Technology

Fan-made version of 'classic' World of Warcraft returns

Copies of World of Warcraft Cataclysm expansion Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Expansion packs change game mechanics and add new areas

Fans of World of Warcraft are set to launch a server that lets people play the game as it was 10 years ago.

In early 2016, the same fans faced legal action from WoW's creator, Blizzard, which caused the shutdown of a similar service.

An outcry over the shutdown led Blizzard to halt legal action and start talks about running legacy servers.

But the WoW fans are starting their own server rather than waiting for Blizzard's own legacy support system.

Shared bond

WoW fans will be able to sign up for an account and start playing on the Elysium server on 17 December.

It uses code initially developed for the Nostalrius server that, at its peak, had more than 150,000 active players.

Since it debuted in 2004, World of Warcraft has changed through the addition of many expansions.

Legacy servers such as Nostalrius seek to preserve the game in its "classic" form before most expansions were released.

World of Warcraft is an online multi-player game in which players explore the vast landscape of Azeroth, complete quests and interact with other gamers.

In April, Blizzard threatened legal action against Nostalrius, saying that letting the server run would undermine its claim to the intellectual property used in the official game.

More than 250,000 people then signed a petition calling for Nostalrius to be resurrected.

But rather than allow that, Blizzard met the developers for Nostalrius and signalled it was willing to talk about ways to preserve earlier versions of the game.

Nostalrius's developers halted plans to release the code for their legacy server while Blizzard worked on its own system.

But with no sign of that official legacy service appearing, the Nostalrius code, and many of its developers, has been transferred to the Elysium project, which will run the server.

Anyone who used to have an account on Nostalrius will be able to move it to Elysium.

"We all share a single bond that unites us; a love for vanilla World of Warcraft," wrote the Elysium project on its web page.

Blizzard has not commented on the decision to create the Elysium server.

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