Blizzard shuts down “legacy” WoW fan server hours after it goes up

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Enlarge / The error message that greeted hundreds of Felmyst gamers after the server was shut down by a authorized menace mere hours after launching Friday.

planned launch of the Felmyst server had been closely anticipated in the "legacy server" subcommunity of WoW players who search to emulate a "vanilla" model of the sport because it existed earlier than the present slate of expansions and updates modified how the MMO seems to be, performs, and feels. Whereas different fan-run, "Burning Campaign"-era legacy servers exist, Felmyst had already earned a reputation before launch as probably the greatest and most full efforts to seize that well-remembered period of the sport in a playable approach.

However with hundreds of gamers reportedly logged on after that launch Friday afternoon, the Felmyst server was unceremoniously taken down after simply 5 hours. The rationale: a cease-and-desist letter from Mitchell Silberberg and Knupp LLP, representing Blizzard, asking for an instantaneous shutdown beneath quite a few copyright legal guidelines. A replica of that letter may be seen in a message from Felmyst coder and creator Gummy52 (which now stands instead of the eliminated Felmyst webpage and boards) in addition to a video Gummy52 posted this morning.

The letter accuses Gummy52 and Felmyst of "permit[ing] customers to play altered and/or illegitimate copies of WoW on-line, with out the necessity for a legitimately bought copy or subscription... As you already know, Blizzard has by no means approved and, actually, expressly prohibits the forgoing exercise.

"Our shopper's copyrights are extraordinarily invaluable and Blizzard takes this matter very critically," the letter continues. "As you'll be able to recognize, your exercise causes critical and irreparable damage to the worth and integrity of our shopper's merchandise and mental property."

“[I] principally sat round in disbelief for a number of hours”

In public responses on his web site and a follow-up post on Reddit, Felmyst creator Gummy52 talks of the final 4 years engaged on the undertaking whereas unemployed and scuffling with beforehand undisclosed muscular dystrophy. "This undertaking gave the final 4 years of my life a way of function that I completely loved," he writes.

"I used to be within the means of upgrading the server's add velocity once I answered the door after which principally sat round in disbelief for a couple of hours," Gummy writes of receiving the cease-and-desist letter Friday. "Throughout these hours I in fact checked if the regulation agency was an actual place, then checked if the quantity on the paper matched the quantity on their web site, then referred to as them to confirm its authenticity."

The cease-and-desist request was much more shocking, Gummy writes, as a result of his earlier personal WoW server challenge, Scriptcraft, did not appeal to any authorized curiosity from Blizzard after launching in 2011.

Gummy says he rented the Felmyst server on his personal to accommodate as much as three,000 gamers, paying out of his personal pocket fairly than accepting donations (which might invite their very own authorized issues of profiting off the alleged copyright infringement). He says he hoped the small measurement would assist the undertaking fly beneath the radar, a lot as Scriptcraft had, and was shocked that the cease-and-desist demand got here so shortly.

Whereas some have prompt shifting the server to a different host out of the country that could be additional faraway from Blizzard's authorized threats, Gummy says he does not have the assets to do something of the type on his personal. Gummy says he's contemplating releasing the Felmyst supply code in order that improvement can proceed elsewhere, however that he has to think about the authorized implications of such a transfer earlier than appearing.

The Felmyst takedown follows on final yr's drama surrounding Nostalrius, a serious personal WoW server challenge that was taken down shortly after its launch, to the consternation of a reported 150,000 lively gamers. Whereas Blizzard agreed to meet with the Nostalrius team final summer time, that group ultimately uninterested in ready for Blizzard to answer its considerations or to launch an official "legacy" server product. As an alternative, the Nostalrius workforce put its weight behind Elysium, a religious successor server that launched final December and continues to be operating to today.

Blizzard representatives have but to answer a request for remark from Ars Technica.

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