The Wall of No revised as of May 20, 2013
1. Blizzard does not believe there are enough people interested in utilizing this idea long term to justify the costs necessary to bring it about.
2. Blizzard feels this idea is counter to the nature of MMO’s; non-progression equates to stagnation and eventual boredom.
3. The original game code does not exist in that form anymore. All the old data has been replaced with newer data and not archived for later reuse. “There is no switch to flip on the realms to roll back years of patches and changes…” (read as, “years of patches and changes cannot be rolled back” – thus, there is no “old data” to use). They never intended for there to be. In keeping with the sentiment in #2, above, it’s gone – never to return. Even if it were “recoverable” by other means (i.e., see “private” servers” below) it would still require lengthy and expensive rewrite, a task Blizzard denies interest in.
4. They have no plans or desire to recreate the original version(s). They refer to the notion as “a logistical nightmare,”… and in keeping with #1 above the time, money and resources required are prohibitive and unjustified.
TL;DR: “Too much cost, too little interest and it’s not what the game is about… we’re not doing it.”
Proponents of “Classic” (or any other variant thereof) servers rarely put thought into the idea. This would be similar to requests for the film industry to make silent films again, or the auto industry to mass-produce Model-T cars again. There’s not enough market for it so they’re not doing it; neither is Blizzard.
Proponents are asking to segregate themselves from everyone else. WoW is an MMO; designed around the concept of player interaction. The segregated play these servers would cause is counter to that foundational concept. Proponents are asking Blizzard to reverse the direction of the thinking and action that made WoW the largest, most popular – and most profitable – product of its type in the world.
Proponents seem to believe that, despite the age of the game and the number of people who play-
1. They are the first person to have come up with this idea.
2. They seem to believe that Blizzard is:
a. Incompetent -- in that Blizzard failed to do the research on this idea to determine if it is marketable; or
b. Stupid -- in that Blizzard did do the research and failed to interpret the data from such research correctly.
Take some time and read all the quotes below and actually think about what’s being said.
Blizzard specific references on the issue:
We were at one time internally discussing the possibility fairly seriously, but the long term interest in continued play on them couldn't justify the extremely large amount of development and support resources it would take to implement and maintain them. We'd effectively be developing and supporting two different games.Drysc (CM), Feb 21, 2008
We occasionally see requests for us to open pre-TBC realms, or classic realms if you prefer. Lately there have also been requests for pre-WotLK realms, and I am sure that once the next expansion pack is released there will be requests for pre-Cataclysm realms as well. We have answered these requests quite a few times now saying that we have no plans to open such realms, and this is still the case today.
We have no plans to open classic realms or limited expansion content realms, and you should not expect to see the opening of such realms with the launch of Cataclysm either.
We realize that some of you feel that the classic game was more fun than the current game, and as a result would like to revel in nostalgia; the developers however prefer to keep the game moving forward as they want the game to continuously evolve and progress.Vaneras (CM), Nov 28, 2009
We have no plans of making pre-TBC realms. This goes against the very nature of an MMO and would be a logistical nightmare. There's no switch to flip on the realms to roll back years of patches and changes, and we don't intend to invent one so that a very small minority of players can play what we feel would be an inferior cousin of the World of Warcraft of today.Zarhym (CM), April 27, 2010
Question: The whole topic of classic servers has been popping up on the forums, always on yours - I assume with the release of Cataclysm there's this huge wave of nostalgia here because you can't play in the old world anymore. Is this something you might consider doing after the Cataclysm launch?
Chilton: Currently, my answer would be probably not. The reason I say that is because any massively multiplayer game that has pretty much ever existed and has ever done any expansions has always gotten the nostalgia of, "Oh God, wouldn't it be great if we could have classic servers!" and more than anything else that generally proves to be nostalgia. In most cases - in almost all cases – the way it ends up playing out is that the game wasn't as good back then as people remember it being and then when those servers become available, they go play there for a little bit and quickly remember that it wasn’t quite as good as what they remembered in their minds and they don’t play there anymore and you set up all these servers and you dedicated all this hardware to it and it really doesn't get much use. So, for me, the historical lesson is that it's not a very good idea to do *laughs* - it's a great idea to talk about.Tom Chilton (lead game designer), Aug 20, 2010
(approx. half way down page)
Never say never, but developing for and supporting multiple codebases (while possible) would very unlikely be worth it. It's really not as simple as people make it out to be. Those playing on a 'classic' server would still require support, and absolutely still request bug fixes, changes, additions, content, etc.
The notion that the game frozen in time with no patches, no new content, no changes, would be fun to play forever, is in my opinion a very clouded vision of how it would actually play out.Bashiok (CM), April 21, 2011
Q: More and more people are heading to private vanilla servers, why not just make an official one?
GC: We don't want to maintain two versions of the game (and we don't believe that the vanilla crowd would be happy with no support).
Q: I don't see there being much maintenance required for it. You guys would get a ton of old players back for sure.
GC: It would be a ridiculous amount of maintenance. Nearly every patch fix would have to be made twice.
Q: I don't see how every patch would have to be made twice. Most class changed wouldn't apply. Stagnant final van build
GC: Class changes are the minority of bug fixes we make.
Q: Could we just lay that vanilla server talk to rest? There will never be other servers than the newest expansion.
GC: Been trying that for years. It doesn't work. https://twitter.com/ghostcrawler/sta...81503165054976
Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street, Dec 31, 2012
Read this post that might remind you of some of what you “miss” about Vanilla WoW:
WowInsider has a similar negative view:
May 2, 2012
And – I work for a software company with corporate customers. Each of them has rather more invested in equipment than a PC gamer, and they like paying for upgrades even less.
Our products have been advancing technologically over time in a gradual fashion, so as not to lose the customers with the oldest equipment. However, things like operating system support and hardware version support are outside our control--which means we have to keep slowly advancing the requirements, and adjust existing code to match. Over time that means stuff eventually falls off the list of what we can support, because our code, gradually upgraded as it is, starts to require OS or hardware features the oldest equipment can't support.
We couldn't turn the clock back ten years, or probably even five, if we wanted to.
Blizz is no doubt in the same pickle. They've changed their database structure, upgraded the graphics, and likely done a lot of more subtle stuff over the last seven years that makes it fundamentally impossible to support Vanilla code, even assuming that code still exists in pristine form somewhere.
MOP will, as I understand it, very likely require at least a duo core CPU. That's another significant difference that can't be rolled back.
Therefore: what the Vanilla crowd is actually asking for is the development of new code to duplicate old code. That's not easy or cheap, and is going to compete directly for resources with development of current content. There would have to be a monumental ground surge of interest to make it feasible, an order of magnitude greater than what has ever been exhibited on the forums.
TLDR: That's not how software works.[Note: The thread where this post originated, at http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/to...0659727?page=2
, has been subsequently deleted by Blizzard – reason(s) unknown]
From the EU forums, Feb 23, 2011
But no, Blizzard have already said no to it. – They want the game to keep moving forward and so on.
This is correct.
Since the old forums are no longer available, I will re-post one of the comments we posted on this topic in the past:
We are aware of the fact that some people prefer the old pre-expansion content over the newer content that has been added to the game with the last two expansions, but despite this we still have no plans for opening any classic realms at this point in time.
We also understand that some people would like to revel in nostalgia; however the developers are planning to keep the game moving forward as they want the game to continue to progress and evolve.
We regularly see requests for us to open classic pre-TBC realms, or vanilla realms if you prefer, and lately we have seen requests for pre-WotLK realms and even pre-Cataclysm realms. We have answered requests like these before saying we have no plans to open such realms, and this is very much still the case today.
We realize that some of you feel that World of Warcraft was more fun in the past than it is today, and we also know that some of you would like nothing more than to go back and play the game as it was back then. The developers however prefer to see the game continuously evolve and progress, and as such we have no plans to open classic realms or limited expansion content realms.Vaneras (CM), Feb 23, 2011
MMOChampion poll about whether fans think Blizz should have such servers:
(June 19, 2012)
It's a line Blizzard has drawn from way back when, yet suggestions or requests for classic realms continue to pop up on the forums. Let me tell you here and now... don't bother. Blizzard will eventually just lock your thread or delete it entirely simply because it's not in their best interests to provide such a service.March 13, 2009
The following is a list of 22 threads posted on the issue from Feb 10, 2013 through March 12, 2013 (just over 30 days). That means it was posted, on average, once a day every working day during that period.
One Server to Rule Them All: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/8197650388
Thoughts on a Pre-BC Server Only: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/to...6600825?page=1
Possibility of restarting old expansion: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/8198640337
A realistic look at classic servers: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/to...7910153?page=1
Bring back vanilla WoW servers!: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/8196600603
Would You Be Willing To…: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/to...8048102?page=1
New servers please: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/8155915912
Hardcore WoW Server Ideas: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/8088209358
Retro Realms: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/8087999204
Give Us: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/to...0249478?page=1
Vanilla Servers: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/7980168520
Well well well…: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/to...9928536?page=1
Vanilla WoW <3: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/to...9988230?page=1
Bring Back Vanilla Servers: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/7979938240
Old Expansion Servers, Maybe?: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/7923034653
Would pay for cata/wrath server: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/to...3723991?page=1
Dedicated BC Server?: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/7924374057
Throwback/Classic Servers?: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/7924334037
New Servers: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/7924333940
Why does Blizz not do Past Era server?: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/7924143833
I know this is beating a dead horse but…: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/7923723634
I’ll pay extra for Vanilla!: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/to...5168495?page=1
In relation to “private” (more accurately termed ‘pirate’) servers:
August 13, 2004
Statement from Blizzard Entertainment to the GotWoW? Community
As many of you already know, Blizzard has taken steps recently to stop the development of unauthorized emulator servers for the World of Warcraft™ beta.
While we appreciate the devotion and enthusiasm the GotWoW? community has shown for World of Warcraft, the development of emulator servers directly contributes to the illegal copying of the beta game client and creates the opportunity for people to continue to play on unauthorized servers after the completion of the World of Warcraft beta test.
Some individuals may have helped develop emulator servers under the belief that Blizzard was not opposed to the existence of illegal copies of the World of Warcraft beta game client. However, this belief was incorrect. Blizzard places a high value on its intellectual property and does not condone illegal copies of the beta game client or software that facilitates or encourages the use of illegal copies of the beta game client.
Leaders from various emulator-server development teams, including StormCraft, Vibe, and Khaos, have turned over their code and stopped development of emulator servers. We are asking that those of you who are continuing to operate unauthorized emulator servers for the World of Warcraft beta take this opportunity to voluntarily stop these efforts and turn over your code to Blizzard as well. For a short period of time, Blizzard will grant amnesty to those who comply with this request. Please contact us at *email removed* for more information.
Thank you for your understanding and for helping us to ensure the integrity of the beta-testing process. We look forward to seeing you in game when World of Warcraft is released!Be aware that participating in such servers puts one in a position of defying Blizzard and can technically put one in a bad position should Blizzard decide to pursue action against the pirates you’re playing with, and by extension you. Suggestions that Blizzard either license such people to run this emulated “old version” for them, or retrieve that emulated code from them and tinker it back into working shape are literally suggesting that Blizzard consort with thieves to achieve something they’ve already said they don’t want to do.
The code at these “private” sites is rarely original code (just emulated substitutes) and cannot be simply copy/pasted to provide a Classic Server environment. Frequently functionality is flawed (broken quest chains – some items, achievements, mounts, etc., not obtainable); they are generally buggy and unreliable. Blizzard would have to fix such code to make it useable – an undertaking which would likely take as long and cost as much as simply rewriting it from scratch… both of which they’ve described (see above) as a “logistical nightmare” and have said they’re not going to do.
Such pirate operations cannot legally charge for access – that would get them hammered, as was the case with --
August 18, 2010
where Blizzard pursued and won an $88-million judgment. Blizzard is serious about stopping this sort thing from happening -- why should they risk any appearance of “legitimizing” these people by doing anything that could be construed as “sanctioning” them?
For those who contend that Blizzard can do something like this quickly and easily, or cheaply:
June 15, 2006
Time and cost is perhaps the most central issue to Blizzard’s resistance. It took 4.5 years and over $63-million US dollars to make. Even if recreating those older versions cost only half that much [each] (rather generous estimate, I believe, considering the effects of inflation over time), even were they to begin working on it today, it would be over 2 years before the first could go “live” and would cost them a very conservative $30-million+ to do. Time and cost would be commensurate with each succeeding version (do it again for BC, and again for Wrath, etc.). Blizzard has already expressed a lack of faith that enough people would stick with one of them long enough to make that happen, let alone enough would stick with more of them. They see a massive “white elephant” and don’t want any part of it. And “a very small minority” of proponents are asking Blizzard to take all that financial risk – without guarantee of positive results – merely for the sake of nostalgia…
Such “specialty” servers violate Blizz’s aversion to “…developing and supporting two different games.” Such servers “would still require support”, which means hiring more people (a separate and specially trained team for each version), which would have to be paid for, adding further to costs beyond just initial creation… unless one expects Blizzard to accomplish all this work with its current staff – and still not interfere with or delay any current support and future development. Each version would be a “different game", meaning that Vanilla Servers make 2 games they would be “developing and supporting”; adding BC would make it 3, and so on. If they’ve publicly stated their aversion to doing 2, how can anyone believe they would accept more?
As a follow-on, this statement – though directed specifically at PvP at the time – still has value in this discussion:
I know what I personally like, but I often have to ask, is what I like of value to others? Is it going to be interesting enough to them too? If what I like is only going to appeal to a very small pool, then I know what I want may be a bit more selfish than what's beneficial to the larger populace and the health of the game over all.
Nethaera (CM), May 2, 2013
Blizzard’s response to the “Classic Server” idea shows they do not believe it passes this test.