World of Warcraft legacy server Felmyst shut down by Blizzard hours after going live

Felmyst, as Kotaku UK explained at the end of June, was a World of Warcraft legacy server designed to bring back the game as it was during the days of The Burning Crusade. Work on the project "spanned years behind closed doors," its website said, to "produce a complete and satisfying World of Warcraft experience" that was true to 2004. And it sounds like it was doing a pretty good job of it: "Tough, but sort of nice" without all the refinements of modern WoW, as the site put it. 

But Blizzard has taken a rather harsh stance against unofficial servers recently, as we've seen in episodes like the Nostalrius/Elysium kerfuffle, and that's also been the outcome here: On the same day that it moved from beta testing to full release, according to Ars Technica, Felmyst creator Gummy52 took it offline following the receipt of a cease-and-desist letter from Blizzard. 

Gummy52 acknowledged in a message that's now occupying that the letter didn't come as a complete surprise. "I began this project roughly four years ago and last year when Blizzard began taking action more seriously it weighed heavily on me as not only was I already heavily invested into the work but others around me were as well. Because of my health situation I wasn't in a position to cut losses and start over on something different, at least not something that would take four years to make," he wrote. "Last year's news of what Blizzard was doing came at the absolute worst time for me, frankly, with so many years already invested." 

That "health situation," he explained, is muscular dystrophy, which he has until now kept almost entirely to himself. "That is why I'm not able to pick up and move to another country as an alternative means to host the server since I'm not really able to live on my own," he continued. "That is also the reason I've been able to work mostly full time on this project as I'm unemployed, though I have sacrificed much of my well being dedicating everything I have to this." 

One of the reasons he gambled on Felmyst is that he ran another private WoW server five years ago called ScriptCraft, which "was rather popular for its time," he said in a separate Reddit post. "I'm not bragging, I'm just saying that as far as getting Blizzard's attention goes, it was up there. That project did not receive a C&D. So in that regard my plan was to try and be no more popular than Scriptcraft was." 

Gummy said he's giving thought to releasing the Felmyst source code, but beyond that he isn't gearing up to fight city hall. "If our providers contacted me on their own and said, 'Hey, we don't like that stuff being hosted here, take it down,' then I'd pick another host, most likely in Europe," he wrote. "Blizzard's attorney contacting me, in person no less, is a different story. Here we are and there's nothing I can do." 

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.