developed, ran, maintained and supported by multiple people in multiple locations, these servers work as either exact replicas or mod-influenced versions of different time periods in WoW’s past -all at no cost to the player. Usually followed with a quick account registration followed by a torrent download of the software, these servers make it easier than ever for players to access -while also being illegal to operate. 

Some of these servers, such as the Elysium Project, aims to give its player base that traditional “vanilla WoW” experience by altering little to nothing from the original 2004 release. That being said, multitudes of others exist with one simple Google search. Some, such as the multiple Warmane servers offer different expansions with different set parameters for leveling, gaining gold and even an instant max-leveled character for PvP only. Others offer things such as custom races and factions never before playable. These not only allow players the ability to experience the game they enjoy so much at a different point in its history, but also without the heavy cost of $15 a month.

An image of Onyxia, one of the most iconic fights in the vanilla days of World of Warcraft. Encounters like this are accessable in all of their former glory on multiple private servers.

Blizzard’s Response to Those Looking for Something Else

In 2016, Blizzard finally took a stand aimed at one of the most popular of these private servers in hopes to shut it down permanently -Nostalrius. Famed for ushering a massive player base that gave participants the original vanilla WoW experience, Nostalrius was giving fans of the game the opportunity to play a version of it that has been deemed as one of the most enjoyable in the game’s past. After a lawsuit filed by Blizzard saw the server shut down, a meeting between the two parties took place and Nostalrius announced they would be back. While not being the only server out there, Blizzard had hoped to show its community that it would not sit idly by. Because of the outcry for legacy servers and the amount of participation in their illegal counterparts, it’s surprising Blizzard hasn’t taken a step to develop their own. Perhaps when WoW is on its last leg, an announcement will come for them in hopes to bring players back one last time.

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Beard-clad, pirate-at-heart storyteller from the Pacific Northwest.
Currently Playing: Overwatch, Zelda: Breath of the Wind, Planet Coaster, Astroneer, SMITE, World of Warcraft (Private Server)
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dragon Age: Inquisition, Fable: The Lost Chapters, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
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