Blizzard has begun legal action against World of Warcraft's largest and, arguably, best private server, Nostalrius. Nostalrius is a Blizz-like Vanilla WoW server (in PvP and PvE varieties)—it emulates the original World of Warcraft (opens in new tab) as closely as possible, the key difference being its ability to support around 11,000 concurrent players. It is a phenomenal achievement that will go dark from April 10.
"Yesterday, we received a letter of formal notice from US and french lawyers, acting on behalf of Blizzard Entertainment, preparing to stand trial [sic] against our hosting company OVH and ourselves in less than a week now," the dev team writes (opens in new tab). "This means the de facto end of Nostalrius under its current form."
To me it's a tragedy, made more unfortunate by the fact that Nostalrius doesn't have a leg to stand on. Unlike some private servers, Nostalrius never charged a penny, but World of Warcraft is ActiBlizzard's property and that's that as far as the lawyering goes.
Nostalrius is a time capsule: a beautifully nostalgic record of what a living world used to look like. It's a museum piece created by passionate fans with no official alternative. The Nostalrius devs haven't quite given up, though.
"We will still be publicly providing everything needed in order to setup your own 'Nostalrius' if you are willing to," the post continues. "Today is also the day where Nostalrius will start being community-driven in the truest sense of the word, as we will be releasing the source code, and anonymized player data (encrypting personal account data), so the community as a whole will decide the form of the future of Nostalrius. We will still be there in the background if you want us to, but will no longer take the lead."
They are also petitioning Blizzard (opens in new tab) for the server's survival. At time of writing, it stands at 20,000 signatures. Barring a miraculous change of heart, however, Nostalrius will disappear at 23:00 CET+1, April 10.