Unofficial 'World of Warcraft' server returns game to 'vanilla' state this month

A playable legacy version of World of Warcraft will launch later this month, returning veteran players to the realm of Azeroth as it existed prior to the launch of Blizzard’s many expansions and gameplay overhauls.

Players can experience a “vanilla” version of World of Warcraft, including classic player vs. player and player vs. environment elements, with the launch of Nostalrius Realms on December 17.

Banding together as part of The Elysium Project, dedicated World of Warcraft fans have spent the past seven years preserving the popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) as it originally existed in 2006. Gameplay in the independently operated Nostalrius Realms closely adheres to standards established in version 1.12 of World of Warcraft, which many fans regard as the most enjoyable point in the game’s history.

Nostalrius exists separately from Blizzard’s official World of Warcraft servers, and is independently owned and operated. As the server surpassed 800,000 registered accounts earlier this year, Blizzard issued a cease-and-desist order demanding its immediate shutdown, resulting in its sudden closure in April.

After an online petition drew signatures of support from more than 276,000 displaced Nostalrius fans, Blizzard opened discussions with its creators. The talks were seemingly productive, as Blizzard now appears to have backed down from its legal threats to the point where Nostalrius server operations can resume.

“The Elysium Project (formerly Valkyrie Project) has been alive for 7 years now,” the collective states on its “about” page. “The team is comprised of dozens of individuals that span from all walks of life, from all over the globe. We all share a single bond that unites us; a love for vanilla World of Warcraft. Inspiration comes in many forms. Ours is what we feel to be the pinnacle of MMO gaming.”

The statement continues: “Together, we strive to bring the past to life, and to share it with the world. All while doing so for free, without payment, and for nothing in return other than seeing this game world reborn. We do not claim to own the rights to World of Warcraft in any capacity. We simply want to see it thrive once more.”

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