Legacy servers are back in the spotlight due to the quarrel between Blizzard and Nostalrius. The outcome of this dust-up is important to the future of emulators and “vanilla” servers.
Believe it or not, we are now at a place in time when some of the most well-known MMOG's are nearing multiple decades in their age column. This means that there is a growing nostalgia for “the way we were.” As with everything from cars to fashion, there is always a desire to own something from the past in an almost pristine state. This is where groups like Nostalrius and the group behind Project 1999 are.
These growing communities, populating servers set to emulate some of their favorite MMOGs in their pristine states, are changing the way the big development houses think. Each house seems to be dealing with this development in their own way.
Last year Daybreak entered into a “written agreement” with the creators of an Everquest emulation project known as Project 1999. With this agreement, Daybreak recognizes Project 1999 as a fan-based not-for-profit classic Everquest emulation project. In return, the Project 1999 team leaders agree to adhere to some Daybreak standards.
Jagex started its own classic server with Old School RuneScape in 2013. They say this is the best decision they ever made. They also have a very democratic setting for the old school server. Any proposed changes are run past the community and if the changes aren't approved by 75% of the voting community, Jagex scraps the changes.
This gives the players a sense of ownership in the game and further strengthens the bond between players and developers. This sense of community has helped move Jagex into the world of high stakes e-sports.
This is an excellent and fairly transparent look at the legacy server issues from the game developer's side. Jagex has laid out their growing pains they have encountered during this classic server test. They mention tribal issues that existed between the development teams.
I would hope that Blizzard is going through similar in depth studies on the Nostalrius situation. If handled well by both sides, this can end in a win-win situation. If either bites first, then the future of classic or legacy servers may be damaged. Blizzard has asked the Nostalrius team leaders to meet with them in coming weeks so the two sides can share their concerns over how to move forward.
Sure, there will need to be sacrifices made on both sides of the coin but maybe both sides will get enough of what they need. What is that saying the wise elders gave us? “You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometime you find, You get what you need”