Ex-World of Warcraft dev Mark Kern explains why Blizzard should open vanilla servers

Ex-World of Warcraft dev Mark Kern explains why Blizzard should open vanilla servers

Last week the private vanilla World of Warcraft server Nostalrius closed its doors following legal action from Blizzard. Since the closure, old-school WoW fans have put their weight behind a petition to convince Blizzard that launching official legacy servers would be worth their while.

Over the weekend, ex-World of Warcraft developer Mark Kern joined the debate and got behind the petition stating that if it received enough support he would take it to Mike Morhaime.

We caught up with Mark to find out why he thinks Blizzard should be seriously looking at opening World of Warcraft legacy servers.

PC Invasion: It’s understandable that Blizzard wants private servers closed down, it’s always been their policy, so why do you think there’s been a push now for an older version of WoW.

Mark Kern: First, Blizzard has every legal right to shut down these servers, it’s true. They also have an interest in protecting their business, and I can’t fault them for that. But what I can say, is that I feel Blizzard could have handled the matter much better. In a time where gamers and developers can be so connected with each other in social media and the net, companies need to form strong communities and fandom. I would ask Blizzard to take a look at Nostalrius’s team and what they did out of pure passion, not greed, but passion, and find a way to acknowledge that. I think it’s possible, you can look at the way Valve treats fan projects and ends up hiring these teams and making great products with them. Valve channels gamer passion very well, and Blizzard could look to that as a potential model.

As for the demand, I think it’s always been there. 10 years is a long time for a game and for gamers, and as it stands today there is no way to play the original version of WoW or even TBC or WotLK versions of the mechanics. It’s like a whole new game. I think we’ve seen a huge number of gamers that are now saying “we want this, we want to experience this again.” Yes, it’s nostalgia, but its more than that…many veteran MMO players want to feel that challenge again, without the automation and the hand-holding. They want to feel that sense of accomplishment again when the modern version of WoW doesn’t give that to them. That’s what I’m hearing from WoW fans.

world of warcraft

Now all gone

PCI: Do you think there will be enough support for vanilla servers from the community? There were 800K registered accounts on Nostalrius but only 150,000 active players.

MK: Let’s put that in perspective. When we planned World of Warcraft, we only expected 1M sold and 500k active. And yet..and yet that was enough to bet the whole company on making WoW. It was the most expensive game Blizzard had ever made, and a huge risk. And yet, we would have been happy with 1M accounts back then. So I don’t understand this talk about 850k account not being worthwhile. That’s bunk. And you know what? With Blizzard officially behind legacy servers, you would see far more than 1M account re-activations. If a relatively unknown private server can reach 850k, then think what putting the Blizzard name behind it could do…far, far more.

As for 150k active, my understanding is that was measured over a 10 day window. The industry standard for measuring active is 30 days. I bet the 30 day number is higher, but even at 150k, during vanilla WoW we only expected around 450k active subscribers, and it would have been a huge success. Nostalrius is not that far off from what would have been a home run for us at the time. Of course, we ended up doing much, much more than that, but I’m talking about what we would have been thrilled with in the beginning and been very profitable.

PCI: As you worked on WoW in the early days you will appreciate the amount of work it took to launch the game. Do you think that a petition and your support can make Blizzard change their mind? When Blizzard says “no” it usually means “no”.

MK: Blizzard is great at ignoring a bad intersection until somebody gets run over, then they are real good at putting up traffic lights. I always used to say this at Blizzard. Blizzard has a lot of strong thinking, but they also prize making the right decision for the game in the end. If it can be shown that gamers want this, really, really want this, then I’m sure Blizzard will do what it always has and respond strongly and positively.

I don’t know if we can change their minds with 200k petitioners and dozen of streamers who are pledging to re-stream legacy/progression servers to their millions of fans. I can only bring this to Blizzard, as a gaming ambassador of sorts, and say “Hey, you really should hear these gamers out.” But I know they would be throwing away a great opportunity to connect with their fan-base if they didn’t acknowledge it. Even if they said no, getting an official answer and response would be far more than they’ve done so far, and ultimately be great for them. Gamers will know that Blizzard is listening after all. But right now, this radio silence is killing their community and their brand. From a business perspective, surely they can appreciate that.

PCI: Legacy servers have done well for the likes of Jagex but how much work would this actually be for Blizzard? Thinking about hardware, support, BattleNet compatibility etc. Would it even be possible now the game has moved on?

MK: I’ve heard that legacy servers have done well for Jagex and that, like Blizzard, they initially resisted the call to do so. But in the end, it was a smart decision for them and it reinvigorated their fan base. I would take that as a good data point that says this would be a smart move on Blizzard’s part, to put up legacy or progression servers and get their older fan base back into the game. I know I would play, and my friends would play again.

As for hardware, I’ll say this…what took hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gear to host the original WoW servers can now be done for far less. Server hardware is so much better now, storage is so much faster now. We have VMs and cloud servers that can be spun up and down on demand. The Nostralrius servers only cost a few hundred dollars a month to run. Bandwidth is so much cheaper. The hardware is not the issue. Support is not the issue. They have more GMs now than we ever planned for or need for vanilla WoW. They have better tools than when we launched, that’s not a real issue.

PCI: Based on say around 300K active users, what kind of infrastructure and support do you think Blizzard would need to provide? Would the cost just be too much to make it viable today?

MK: Again, I’ll say that we were only planning on 450k subs to make vanilla World of Warcraft a great success. So 300k? definitely worthwhile. We spent tens of millions betting on 450k subs, so why wouldn’t Blizzard agree to spending a few hundred thousand to prep the code and art and infrastructure to get 300k users back? Esp since I firmly believe that this will trigger a wave of returns to the game, including getting older players to play the new stuff. That’s what WoW needs, that’s what Blizzard needs to revitalize the game. It’s a no-brainer in my mind. It’s a great deal. Its an economic deal. It’s a community building, game-revitalizing deal. My advice is to jump into it with both feet.

World of Warcraft

The good old days of logging in.

PCI: Why do you think there’s a hankering to play in the old world still? Is it purely nostalgia or something else?

MK: Part of it is nostalgia, definitely, but I think that’s simplifying and dismissing some real trends that have worked against the game. World of Warcraft players is tired of the trivialization of the game mechanics in WoW. The loss of any sense of achievement. I’ve been working with @sodapoppintv to build a list of top streamers that have pledged to come back and stream WoW again if Blizzard does legacy/progression servers. He just finished a stream where he got to level 100 in a day, and level 87 or so in just 4-6 hours. He did it to make a point. Where is the satisfaction in that? Where is the fun? It’s too late for Blizzard to radically change current WoW to recapture that, but they can bring back older versions that do satisfy that need. And that is what I think is really driving this, the combination of a) more meaningful leveling and progression mechanics and b) nostalgia for the old content and game systems.

PCI: WoW has been steadily losing subscribers over the years so how do you think they could monetise the vanilla servers? A special pricing sub perhaps?

MK: You don’t have to do anything fancy. Just make them available as part of the core subscription and watch the players come back. 1M, 2M…these players will not only play vanilla World of Warcraft , they will player WoD and Legion and all the new content. The knock-on effect or ripple effect would be huge. It really that simple.

PCI: There is concern that vanilla servers would fragment the community. What’s your thoughts on that?

MK: What community? Cross realm, flying, LFG/LFR and garrisons have already made it into a single player game. You never see anyone anymore and the people you meet are soon forgotten in your next group. Old servers had community, we worked really hard to make sure it was a social experience. Old servers would bring back community, bring back friends, and be a far “stickier” experience that will retain players longer, because social bonds are what keep people re-subbing and playing.

PCI: What’s your take on the World of Warcraft we see today on the live servers?

I don’t play WoW anymore, I haven’t really since WotLC and the beginning of Cat. But I can see the simplification and streamlining to reach a wider audience has cost Blizzard something. It’s cost them long term retention, put them into a content trap where the only thing worth playing is the just the latest expansion, and how that only last 3 weeks. I hear this from WoW fans everywhere I go. They all say the same thing, that they left WoW because of the way the game has been oversimplified. Now, there are millions that are playing now that do enjoy this streamlined experience, because we all have less time these days. But these veteran players, the ones who left, will only come back if the challenge is restored. Legacy/Progression servers are a good way to do that.

The World of Warcraft vanilla petition, which will be put forward to Blizzard, has almost reached its goal of 200K goal and Mark is encouraging any WoW players who would like to go back to the old world to get their name down. Mark can be reached via his Twitter account.


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  • NyZtan0

    Oh my… This interview is SO ON POINT. Everything that is described here is true about how the fans look at the current expansion and previous expansions all the way from Cata – WoD. Vanilla was hardcore, TBC was hardcore, WoTLK was hardcore, atleast Ulduar was, ICC was fun too. The casual train started with the start of Cata and flying mounts in Eastern kingdom & Kalimdor… With all of my heart I truly hope that legacy servers will become a reality and not a fantasy…

    • BattousaiHBr

      ‘casualization’ started in wrath. this perception that it started in cata is just a biased opinion, usually from people that enjoyed wrath (because of the theme) and dont want to admit it was already the beginning of the decadence.

      one thing to make a distinction, however, is not that the game necessarily became less skillful, but rather, as pointed out in the interview, it has lost a lot of its RPG and immersion aspects. it no longer feels fulfilling to level up or do simple chores because they are so trivialized and fool-proof, which is ironic since the pve and pvp top-level endgame are just as challenging as always, if not more.

      blizzard needs to get their shit together and stop sacrificing immersion and meaningful progression just to cater to the casual audience. even pvp, which is much more balanced now than it has been in the past, doesnt feel enjoyable because things have become too streamlined and the metas are boring and unengaging. in pve the content available is really good, but there’s simply too few of it. WoD in particular has been ridiculously rushed and there are many aspects of it that were obviously scrapped and right now we are facing the biggest drought in content ever seen until legion releases. also the e-shop has been more and more sacrificing amazing rewards that could potentially be awarded in game in favor of microtransactions, milking the players.

      the company is becoming more and more disgusting as the years go by, currently the only games which i had the pleasure to play that arent heading in the gutter due to their stupid decisions are diablo 3, which despite the horrendous launch has been getting better and better ever since the reaper of souls expansion, and overwatch, which is for all intents and purposes an amazing game and so far their greed hasnt reached up yet (if you can swallow the arguably costy initial price, that is).

      • Confused

        Leveling was once nearly as enjoyable as end-game content. You make such a good point. Some people actually like leveling and immersion as much or more than end-game. When the game lost that, it lost me too.

        • BattousaiHBr

          this kinda makes me sad though because people take 1 or 2 things they dont like and generalize it as being done to the whole game. for instance, i’m sick of hearing people say that “wow has become so easy” or that “wow has become a game for casuals” but that is just simply overgeneralizing to say the least. SOME aspects of the game have, for sure, i just wish people stopped labbeling stuff because of 1 thing in the kit they dont like.
          balance for one has been a topic of heated discussion ever since the game came out, and since then they managed to fix a LOT of balance problems. some specs werent even viable back in vanilla, let alone subpar. in pve, you either were a prot warrior or a holy paladin or you picked a different class. blizzard managed to fix that (or at least greatly alleviate it) but no one seems to ever remember that.

          like, im totally fine if people dislike something because the main aspects they enjoy arent present, but at least have the decency of understanding (and sometimes admitting) that that is what they’re looking for instead of blaming the whole package. i cannot express the number of times i got into arguments because of this.

      • indelible

        Casualisation started in TBC rather than Wrath, although it did hit it’s stride with Wrath. When they dropped 40-man raids and gimped the High Warlord/Grand Marshal grind, that’s when things really started to get casual. The apex of casual has been reached; WoW could only get more casual if they converted it into a Facebook game.

        The game DID get less skill-intensive as it got more casual. Every aspect of the game has been simplified, and simplified again, and simplified again, and in doing so layer and layer of depth has been removed, and this necessarily results in a “race to the bottom” in regards to the skill requirement. This really hit point when big-name raiding guilds started falling apart; does anyone remember the days when a world first boss kill in World of Warcraft got you a page 1 article on IGN and PC Gamer? WoW doesn’t make those kinds of headlines these days, because a World First doesn’t mean much these days.

        As for the rushing of expansions, there really is no excuse for it given the huge amounts of money the game pulls in. If I were a developer or designer on WoW now, I would be ashamed of myself on a daily basis. WoW doesn’t feel like a game built with heart and soul any more; it feels like a game made in a Chinese sweatshop. The team seems more like they’re engaging in a frivolous act of “let’s see how many boxes we can tick” rather than “let’s tick the boxes we think will add more to the mix”. Blizzard think the game is bleeding subs because it’s got to and “End of Life” phase; that’s totally untrue. It’s bleeding subs for the same reason every failing MMO bleeds subs: it’s a rubbish game and people are slowly realising they don’t actually want to play it any more.

        Diablo 3 still lacks any depth, and is nothing more than a “click-loot” grind. Even the harder modes offer no real challenge, as the game is set up to consistently outgear you as you move through it. They totally messed up the tone of Diablo 3 as well; it’s too childish, and they Chris Metzen has no idea how to write outside of the horrid and shallow niche he has made for himself, and the consequence of that is that he’s managed to aid in the destruction of three of the greatest gaming franchises the world has ever known.

        Frankly, I think Blizzard’s woes now are down to two three things: the personal greed of higher ups at the studio, the arrogant belief that they always know best and do right even when they don’t ( case in point: the failure of Diablo 3 was only begrudgingly placed at the feet of the original Game Director, and even then they just moved him to another senior position on a different game ( which implies they didn’t think they got it wrong at all, but were simply capitulating to player uproar ) ), and… lastly… breathtaking and unbelievable incompetence ( which is a crazy thing to think may be true of a studio that produce three of the greatest franchises and some of the most acclaimed games ever made ).

        • BattousaiHBr

          glad you ignored most of the things i said just to say what you think is true, which is false because if you take the time to read my post i actually adress all of that.

          • indelible

            You clearly didn’t read my post. And I know who Venruki is. I’m not sure what you’re game is at the moment; you seem to just be picking fights with me because you’re bitter about the other convo we had ;( Get over it.

            Where Venruki’s position is flawed is that he projects HIS opinion on to everyone else in attempting to talk for the entire playerbase. I can tell you that – having been part of top tier guilds – MOST top tier guilds were NOT asking Blizzard for most of the things that they put in the game; quite the opposite. Most top tier guilds consistently pointed out that in casualising the game Blizzard would drive competitive PVEers away, hollowing the community and triggering subscription declines.

            And that’s precisely what happened 🙂 Anyway, you’re insufferable so I’m out.

            • BattousaiHBr

              well if you’re been a member of a top-tier guild i’d like to ask you of what ranking global-wide, because if its server wide then me too was part of a few.
              ven isnt just your run-on-the-mill player, he’s a world top player, and his equivalent would be world-top guilds.
              i dont know how much of pve progression you followed in these guilds but all of them had a ton of alts and im pretty sure most of them asked for the same things ven asked, to make them easier to equip and level these same alts, so THEN they can focus on the interesting endgame stuff (raids and arena).

              im not bitter about the “convo”, i just fucking hate stupidity and ignorance, especially when its en masse.

    • Crispian11

      The casualization did NOT start with cata, it started with wrath. Cata actually tried to make the game harder at first, I played the beta and the new dungeons and heroics were pretty brutal, and it stayed that way until launch, then players that were used to the extremely easy heroics in wrath started to complain, they even nerfed the raids because they were “too hard”. Cata was a bad expansion but not because it “made the game easier”, because that’s simply not true.

      • indelible

        ” they even nerfed the raids because they were “too hard” ”

        It’s hilarious when you think about it, given that C’Thun – arguably the greatest encounter Blizzard has ever produced – was affectionately known as “The Destroyer of Guilds”. Back in the day, being challenge – and even pushed to collapse – was something raid groups and guilds actually enjoyed.

        Weirdly, Blizzard seem to forget that WoW picked up the vast majority of its millions during the vanilla days 🙂 There’s a reason for that. If WoW were released in the state it is now, I doubt it’d be as successful.

        • BattousaiHBr

          c’thun wasnt hard, it was overtuned.
          it was actually impossible to defeat him in his first iteration, and that was on purpose. they didnt properly beta test it and didnt want to risk it being too easy at first so its better to start impossible and then nerf accordingly than starting from the other end.

          • indelible

            Showing how much you know ( or don’t, as the case may be ).

            He wasn’t over-tuned; he was bugged. The first change they made was to bug fix the encounter, but it was still too hard for most guilds. The stat nerf to the C’Thun encounter came AFTER the bug fix, and 1 night AFTER Nihilum got the first kill on him ( they flasked the entire raid, if you remember, which was a new strat at the time ). C’Thun is widely regarded as one of the hardest raid encounters Blizzard have ever put in the game, and Blizz nerfed C’Thun several times ( more than any other encounter they put in the game ). So your claims are, yet again, the claims of a moron.

            • BattousaiHBr

              you’re actually right about this one. from what i knew there was no bug in cthun and it was just overtuned, but apparently there really was a bug (some people say it was still doable and raiders were just really bad or didnt do class stacking, but im not sure about those claims) http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/745579-Why-was-C-thun-pre-nerf-quot-Impossible-quot

              and even so, no, cthun was nowhere near the hardest boss in wow. even heroic lich king or yogg 0 were a lot harder. you can pretty much contest to this with any top 10 hardest bosses on youtube https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=hardest+raid+bosses

            • BattousaiHBr

              hey, coindicentally, i was watching a stream and people brought up this exact topic of hardest bosses in wow, and apparently archimonde (the last boss from the current raid content) is probably hardest boss ever, or at least before guilds got enough gear (like the legendary ring) to help with the dps checks.

  • Darkmoon

    This guy is my new HERO. Every point is ON POINT (excuse the pun lol). We need legacy servers. The community needs them, the fans – the HARDCORE fans need it. I would pay any amount of money for a legitimate blizzard vanilla server.

    • Apav

      I like Mark Kern’s simplistic model of just including legacy servers with the subscription cost. Technically it would be a loss of profit (increased expense but product costs the same), but I’m sure they’d make up for that loss and many times over just from bringing back veterans and newer players who want to experience the old content as it was. These players would almost assuredly play Legion as well, since both are included in the cost, but also because they compliment each other. Come back to WoW because you can relive the glory days on a legacy server? Great! Then lets say after a while the magic starts to wear off. You’ve gotten used to modern gaming, so playing on a legacy server gets boring or tedious for you (this won’t happen to everyone, but definitely some), or maybe life got busy and you want a more casual experience on your own time. Or maybe you just want to experience the new content. No problem, go play Legion. Then after playing Legion for a while you start to see why you left WoW again, whatever your reasons were for hating modern WoW. You miss the challenge and sense of server community, or you never finished the old raids. No problem, hop back on your character you started on a legacy server!

      Maybe this makes sense to only me, but this made me think about how as a kid I would love switching between the hot tub and the cold pool in the summer. Something about the dramatic change in temperature was really refreshing to me, I used to do it all the time. This is similar in a way. It “traps” players and almost guarantees most of them will be renewing their subs for months to come, if not buying future expansions. I don’t know how feasible it would be for legacy servers for all the expansions (or at least the first three), but I cannot see them losing money on vanilla legacy servers.

      Of course this is Activision Blizzard, and even if they did implement legacy servers, we would probably have to pay something like double a month to be able to play on legacy servers. I don’t know if that’s okay because I’m sure many people wouldn’t care if they were ripped off, so long as they could play vanilla WoW legally.

      • If legacy servers only make 100.000 people to re-subscribe to the world of warcraft game (retail + legacy) for 12 months, we’re talking about 15.6M USD additional revenue (based on $12.99/month). I am not sure how this can “technically” be “a loss of profit”. Yes, legion and the movie will make a lot more people re-subscribe. But they are also far more expensive and subscriber churn rates are going to be higher. The rate of profit (revenue / cost) is likely to be higher with legacy servers than with a new expansion…

        • Apav

          I said technically a loss of profit since in most cases increasing expenses to bundle another product with their main product for no additional cost will reduce profits, and is a bad business move, unless it somehow greatly attracts a large amount of purchases. This is an extra special case where they could get away with adding legacy servers at no additional cost because there is such a huge demand.

          Of course Blizzard is a huge company, they probably know that this will bring them revenue. The question for them is will they bring in more revenue by allocating their resources into some other venture, and if they can somehow increase profits with this move even more.

          • Infidel

            If some intelligent dudes running a small server can generate such a market, given a big company like Blizzard, I’d imagine they would find an even larger market especially if they market it a little. Blizzard has a slick marketing team, so they could spice up the announcement a bit to generate more interest maybe add some server event type stuff too to get people excited. There are numerous possibilities on this end.

            The fact remains though as the data has shown via various private servers and Nost Begins a decent sized market for Legacy Wow exists why not tap into it. I’d wager if the official company got behind Legacy servers many people on other private servers would jump ship since the new server has the blessing and backing of Blizzard, so no one has to worry anymore about their server getting shut down, also the service and stability of an official server can’t compare to a private one.

            As to an existing product from, my time on Nost Begins I’d wager a large number of the player base quit Wow and don’t have active subscriptions anymore, so creating Legacy servers would bring back customers as well, who are not interested in the expansion content of Wow. I’d imagine a number of veterans would re-up as well due to wanting to either relive or experience first hand the Vanilla experience. Then there is the P.R win for the company, since shutting down Nost Begins upset a number of people.

      • Floveet

        You theory totally make sense. Would require some user testing but that would be totally me.

        Changing on the same game different experiences.
        That would be amazing !

        • Apav

          Thanks! I think it would really help the longevity of the game, which they seem to care about since they keep adding expansions.

  • Yavan

    Many thanks to Mark Kern for supporting our community.

    What I feel is most important in this interview, is that Mark Kern, the WoW:Vanilla Team Leader, expertly refuted every single argument that has been brought forth by MMO Champion trolls, most of them on the payroll of Blizzard, against Vanilla WoW servers ran by Blizzard.

    MMO Champion is the biggest WoW fansite and has got “ties” with Blizzard. Blizzard employees read these forums and post in there with aliases at least since the time that Greg Street was working with Blizzard.

    • BattousaiHBr

      tinfoil hat much?

      rather than a conspiracy, isnt it just more believable to think they are fanboys who cant think it through objectively?
      im not proposing anything radical here. there are fanboys literally everywhere, even hateboys who bash on things without an actual good reason (this one is you).

      • indelible

        Actually it’s not tin-foil hat stuff. I used to work for Curse, and the same thing happened over there ( WoW employees posting on aliases to avoid direct ties with the company ( so if they say something stupid, they won’t get fired ) ). The views some of these people tended to express sounded like corporate double-speak a lot of the time, rather than personal opinion. It happens with other studios; I know ANet had some issues with staff and community sites at one point in time.

        Also, I really wouldn’t class Yavan as a hate boy. Infact, I’d say he’s in the vanguard of hardcore Blizzard fans, given that he was part of the Nost community and opted to play ( arguably ) Blizzard’s most hardcore game to date ( requiring significant amounts of time on his behalf ). He’s a true fanboy, free-thinking, open-minded, and passionate about his hobby and the company who made it possible. What more could you want in a fanboy?

        • BattousaiHBr

          first of all even if every blizzard employee got PAID by blizzard to give good reviews under other aliases (which, by the way, is a crime on its on and there’s no way it’d stay hidden for too long), do you really think them alone could outweight the entirety of the community that posts on these forums that dont get paid to do so?

          secondly, as you put out so well yourself, he’s a fanboy. but he’s not a blizzard fanboy, he’s a vanilla wow fanboy, which currently has more afiliations with the nostalrius devs than blizzard themselves, not to mention blizzard actively destroying the object of his fanboyism, so yeah his judgement is probably not the most objective when it comes to this subject in particular.

          • indelible

            I don’t know where you got the word “paid” from, or the idea that either myself or Yavan have claimed that Blizzard employees get paid to give good reviews. No one said that, apart from you. Re-read the posts; we said that Blizzard has ties with larger fansites and that Blizzard employees post under aliases when interacting with these sites.

            Vanilla WoW is a Blizzard product. Whether it’s a current Blizzard product is neither here nor there; it IS a Blizzard product, and Yavan is a huge fan of it. He’s a Blizzard fanboy. Just because he prefers vanilla over WoD or Legion doesn’t mean he’s suddenly not a fan of Blizzard or their work.

            You’re a moron and I’m not talking to you anymore. There are better ways to waste my time.

            • BattousaiHBr

              OP specifically said “most of them on the payroll of Blizzard” so there’s that.

              also, you explanation to my second point actually doesnt make sense. blizzard destroyed what he loved and therefore he hates blizzard.

            • lamk123

              That quote you point out does not indicate they were specifically paid to post,nothing to indicate Blizzard asked them …as paid employees to do this…. but simply that they are Blizzard employees…You seem to read too much into that which is not there…indelible is correct…you are a moron and there are better ways to waste time.

            • indelible

              That’s a weak justification for bringing up the notion of “paying for posts/reviews”, or whatever it is you were trying to hoodwink into the conversation.

              And no; just… no. It’s entirely possible to be critical of something whilst still very much being a fanboy. If you like Blizzard products just because they are Blizzard products, you aren’t a fanboy; you’re a zealot. If you can explain in depth why you like ( or dislike ) a Blizzard product, have a complex and deep opinion on Blizzard’s portfolio and follow the company doggedly, you are a fanboy. The latter clearly applies to me, and it clearly applies to the OP.

            • BattousaiHBr

              just because you give *some* explanation to your reasoning, doesnt mean that reasoning is not a fallacy.
              also, just to make sure, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy

            • indelible

              Jesus… You’re really bad. Stop. Seriously. TeamSpeam might break if you keep making us laugh so heartily.

            • BattousaiHBr

              glad your stupidity makes you happy.
              just make sure never to vote.

  • Suomen media on ostettu

    Its good we have a ” Big Gun ” with us!

    Its a very good point that Blizzard took a greedy path after WotLK. Majority of the playerbase in WoW always was the ” Casuals “, people who was not necessarily so into the end game raiding or competition. They were people who was enjoying the game in all its buetiful aspects to offer. The game was challenging, everything was heavily time consumptive and the game encouraged you to be social as that was a great way to save valuable time. But … We actually also re-presented the ” Hardcore ” people in this sence, the “old school gamers”, because we didnt want stuff to be given or granted for no effort put into it. We, the majority were the people with less time to invest in the game, we couldnt competitively raid or rush the content and this made us ” Casuals “, the ” Silent Majority “.

    Everything changed after WotLK, since Blizzard took ALL the STEPS to come in direction, where the game was simplified so that the ” Casual ” population would get into the end game, as the people who were being competitive. But we never asked for that ! We enjoyed the challenge, and Blizzard took it away from us.

    There are literally millions of HEAVY DUTY BLIZZARD FANS out there, who still are big fans. Theres just no product available for them, on wich they would pay for. But we would.

    And one more thing to add about ” Will the people play the new content aswell? ” : I am a very good example of a ” casual ” gamer from Vanilla, TBC and WotLK expansions where because of my school, military service and work i was UNABLE to invest the amount of time required in completing some of the raids.

    I am still desperate to go and clear those raids so i can ” Fill my lore “. Theres literally no chance for me to go into the WoW Today, because i have not yet finished my business with Kel’Thuzad, Illidan, Kil’Jaeden or Lich King. It just doesnt feel right, but i would definetly try the new expansions, after i am done with the earlier ones!

  • korval

    WotLC made me chuckle. 🙂

    • BattousaiHBr

      wrath of the lich ching?

  • korval

    I like to think of retail as casual friendly and vanilla as hardcore friendly. Both games will cater to different tastes. They can coexist peacefully. Blizzard in the end will profit from both.

    • Norter Johannes

      15$ is too much if you can get it for free on private servers and most of the people earn 160-200$/month in East Europe … but I would revive my account if that would be a bonus option.

      • Suomen media on ostettu

        The main game is almost dead already, and it is currently dying. Most of the people are ” Raid logging ” in the main game nowadays, because theres no ” real content ” beside the raids.

        There are also alot of content droughts in the game. It would be simply stunningly wize decicion to open servers with previous expansions as an answer to that, people would be kept entertained.

        When you say ” hardcore players clear the content in one month and go back to legacy servers”, thats exactly what happenes even to this date, BUT there are no legacy servers. These people are raid loggers who play the game just because they ” have to ” in order to maintain their reputation.

      • mix

        I would pay $15. Hell i paid them $15 a month ever since december 2005 through like december 2014.
        I feel like my money from cata/mop/wod was a waste…but my vanilla days were definitely worth the $15 a month. Its an experience ill never forget and reliving it for free in nostalrius was definitely too good to be true.

      • korval

        $15 is a small price to pay for peace of mind knowing that your account, your character, and your progression won’t one day be shut down; which is precisely what was going on for Nostalrius players.

    • I wouldn’t but I’d pay 5-10. Strong preference on the lower end.

      • knights_who_say_ni

        I suspect a lot of people on nost were there because it was free to play. Too many people want to freeload or pay a small amount, like 5 per month.

  • Jake Boller

    I love this guy. He nailed it right on the head with this interview. I hope we get official Vanilla servers. If not, I’ll just continue not playing retail, and instead playing private servers.

  • Yasur

    “Soda just finished a stream where he got to level 100 in a day, and level 87 or so in just 4-6 hours.” He got 100lvl in ~5hrs and then he got full pvp gear in like 1hr 😀

    • Jake Boller

      I watched that. Man it’s disgusting what WoW has turned into.

    • mix

      Rofl full pvp gear took months of constant pvping back in vanilla.
      ..when i got my rank 10 pvp gear and title around the summer of 2006, i was so fking proud. People complemented me and wanted to pvp with me. Being a tauren warrior with that huge pvp armor on with TuF made me feel like a badass. I lived for those wow moments and probably the axhievement i was most proud of in my wow life. I did reach rank 11 for the mount, unfortunately i burnt out and gave up in the race for HWL.

  • “PCI: There is concern that vanilla servers would fragment the community. What’s your thoughts on that?
    MK: What community?”

    • Infidel

      First rule of Barrens chat don’t talk about Barrens chat. Barrens Chat there has never been a bigger hive of scum and villainy, well besides the Ultima Online community which made Dead Wood look like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. I’m sure many former U.O players went on to become great Con artists, and got jobs on Wall Street. Bernie Madoff would still be free if he played Ultima Online and learned from some of those scammers. They turned scamming into an art form.

  • Jack Pott

    Great interview!

  • Version_8

    I’m one of those 3 week Xpac only WoW players. If Blizz made legacy servers, I’m down to resub. The new “easy mode” WoW is why I quit in the first place. I miss the community. I don’t miss farming my Garrison all day, not knowing anyone in my guild. I’m no longer interested in the game, but I will be if I can play Vanilla!

  • Aleksander Wilhelmsen

    I’m well into my 30s and stopped playing regularly just before MoP and on and off since then. And the decline is immense. Some makes the argument that I’m older and the game is old, but I still love WoW and but every time I re-sub I feel the absence of the community. Just look at any realm forum, it’s all recruitment posts, no banter – no nothing.

    I would pay whatever the cost to actually be able to play a game where you have to interact with other players, not jump zones before you finish them and not learning abilities automatically.

    I probably won’t have the same feeling as I did 12 years ago, but at least I’d be playing a game that means something.


    • mix

      Im in my 30s too. I started wow back in 2006 and just like you..quit around mop.

      You say it wont be the same as before but when i played nostalrius….it really felt like you were back in the old days. I remember back in 06 when i would buy snacks and sodas to get ready for a friday night of gaming, no job and no worries
      Now i work a full time job but when i played nostalrius i literally went to the store after work on fridays to buy some beer and snacks just to play nostalrius haha.

      • Timo Hautanen

        Same here. 30++ age. friday, beer, snacks, kids to bed & Nostalrius.
        Also thought that you don’t get the same feel as back in 05–>, but also noticed that #youthinkyouDON’TbutyouDO. Only difference was that this time round I actually knew what I did. But the feeling of difficulty, achievement, belonging to a REAL community etc etc, it was ALL still there. The feeling of “OMG-THAT’S-BADASS” after getting gear updates, the pure joy after several wipes in Geddon, the sarcastic laughing in TS after Ony pull going wrong getting all healers dead… All the things that made vanilla so great were still there.

        I wouldn’t think twice would I resub retail or not if Blizz would do legacy servers. Hell, I’d be happy even if Blizz would charge 5$ / expansion over the monthly fee. I’d still be playing Vanilla, TbC & WotLK.

        • Infidel

          I’m in the same boat. The older MMORPG crowd who remembers the community interaction in games like Ever Quest, Ultima Online, and the first generation MMORPG games wants depth to their MMORPG, phat loot has long lost it’s luster. We play for the destination and the fun of playing with other people. From my time on Nost Begins, I experienced this, and it was quite enjoyable.
          I’d argue even with the newer generation of MMORPG players phat loot is starting to lose it’s luster. A lesson for anyone designing a new MMORPG here, bring back more community interaction, and also make the content challenging it’s called massive multiplayer for a reason. A big part of the fun of MMORPGs is trying to overcome the challenge with your group. If I want single player and phat loot upgrades 24/7 I’ll play Diablo 3.

  • Federico Malagutti

    Give us back Vanilla Blizzy! I’m waiting since the release of WOTLK the legacy servers and nothing, I hope to see something with the Twink stop level options, but the game was too much different. I’ve played so much wow but this last 6 years were so sad. Give back “our” Vanilla!
    A big thx to Mark Kern.

  • andreyue

    You guys do know this is the person responsible for the fail FireFall was, right? He got fired from the company he worked on for basically torching the investors money.


    • Gallahorn

      I played firefall from a very early alpha and was a paying supporter of the game but i stopped playing it a short bit after Mark left becouse the game changed to shit soon after. They dumbed shit down made it way to easy and removed allt he fun things.

    • Joa

      It seems you are one of those people who never played Firefall who just parrot the latest anti-legacy bullshit coming from Blizzards fanboy mouthpieces.

      Firefall sat at its launch peak of players for the entire time Mark was running the game. It was only after he was fired, and the first patch without him around came that player counts plummeted.

  • Niyari

    doesn’t sound like the thought process of a crazy person to me.

  • RR

    Mark Kern is by far the worst person you can have advocating for you or your cause. After the whole Firefall debacle no gaming company will take him seriously, he doesn’t care about WoW or Vanilla Servers, he’s trying to smear off some of the poop that synonymous with his name. The only way to do that is generate buzz by siding with fans that are passionate about a cause. He’s like the ugly fat male Kim Kardashian of the gaming industry. People listen to him but not because he has anything relevant to say but rather because he likes to cause drama anywhere he goes.

  • John

    go spam blizz FBs, twitter, make them emails etc… LET THEM HEAR US!!!! or we fail again

    • Infidel

      Companies exist to make money, and one can give very good arguments why making Legacy Servers is a wise financial decision. Maybe if enough people can put up a convincing argument on why it’s logical and why they’d benefit in the long run they will listen. As I wrote earlier I’d even pay to download the original game again and I’d reactive my subscription. They could also follow the playbook Nost did about slowly releasing content up to the TBC expansion which I’d also repurchase besides paying for a subscription. My time on Nost begins was a real blast, and the most fun I’ve had in a game since the glory days of Ever Quest and back when I played WOW during the TBC expansion. The vast majority of the market for legacy servers are people like me who have no interest in newer WOW, but who would happily pay a subscription fee for old WoW content, or even buy the game again since I lost my copy.

  • It’s scary how Mark summarizes my thoughts. LFG/LFR/X-Realm are extremely bad workarounds for failing at maintaining healthy realm populations. I returned from a break on the day LFG was released and couldn’t believe what Blizzard had done there. My first though was: “This is great – but it will kill the community”. But the feature was there and of course I used it. The experience was actually worse. Not only it removed the need to not be anti-social – it was the craziest catch-up mechanic ever put into the game. It felt like using a cheat. I geared my feral druid and my tankadin to be ready for raiding on a single weekend – all by myself without the help of friends. Dungeons back to back. One every 10-15 minutes. On Sunday evening I cleared the TotGC raid with my old raid group. Twice. This is when things started to go downhill (pretty inline with the subscriber statistics…). Today, the game is a single player game. LFG is even worse – when someone is too slow or too bad, they get vote-kicked. No explanation. Nothing. There’s no benefit from socializing or being a team player whatsoever. This is why I feel like I am surrounded by jerks regardless whether I am doing casual or rated PvP or casual or serious PVE. Why am I still playing when I think the game is (a) too easy and (b) there’s no community anymore? Well, I guess I love the game. I’ve been inactive a lot over the years, always returned. My subscription has been active most of the time. At the moment I am not subscribed, but will most probably subscribe again for legion – and for the xpac after that.
    If Blizzard came up with legacy realms no way I’d cancel my subscription. I’d play a legacy expansion when I feel there’s nothing to do for me on retail or I need a break from the World of Jerks.

  • Tyler Stone

    people still play the game because other games suck not because they enjoy WoD its just a decent time sink I highly doubt anyone actually enjoys this simplified version of the game compared to the older versions

  • mix

    Holy crap….when he said that the developers did it out of passion and not greed….i was blown out of my mind. So fking true, the Nost team really did use their own money, time, and effort to bring back the good ole days and they did really well. Mark Kern hit a home run with this interview, especially when he was talking about the social connection you had with other players.

    I wish Blizzard could read this interview. I feel like Mark Kern is our only hope of getting legacy servers.

  • Searlicus

    Come on Blizz just take my money!

  • Srikanth

    Excellent interview..i hope blzzard listens…

  • Nathan

    While these points are valid, too bad Mark Kern is a giant asshole…

  • Look

    Simple solution for blizzard: Enable Legacy server option when you have the latest x-pac added to your account. That way, you won’t be losing money from people who decide to dedicate all of their time to their legacy toons.

  • David Moe

    Ey! sodapoppin did 1-100 in 4 hours… not 1-87 in 4-6 hours

  • Bobby Barker

    LFG Deadmines, PST!

    • Infidel

      STV was a blast too. I went away from my time leveling in STV with a thousand yard stare due to days of intense jungle combat and being paranoid about charlies in the jungle. STV on Nost Begins was like being transported back in time to Vietnam during the Tet offensive.

      • Bobby Barker

        Dont forget the epic blackrock spire chaos on PvP servers, back when UBRS was the only instance people had on farm status!

        • Infidel

          Then who could forget the Barrens. The Barrens chat is like the bar at the end of the world. Fights outside UBRS and BRS where you had 20 on 20 world pvp fights or larger were quite fun. Then who can forget the skirmishes in South Shore, or fighting over Earth Elemental spawns in the badlands to get your level 40 mount money. Burning Steppes was nuts too in regards to world PVP. I remember getting over 200 kills in a day of leveling there. AOE farming lashers in Darth Maul East I turned into an art form as well. My poor gnome mage in his preraid BIS gear 🙁 Doing Scarlet Monestary again and Uldaman was a blast too, for some reason I’ve really enjoyed those instances.

  • damaster

    The petition is our gun, and Mark Kern is our ammunition. Here’s to hoping for the best.

  • Mitt Zombie

    WoW is just so terrible now and the next super rushed expansion looks even worse.

  • MightyMoo

    “What community? Cross realm, flying, LFG/LFR and garrisons have already made it into a single player game. You never see anyone anymore and the people you meet are soon forgotten in your next group. Old servers had community, we worked really hard to make sure it was a social experience. Old servers would bring back community, bring back friends, and be a far “stickier” experience that will retain players longer, because social bonds are what keep people re-subbing and playing.”

    This right here is the nail on the head for WoW today. This is what made me drop my sub. I tried picking it up in WoD but it was even more of a train wreck then what it was in Cataclysm in this regard.

    Vanilla servers would be a nice first step in restoring community in WoW. The next step would be developing current content and revamping previous content to follow along that design paradigm.

    The sad part to me outside of the community reason is Blizzard said they don’t have the code anymore. Yet those people who ran the private server they recently shut down built a popular vanilla experience without Blizzard internal resources and financing. To me that is a big mark of shame on Blizzard since they stated they doubled their development team since vanilla.

    • Joa

      The code excuse is just their line of bullshit to spin away any desires for legacy servers. You can’t past CS 101 without proper versioning, similar to an internal git. If this billion dollar company doesn’t have internal versioning going back, then they are really the among the highest echelon of incompetent developers.

      • Ray Dunn

        Im sure the guys at nos will lend them a copy of the code lol

      • Infidel

        I think they are afraid it will cut into any new expansion pack revenue, but the fact is the vast majority of the pro Legacy server community are people who will never buy any new expansion content, and who no longer have active subscriptions. The people interested in Legacy content are largely a different market. Releasing Legacy content will have a few positive effects for Blizzard. One it will bring back a lot of people who no longer have active subscriptions, and many of whom may not even own the game anymore like me, who would pay to download it again and subscribe to Wow again, thus Blizzard taps into a different market, and/or keeps subscribers who would play Legacy content again, but are bored with Wow at the moment. It’s also a P.R win for their company since a lot of people are irritated at their decision to shut down Nost Begins.

    • Infidel

      That was one of the more enjoyable aspects of Nost Begins. There was a community and I even got that old magical MMORPG feeling again which is rare. It wasn’t nostalgia either, since I didn’t start WOW until the TBC expansion was out. The reason people play MMOPGs at least I do is the community it’s quite a lot of fun when one has a half decent one. Phat loot isn’t the reason the older MMORPG crowd plays MMORPGs, and I think even the newer crowd is searching for more depth, which older Wow had.

      Anyone who played original Everquest and even Ultima Online can attest to this Granted Ultima Online was an online version of the show Dead Wood, but many people played the game because of that. Actually Dead Wood aint got nothing on the Ultima Online community. I think even Al Swearengen would meet his match there but I digress.

  • Sailor Azeroth

    I love all the people failing to realize why blizzard isn’t making legacy servers.

    • Infidel

      How many more expansions do you think they are going to release given the age of the product and the declining interest in subscriptions? I’d wager not many. Also if that’s the case why shut down private servers to begin with given that the vast majority of the community are people who will neither buy any new expansion content or subscribe to newer WOW? The market for private vanilla servers is largely people like me who have no interest in current WOW. They’d also keep people leaving current WOW who would keep up their subscription due to the Legacy content, and attract new ones. I’d pay for the game again or the option to download it as well as subscribe for instance, and I’d imagine quite a few people would. The capital needed to create said servers and run them is quite low. Nost Begins which was very stable and quite populated proves this point. It’s also a P.R win given the number of potential customers upset about the decision to close down Nost Begins.

      • Sailor Azeroth

        So you fail to realize exactly what will happen?

        Patches, updates, balance.

        Like I’ve said, Nostalgia is the strongest of drugs.

        • Infidel

          All of these things mentioned were handled quite efficiently by a very small team with limited resources, so I really don’t see the issue. Nostalgia had nothing to do with it, I never played WOW before TBC. You seem to fail to realize that there is a large market for Legacy Wow and this market is largely made up of customers like me who aren’t interested in newer Wow for various reasons, but who don’t mind paying a subscription fee and even buying the game again to be able to play on a Legacy server.

          As the success of Nost Begins has shown this wasn’t a fluke or a one time thing. The population continued to grow even after a year with little to no marketing done. It wasn’t Nostalgia it was me enjoying myself playing old school Wow, which is quite fun and enjoying the journey of getting to raid content. If a small time operation like Nost Begins was able to host an extremely populated server with minor issues and an efficient service with minimal costs associated with it, I don’t see what the issues are. You have the market data right in front of you proving the market is there and this market are people by and large not active WOW subscribers.

          And once again I’ll state the majority of this untapped market is made up of people like me who aren’t interested in new WOW content and will never re-subscribe or buy any new WoW content. On the other hand the moment Legacy content is released we won’t mind paying a sub fee and in my case since I lost my original copy buying the game again. Blizzard gets money from both game sales from people like me and brings back a lot of people who will not subscribe to WOW otherwise.

        • Infidel

          All of these things mentioned were handled quite efficiently by a
          very small team with limited resources, so I really don’t see the issue.
          Nostalgia had nothing to do with it, I never played WOW before TBC. You
          seem to fail to realize that there is a large market for Legacy Wow and
          this market is largely made up of customers like me who aren’t
          interested in newer Wow for various reasons, but who don’t mind paying a
          subscription fee and even buying the game again to be able to play on a
          Legacy server.

          As the success of Nost Begins has shown this
          wasn’t a fluke or a one time thing. The population continued to grow
          even after a year with little to no marketing done. It wasn’t Nostalgia
          it was me enjoying myself playing old school Wow, which is quite fun and
          enjoying the journey of getting to raid content. If a small time
          operation like Nost Begins was able to host an extremely populated
          server with minor issues and and offer efficient service with minimal
          costs associated with it, I don’t see what the issues are. You have the
          market research data right in front of you proving the market is there
          and this market is made of people who for the most part aren’t active
          WOW subscribers.

          And once again I’ll state the majority of this
          untapped market is made up of people like me who aren’t interested in
          new WOW content and will never re-subscribe or buy any new WoW content.
          On the other hand the moment Legacy content is released we won’t mind
          paying a sub fee and in my case since I lost my original copy buying the
          game again.

          Blizzard gets money from both game sales from people
          like me and brings back a lot of people who will not subscribe to WOW
          otherwise. It’s also a big P.R win for their company, since as the
          petition has shown a lot of customers and potential customers had a real
          interest in Legacy content and Nost Begins and were quite upset about
          what happened.

  • Gamer Phix

    This is why I play Wildstar – the satisfaction from downing raids is like vanilla WoW – plus the raids are best in the genre imo.

  • W4RH34D

    Just add a hardcore mode. No ports other than mages or warlocks. No flying mounts – at all only flight masters. No LFG or Dungeon finder just world and zone chat. There WoW is saved.

  • davy haesebrouck

    I signed the petition and hope blizzard wakes up and opens up a legacy server, i would be happy to pay for that.

    • Infidel

      As would many people who no longer have active Wow subscriptions. I’d also either buy the game again or pay for the downloading of it, as would many people. The majority of people who played on Nost Begins are like you and me, those who no longer have an active WOW subscription.

  • indelible

    I think this is more likely to build up Blizzard against the notion of vanilla servers; their entire business model, their game development philosophy these days, is backed by “Keep It Simple Stupid”. Every game they’ve released since Wrath of the Lich King has had simplicity – and thus shallowness – right at the core of the model:

    Hearthstone – a simplified take on Magic.
    Overwatch – a simplified take on Team Fortress.
    Heroes of the Storm – a simplified take on Dota.
    StarCraft 2 – a simplified take on StarCraft.
    Diablo 3 – a simplified take on Diablo 2.

    They’re a patronising company with a patronising philosophy. I think they at this point deserve to slow march into obscurity with nothing to show for their efforts ( apart from piles and piles of money, which is – quite obviously – all that matters to them these days ).

    • Infidel

      If piles and pile of money are what they are interested in, which is logical since a company’s raison d’etre is to make money for their shareholders and themselves, then tapping into this revenue stream which already has an ample amount of reliable market research data to show it’s an easy way to make money with very little risk associated with it and the customers they’d draw to these servers would be people who lost interest in Wow.

      From a profit standpoint and even from a P.R standpoint given what happened to Nost Begins it seems like a wise investment. A small team with few resources were able to run a highly stable and highly populated server efficiently. The P.R factor exists given the number of people who played on the server and were upset about what happened.

      Granted I am biased due to playing on the server and enjoying the experience and community immensely, but regardless of my bias I believe my analysis is sound. We have over a year of market research data already and even longer if you factor in other private vanilla servers. If the new vanilla server had the blessing of Blizzard, people would feel secure in the fact that all of the time they invested in their characters wouldn’t go to waste and flock to them. Also even with a skeleton crew, I’d imagine running such a project would be easy. Nost Begins proves this.

  • wingweaver84

    It’s kind of satisfying to hear this from someone who worked for Blizzard. Sadly it’s too little too late for me(unless I can play it offline and free)but still,to see someone who knows the company firsthand discuss this is really good.

  • Jeremy

    Simple investment with virtually no development cost that would reap instant rewards. Only addition I’d suggest would be the means to “graduate” a vanilla sub to BC, to wrath, etc, allowing people to enjoy all content the game has ever had to offer at the pace they enjoy in their original format.

  • Saint-Ange

    “social bonds are what keep people re-subbing and playing.” ha! now we’re talking!

  • Thai Pham

    pvp at southshore and crossroads..oh the memories!

    • Infidel

      You think that was bad STV was like being in Vietnam. If you leveled there long enough you developed a 1000 yard stare due to being so paranoid. The Nost Vanilla experience was quite fun, even when I got ganked a lot in STV. Also the fighting in South shore was quite fun, and doing the old content again was very enjoyable. I definitely felt the old MMORPG magic, which I haven’t felt since old school Ever Quest and Wow. Also it was all about the journey not the destination, and the journey to 60 was quite enjoyable. It was the most enjoyable gaming experience I’ve had in a long time. If a small team with limited resources can run such a stable highly populated server, I can only imagine what Blizzard could do. I hope they see the reason in this. From my time on Nost Begins and from talking to people, I’d say with a lot of confidence the majority of the server’s population weren’t active wow subscribers, so they’d bring back a lot of people who quit and have no intention of playing newer wow.

  • Shelly Renee

    Don’t talk about it on their forums! They are severely “butthurt” that no one likes their latest content and that no one (but the fanboi GD club) buys their bullshit “wall of no” on why, so any discussion related to Vanilla servers gets deleted within minutes.

    • Jack Pott

      Blizzard are big on suppressing dissent in their communities but this is too big for them to look the other way and ignore.

  • Danmax67

    I stopped playing during Cata. Since then, the occasional free 10 day trial Blizz gives has been more than enough WoW for me. Even with that, I get bored by the end of the 10 days. The game is way too simlified and, while the community was never great, now it’s basically gone. If they instituted legacy servers, I would absolutely resub. No doubt I’d also play the current game more in addition to my legacy toons. It seems a no brainer. I don’t get why Blizz is so resistant.

  • Roy J Winkler

    The count was 206,000 when I looked at it yesterday, April 20th.

  • Confused

    If Blizzard did this, the more legacy servers grew in notoriety and in popularity, the harder it would be to win fans with new expansions. I’m not sure I agree with the predictions in the article that retro servers would lead to more interest in new content. Nostalgia servers represent a serious threat to the Blizzard/WoW business model. Blizzard will never please all 5 million active subs, but they are obviously pandering to the new casual players, and I don’t see how Vanilla servers fit into that model. In my opinion, this is similar to the “downgrade” options PC users opted for when new version of Windows fell short of expectations…people opted to downgrade to older more agreeable versions of Windows. After it became more common, Microsoft shut that down and developed processes to prevent it. Blizzard seems to be in the same dilema. Both companies are widely popular, but also have neglected long-time, loyal fans. This should be a trumpet call for an ambitious new company to make a WoW-like game that satisfies the disgruntled WoW fans left behind and betrayed by disagreeable new content. 5 million people left WoW over the past few years, someone should be trying to make a game they want.

  • Kyra Taylor

    True and quit whining about the god damn vanilla servers go play on the private servers let go of your past damn

    • Infidel

      Your logic is flawed given the market share of vanilla players out there and if marketed a little the even larger pool of players they could draw. The investment costs associated with making this happen seem minuscule, since if a few people can run such a stable private server that was heavily populated, I can only imagine what a giant company like Blizzard would achieve. The market research for this project is and has already been established. As to the player base of Nost Begins, I’d wager the majority of them no longer had an active Wow subscription. This is a different market share entirely. We were happy playing on Nost Begins, they shut it down, thus the reason people are asking Blizzard to open some up since they don’t like the idea of private servers.

      You have Nost Begins maintain a stable and growing population for over a year with no indication that this would end anytime soon. The marketing was minuscule. I heard it from word of mouth not some grand announcement. Imagine the interest generated if a company like Blizzard made some grand announcement via the battle net interface. In bold letters coming soon Legacy servers come relive the glory days of wow, or experience them for the first time! I’d argue even minimal marketing investment would generate even a greater buzz and excitement.Also have some creative server events to get the new community pumped up.Given the amount of money Blizzard makes it might not seem like a whole lot, but on the other hand why pass up such a sure thing.
      I had quite a bit of fun on Nost Begins, and I didn’t get that fun MMORPG feeling since old school Ever Quest, and I’d imagine I’m not alone.

  • Infidel

    It sounds like an easy way to make a decent chunk of change relatively cheaply, and generate new interest in the game itself. If some smart people on a private server can generate that kind of interest and success, as the guy in the interview said imagine if a company like Blizzard devoted even a small amount of attention towards this. The costs associated with legacy servers seem trivial, and the payout even if Blizzard is a multi billion dollar company seems decent and from the risk factor point of view in risking capital it seems non existent.

    It’s a guaranteed profit and revenue stream. As to hiring additional staff to run it, if some creative and dedicated people like the Nost team can have a private server like Nost begins run pretty smoothly cheaply, I’d wager Blizzard could do the same.
    Even if Blizzard is focused on other projects and isn’t enthusiastic about committing resources to such an old game, logically why would a company pass up an easy revenue stream that carries no risk.

    As Nost begins has shown there is quite a large market and interest for Legacy servers still. The marketing research has been established via Nost begins running for a year and maintaining healthy numbers throughout it’s existence. With very little risk even if Blizzard makes billions a year or whatever there is still a substantial reward, and also a P.R win for the company and given the anger generated at shutting down Nost begins, that might be a good thing. I’m sure to a large company like Blizzard losing a handful of customers weren’t make or break them, on the other hand why pass up a sure thing when the research data has already been established that it’s a sure way to generate additional revenue and the capital required to create this addition revenue stream is minimal. Get your number cruncher together and do the math, as a multi billion dollar company I’m sure your team has a number of people highly skilled in math, and this mathematical formula is pretty simple. Also another idea for hiring staff to run this project is take on the Nost begins team who despite being small ran the thing quite efficiently, this act in itself would also be a P.R win for your company given what happened.

  • Infidel

    Another idea posters on the Nost forums proposed was to have some type of franchise agreement, where sub fees are instituted. If the costs associated with adding this server to the bnet interface are costly, why not hire the Nost team to run the very server they did quite successfully with minimal cost using the existing code they developed? What’s even better they could turn them back on and people could go back to playing on their existing characters while at the same time paying a subscription fee.

    Though Blizzard would make more money if they made it so people had to have legit copies to play online, but I guess doing that would involve interfacing the new servers with bnet and what not, and not knowing the costs associated with it I can’t comment. It seems like a very easy thing to implement. Though if you made them part of your company in some capacity you could then go on to have them run the existing server under the banner of Blizzard with some tweaks but the entire infrastructure is almost entirely in place. You could either have things exist as they are and simply add monthly subscription fees, or implement some check like StarCraft 2 has that makes sure your copy is valid before you can play online. Doing both or one of these things seems relatively easy.

  • Infidel

    Another interesting idea the press from streamers and new interest it would generate for existing Wow. It might even draw in new customers who never played and want to see what all of the fuss is about from streamers who said they’d stream and the P.R victory for their company. All the angry people would suddenly be happy again and there is less chance of anyone would boycott new products and people would quit protesting. The whole stink goes away and they get a P.R victory and free press and press can be good or bad better the good kind since just like in politics P.R and public opinion is quite important even more so with a company. Remember these people are customers and potential customers later on as you release new products, so besides the market for the product that has been established, appeasing customers and potential customers is smart, since a happy customer often means more money.

  • Leaf

    I truly believe that Vanilla was the best, and that the high fantasy
    theme drew in players by the truckload. TBC had a different theme which
    was not quite as sought after in the MMO market, but as the challenge
    remained so did the players.

    TBC also introduced flying mounts at the end of the expansion, which posed a problem when you began to no longer see players in the open world. Seeing horde and alliance friendly in the same city was not a good plan for a faction based game.

    WotLK started casualisation, odd mechanics such as vehicles, and more linear
    small dungeons as well as an art style change. Honestly, anything after
    patch 1.12.1 isn’t true vanilla WoW as we knew it.

    If they bring back legacy servers, I hope with all my heart it will be stuck to 1.12.1 patch. Ideally I would also remove battlemasters and have players use the instance portal to enter battlegrounds as per pre 1.6.0, but I guess you can’t have everything!

  • ggetaclue

    the present dev team just plain sucks. They have utterly destroyed hunters, shaman, priests, mages and balance druids with this latest “pre-patch.” Wow xpacs are more expensive every year and they deliver far less content than anything prior to WoD. I wish to hell Blizzard would rehire the WOTLK team and fix everything these clowns have broken. Legion promises to restore power to your character with an “artifact weapon” which measures the first time in this game character power has been entirely dependent on a single item.

    TLDR: present dev team blows goats and I would love to see legacy servers. You couldn’t drag me out of Northrend. Vanilla was ok but I believe if people played it they would not like it as well as they remember. Hunters, particularly sucked in vanilla — used mana, couldn’t simultaneously heal pet and shoot; had to carry ammo and ammo bags; pet food; YOU had to learn pet moves to train your pet oh, and only three total. No THANK you.

  • Icarus

    Wait … so the guy hasn’t played WoW in 6 to 8 years (50% to 65% of the game’s lifetime), and he feels qualified to comment on what’s wrong with WoW today?
    All this article is based on is listening to the people that bitch about it. It doesn’t even sound like he’s talked to anyone that’s happy with the game.
    I’ve been playing the game actively for longer than this guy ever was with the company to begin with, and within my experience, there’s more community in my gameplay than I ever saw in ’07 when I started playing.