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  1. #1

    The moral standpoint on private servers.

    I know we're not supposed to advocate private servers, so I am not going to mention any names or give any links, but I wanted to get some opinions on them. This discussion need not also be constrained to WoW specifically, for example there are private servers for classic EQ, a game that is even further removed from its original form than WoW is.

    I am considering joining a Vanilla WoW private server, I havn't made a final decision (I am not sure if I want to "taint" my memories of that era) but in pondering whether to join or not I also got thinking about the morality behind it.

    If one were to run a "current" WoW private server (i.e. one that ran the latest patch), would pretty clearly be piracy, Blizzard offer such a service at $15 a month and choosing not to pay for it is piracy.

    But what about a Vanilla server, running vanilla raids, dungeons, zones and classes? Blizzard do not offer this service, Vanilla WoW no longer exists. The classes are different, the zones are different, most of the dungeons are different and some of the raids are no longer lvl 60.

    I still have my Vanilla WoW discs, I have already paid for the client side software, the monthly fee was paying for the server side stuff, but as I mentioned above, Blizzard no longer offer this service, they instead offer an updated service in which almost every individual aspect of the software I originally bought has been replaced or modified. Blizzard have already said they have no intention of offering Vanilla servers in the future.

    Vanilla WoW is abandonware.

    One could make a similar case for expansions like TBC and Wrath, but substantially more of those games remains available on the live servers so the case is less strong (even if, in my opinion, the most important aspect - class mechanics - are not) but of classic wow only a handful of dungeons and raids are still available.

    I am fairly sure from a legal standpoint Vanilla servers are breaking copyright law, but I am coming from a moral standpoint. If a company refuses to sell a service, is it wrong to attempt to create a duplicate and allow others to access it for free?

    P.S. I am not playing on a private server, and as mentioned above I am not sure if I want to, but I thought this was an interesting topic of discussion.

    Edit: Just a quick summary of my moral standpoint on issues raised in this thread:

    - Downloading a commercial game without paying = Wrong.
    - Downloading WoW client software without paying = Wrong. (Unless its the free trial software direct from Blizz).
    - Playing the current (or near current) version version of WoW on a private server = Wrong.
    - Playing Vanilla WoW using a legally purchased copy of the Vanilla WoW Client on a private server = OK.

    I'm not sure about TBC or Wrath because most of those respective expansions are still available in the live game, my justification for Vanilla is that almost all of it is no longer available.
    Last edited by Tinyknight; 2012-02-12 at 12:28 AM.

  2. #2
    Scarab Lord MasterOfKnees's Avatar
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    I am usually the guy to easily get my conscience hurt, I never crack or download anything for free on the internet, but I've found my home at a Vanilla Private Server as of lately, cancelling my retail WoW's sub, and my moral hasn't been hurt one inch. Why? Because as a company I think Blizzard has grown rotten over the years, and they can no longer supply the fun that I demand from a game, and thus I switched. I'd gladly pay monthly for a vanilla server if it was a neccessity, but Blizzard don't want to open such a server themselves, so I have to go with private servers, their loss.

  3. #3
    Games like WoW are bound to have private servers. Some people would love to play the previous xpacs and guess what? People make private servers because Blizzard 'wants the game to move forward and not backwards'.

    In probably 99% of the cases private servers break the copyright law and are illegal, from a moral point of view it's up to each individual person. I've played on private servers but not on wow ones, either I play real wow or do something else, best experience IMO comes from the original. Right now I don't play wow but I'm not planning on playing on a ps.

  4. #4
    Pandaren Monk Zogarth's Avatar
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    I say private servers is fine, it does not really hurt anyone (maybe Blizz because they lose a sub, but hell if i care about them anymore...)

  5. #5
    Private servers provide more users than they take from blizzard in my opinion. I heard people go from private from retail but I've never heard from retail to private(for a long term, I mean who abandons retail wow for a private server?). I started playing wow on private servers and jumped to retail because I never buy something before I try.

  6. #6
    I understand about wanting Vanilla servers. Its not like you simply want to play for free, the game is actually different too.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Zogarth View Post
    I say private servers is fine, it does not really hurt anyone (maybe Blizz because they lose a sub, but hell if i care about them anymore...)
    So theft's fine, as long as it's from a guy you don't like.

    It's their IP, their technology, their creative license, so it's theft to me. Could probably argue that if they were not making any profit off of it, it would be ok. I might even agree (it's sort of a moral grey area...), unless they're running 4.3, in which case, they'd be causing Blizzard a loss of profit, which would then still be infringing on their license as well.

  8. #8
    Mechagnome HolgerDK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinyknight View Post
    I am fairly sure from a legal standpoint Vanilla servers are breaking copyright law, but I am coming from a moral standpoint. If a company refuses to sell a service, is it wrong to attempt to create a duplicate and allow others to access it for free?
    I dont care whether people choose to play on private servers or not - thats for Blizzard to sort out.
    But as Blizzard still has the rights for WoW-versions then yes it is wrong, and no version of WoW is abandonware.
    HolgerDK Stærkodder Shocknorrís
    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kuntantee View Post
    Private servers provide more users than they take from blizzard in my opinion. I heard people go from private from retail but I've never heard from retail to private(for a long term, I mean who abandons retail wow for a private server?). I started playing wow on private servers and jumped to retail because I never buy something before I try.
    I believe that's why they provide the starter edition now. Sort of removes that need.

  10. #10
    The Lightbringer Noobadin's Avatar
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    I don't see the problem with them unless they start to make money off of it.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by HolgerDK View Post
    I dont care whether people choose to play on private servers or not - thats for Blizzard to sort out.
    But as Blizzard still has the rights for WoW-versions then yes it is wrong, and no version of WoW is abandonware.
    From the wiki page:

    The term "abandonware" is broad, and encompasses many types of old software.
    - Commercial software unsupported but still owned by a viable company.
    Given that you flat out cannot play Vanilla Warcraft (without making modifications), its about as unsupported as its possible for software to get. That entry goes on to say that availability in this case is down to the owner, which is why I'm fairly sure its wrong from a legal standpoint.

  12. #12
    Brewmaster
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    Quote Originally Posted by wariofan1 View Post
    I am usually the guy to easily get my conscience hurt, I never crack or download anything for free on the internet, but I've found my home at a Vanilla Private Server as of lately, cancelling my retail WoW's sub, and my moral hasn't been hurt one inch. Why? Because as a company I think Blizzard has grown rotten over the years, and they can no longer supply the fun that I demand from a game, and thus I switched. I'd gladly pay monthly for a vanilla server if it was a neccessity, but Blizzard don't want to open such a server themselves, so I have to go with private servers, their loss.
    So it's OK to steal something that someone doesn't want to sell to you? Talk about rotten.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Zamfix View Post
    So it's OK to steal something that someone doesn't want to sell to you? Talk about rotten.
    Its not stealing, its creating a copy, the original still exists and the owner can still sell it if they want to (and in this case, I would seriously consider buying it).

    It might be illegal, but if nobody loses, is it wrong?
    Last edited by Tinyknight; 2012-02-11 at 11:50 PM.

  14. #14
    Herald of the Titans
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    "..the fun that i demand from a game"
    am i the only one who thinks this is weird? and at the same time you say blizzard has rotten over the years?

    im out of words over such a mentality :O where have the days gone where you played a game just for the sake of playing a game? where are the days where you would wait for a game to release without wanting to know about every step the developers did?
    i just cannot understand this destructive way of thinking, where everythings being looked at as cynical as possible.. and i know from experience from my younger days that the way of cynism is a way void of happyness..

    there has been a southpark-episode that showed it in a comicy way, but still you could get the message behind all the jokes ^^

    ---------- Post added 2012-02-12 at 12:54 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinyknight View Post
    Its not stealing, its creating a copy, the original still exists and the owner can still sell it if they want to (and in this case, I would seriously consider buying it).

    It might be illegal, but if nobody loses, is it wrong?
    oh and yeah, doing stuff against the law is wrong.
    Last edited by Ghul; 2012-02-11 at 11:55 PM.

  15. #15
    Sub to wow, play on a PS. Seems fair enough to me.

  16. #16
    High Overlord Magicalcrab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinyknight View Post
    Its not stealing, its creating a copy, the original still exists and the owner can still sell it if they want to (and in this case, I would seriously consider buying it).

    It might be illegal, but if nobody loses, is it wrong?
    Worthless cheesy piracy excuse.
    You remove a customer who might otherwise have bought the game. It's a copy of the game that is never sold.
    What do you think retail versions of the game are? Not-copies? O.o
    Each one of those games on the shelf is a copy. You have a copy that you didn't pay for.

    Right, now that that's out of the way, I personally don't 'get' private servers, nor do I support them. To me it's just an inferior product so I'm not interested, and then it's illegal, as well. So that's that.
    It's not too big of a problem for me to care much, and I wouldn't really care if they got shut down by copyright-police or somesuch.
    It's just eh, 'elsewhere' at the moment.

    Edit for grammaries.

  17. #17
    This is difficult. I am strongly strongly against piracy in any regard, yet I find this to be a grey area. It's clearly not "legal" but you are using a product you already paid for in a manner that isn't stealing from the company. I can't really come up with a moral reason, only "logical" reasons.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Ghul View Post
    oh and yeah, doing stuff against the law is wrong.
    So every single law is 100% perfect? Is everything that is legal right?

    I'd love to live in a world of such absolutes.

    Blizzard doesn't lose out from a vanilla private server. If I want to play the latest version of Warcraft I will pay for it. If Blizzard offered Vanilla servers then copying them would be wrong, but they don't. This isn't a copy that was never sold, because it is not for sale.

    Furthermore I will concede my argument doesn't extend to the client software. You can still buy the software, you just can't run it, so you shouldn't download the client without paying.

    As far as I know the WoW server software was never made publicly available, so any private server is running software reverse engineered from the client but not directly made by Blizzard. Its copying, not stealing or even duplicating.
    Last edited by Tinyknight; 2012-02-12 at 12:06 AM.

  19. #19
    Vanilla server is a service and experience not provided by Blizzard so I don't see any losses they would have by people playing on them because the people going to them obviously want something different than officially offered.

    Now if Blizzard did offer vanilla private server, I would be playing there instead and providing payment for them just as I would for normal servers, but as long as they don't, they don't have losses from me, because I wouldn't go for current game.
    Modern gaming apologist: I once tasted diarrhea so shit is fine.

    "People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an excercise of power, are barbarians" - George Lucas 1988

  20. #20
    I think PS'ers is fine.

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