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Blizzard shuts down legacy WoW server hours after launch

Four years of work on Burning Crusade server brought to an end within five hours of launch

Blizzard shut down a fan-run, legacy World of Warcraft server just a few hours after it went live, bringing four years of work to an abrupt end.

The "Felmyst" server was intended to emulate WoW's first expansion pack, Burning Crusade, which launched in January 2007. A Reddit post by the server's creator, who uses the name "Gummy52", teased last week's launch, stating an aim to, "set a new standard in warcraft emulation."

However, that dream was short-lived. As Ars Technica reports, Blizzard issued a cease-and-desist letter through the legal firm Mitchell Silberberg and Knupp LLP, which arrived at Gummy52's door within five hours of Felmyst going live, and cited breach of Blizzard's copyrights.

Blizzard has a track record in this area. In April 2016, it ordered that a vanilla WoW legacy server, Nostalrius, be taken offline. The company subsequently discussed the possibility of offering its fans a similar experience in an official capacity, but it hasn't committed to any specific plan.

Gummy52 had operated a WoW server in the past, called Scriptcraft, which escaped Blizzard's notice. In an open letter published after Felmyst was shut down, Gummy52 said, "I gambled that we could cap the servers at 3k and enjoy a close community." Ultimately, the public interest in Felmyst was its downfall.

"The problem with private servers is that there is no middle ground," Gummy52 continued. "If people expect a server to 'only' have 3000 (real) players then they just won't play and you'll instead end up with 300, which isn't playable."

Gummy52 cited a medical condition, muscular dystrophy, as the reason the work didn't stop when Blizzard took a more active stance on fan-run servers last year. "Last year's news of what Blizzard was doing came at the absolute worst time for me, frankly, with so many years already invested."

It is also the reason why Felmyst cannot be moved to a different country and operated from there. "I'm not really able to live on my own," Gummy52 added. "That is also the reason I've been able to work mostly full time on this project as I'm unemployed, though I have sacrificed much of my well being dedicating everything I have to this. Why am I disclosing this? I'm not really sure, but I feel compelled to."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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