- Author: Furious
- Date: May 29, 2020
- Expansion: World of Warcraft
Back in April of 2016 the demand for a legacy version of Vanilla WoW was at its peak. Eventually fans were able to prevail and thanks to some talented developers at Blizzard WoW Classic was successfully released.
What you may not know is that at that time J. Allen Brack, then the Executive Producer of World of Warcraft and now the President of Blizzard Entertainment, tried to offer a solution that would be easier for them to implement. This suggestion was posted on the WoW forums and the idea was for “Pristine Servers”. You can see the full quote below, but the gist of it is:
- Turn off all leveling acceleration including
- Character transfers
- Heirloom gear
- Character boosts
- Recruit-A-Friend bonuses
- Disable WoW Token
- Disable access to cross realm zones
- Disable group finder
The idea was met with a ton of negative feedback from players because what they really wanted was the original Vanilla WoW experience and didn’t trust Blizzard to abide by the design philosophy that made Vanilla so great.
At the time it made sense, and I think Blizzard did a great job with Omar Gonzalez making several important discoveries when porting the old content to the new client that enabled WoW Classic to be released at all. And as much as I’m loving playing WoW Classic I’d still like to be able to enjoy retail as well more than I currently do.
Right now WoW is a very different game than it started out, leveling is nothing more than a nuisance and players just want to get to the level cap and start gearing and doing Mythic+. This carries over to the Shadowlands alpha where players are outleveling an entire expansion worth of content in less than 10 hours. I wrote an article about my unpopular opinion about leveling in WoW not long ago so I won’t rehash it here.
But there are a lot of players that still want to enjoy the RPG element of the game and I think that’s where Pristine Servers, or some variation of it, could come into play. Being able to take extra time and level through Cataclysm or the Warlords of Draenor expansion while gearing up and running the dungeons from that expansion sounds amazing. They could even take it a step further and allow players to turn off XP so they can do that expansions raids at level 50 before moving on to Shadowlands.
This would allow players who aren’t interested in the M+ grind and just want to put the RPG back in the MMORPG be able to do so. It should be simple enough for Blizzard to do this and test it with a few server to see what players think.
We wanted to let you know that we’ve been closely following the Nostalrius discussion and we appreciate your constructive thoughts and suggestions.
Our silence on this subject definitely doesn’t reflect our level of engagement and passion around this topic. We hear you. Many of us across Blizzard and the WoW Dev team have been passionate players ever since classic WoW. In fact, I personally work at Blizzard because of my love for classic WoW.
We have been discussing classic servers for years – it’s a topic every BlizzCon – and especially over the past few weeks. From active internal team discussions to after-hours meetings with leadership, this subject has been highly debated. Some of our current thoughts:
Why not just let Nostalrius continue the way it was? The honest answer is, failure to protect against intellectual property infringement would damage Blizzard’s rights. This applies to anything that uses WoW’s IP, including unofficial servers. And while we’ve looked into the possibility – there is not a clear legal path to protect Blizzard’s IP and grant an operating license to a pirate server.
We explored options for developing classic servers and none could be executed without great difficulty. If we could push a button and all of this would be created, we would. However, there are tremendous operational challenges to integrating classic servers, not to mention the ongoing support of multiple live versions for every aspect of WoW.
So what can we do to capture that nostalgia of when WoW first launched? Over the years we have talked about a “pristine realm”. In essence that would turn off all leveling acceleration including character transfers, heirloom gear, character boosts, Recruit-A-Friend bonuses, WoW Token, and access to cross realm zones, as well as group finder. We aren’t sure whether this version of a clean slate is something that would appeal to the community and it’s still an open topic of discussion.
One other note – we’ve recently been in contact with some of the folks who operated Nostalrius. They obviously care deeply about the game, and we look forward to more conversations with them in the coming weeks.
You, the Blizzard community, are the most dedicated, passionate players out there. We thank you for your constructive thoughts and suggestions. We are listening.
J. Allen Brack