Vanilla World of Warcraft project Nostalrius splits with Elysium over code sharing

The partnership between the World of Warcraft legacy projects Nostalrius and Elysium, which only got underway in December 2016, has already gone sideways. Nostalrius, which shared its source code and user database with Elysium after being forced offline by a Blizzard cease-and-desist order, is now calling on Elysium to stop using that data because it's having a detrimental effect on efforts to bring about official support for legacy content. 

The problem, as Nostalrius sees it, is that only a small portion of former Nostalrius players have made the move to Elysium, while legacy fans in general have "acquired a reputation of 'pirates' on the official WoW community," according to this announcement posted on the Nostalrius forums. That runs contrary to the project's "values" of uniting the community and helping bring about official legacy servers. 

"We have already demonstrated that there is a true desire for Legacy WoW content, and players in need for a home. Only a few people deny the viability of legacy content. You have been an amazing community demonstrating this to the world, this step is as a consequence achieved," the message says. "We know that Nostalrius carries the hopes of the legacy community but moving from 'fan server' to 'pirate server' reputation makes it harder to convince that legacy fans have a place on the WoW community. Until this stigma is removed, it's unlikely any true progress towards official legacy content can be achieved."

And then the important bit: "We ask Elysium to join this effort for Legacy realms by stopping to use data that we provided. We know they aim at official legacy realms as we do. We have already stopped the account transfer process from our side as a first step. Nostalrius community is no longer about private servers, it is about official legacy realms." 

The message wraps up with an apology to former Nostalrius players who transferred their accounts to Elysium, saying, "We understand that our decision to ask Elysium to stop using our data might bring you pain." But it may not, too, as Elysium doesn't seem overly inclined to follow in Nostalrius' footsteps. 

A post tellingly entitled "Response to Nostalrius: Elysium Will Prevail" promises to discontinue the use of the Nostalrius core "over the course of the next several weeks," and to wipe all "Nostalrius specific data." But the project will continue using a new-and-improved Anathema core, all characters will be maintained, and the Nostalrius realms will be renamed to Anathema PvP and Darrowshire PvE. 

Elysium made note of some very impressive numbers in its response, including that it had more than 30,000 players online simultaneously across four realms at one point. "Numbers speak for themselves: the community is growing as Legacy WoW keeps generating more and more interest, " the message says. The team acknowledged that some parts of the community "feel that we are pirates and have shady practices," but insisted that its only motivation is "to restore and grow passion to a game that we love."

"We believe that our movement should remain loud and we will do what is in our power to preserve it. We believe that our players must have a home. We will keep providing this community until Blizzard announces official Legacy World of Warcraft content and provide a tangible timeline for their release," it wrote. 

"We want to abide by the game’s creators by any means we are able in order to show good will, which is why we are taking these steps. However, despite this stance, shutting down is not an option until real action is taken on their part to create Legacy servers." 

It's interesting how two different teams with ostensibly the same goal—official WoW legacy support—can have such different, and opposing, approaches to achieving it. The good news for legacy players is that nothing of any significance should change because of this split; the bad news is that Blizzard has shown no sign of moving beyond "discussing the possibility." I've emailed Blizz to see if it has anything new to say, and will update if it does. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.