[Note to Crixa RPG readers. I’m doing work to help convince Blizzard to try and restore original vanilla World of Warcraft servers. This blog post is not about the space opera RPG]
To update everyone on the legacy petition status, we have a bit of time. While Nostalrius and I both have separate meetings coming up with Blizzard, a definitive date looks to be at least a week or two away. Current status:
- Petition at over 253k signatures – congrats!!!! (can always use more: https://www.change.org/p/mike-morhaime-legacy-server-among-world-of-warcraft-community)
- Petition printed – DONE! Will be delivered when I meet Mike: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFAadmkAd7g
- My meeting with Mike – Awaiting scheduling (Mike ws booked solid for 2 weeks)
- Nostalrius’ meeting – Awaiting scheduling (see @Nostalbegins on Twitter for their status)
In the meantime, to prepare to discuss things with Mike, I’ve started collecting some (highly informal) survey data on Twitter. The one we’re talking about today are the surveys on progression servers and moving to new expansions from vanilla. Take a look.
The first survey on the left was a bit flawed. Since I can’t explain everything in a 140 char tweet, many people who voted for timeline based progression did so by accident, so I posted the second survey to clarify.
Basically what we are looking at here is a big question about how to handle expansions with vanilla or legacy servers. Only 15% wanted vanilla to never be upgraded. Anecdotally, I received many tweets (@Grummz, btw), that said TBC (Burning Crusade) was the sweet spot they would like to play.
It’s pretty clear that the majority of people want some kind of progression from vanilla thru expansion packs. Many pointed out that they would want the progression to stop at Wrath of The Lich King, as those people viewed Cataclysm as the beginning of the end of classic WoW. Cataclysm certainly is from the point of view of content, since they did away with much of the old content by then and reshaped the rest. Clearly if we want to play WoW as it was, we need to preserve servers that are pre-Cat.
Now there were two main ways we discussed moving from vanilla to expansions like TBC and WotLK: automatic and manual. Automatic is when the server you are on upgrades to the next expansion back at a certain interval (say, every 2 years), and brings everyone on the server along with it. Manual is when the vanilla server you are on isn’t going to change. If you want to play the next expansion, you would elect to copy your character to the new expansion server when it became available.
Automatic transition was by far the less popular choice. People pointed out that by automatically progressing the servers, we would a) end up where we are now at WoD and wishing we had vanilla again, and b) wipe out the historical content we were seeking to preserve in the first place (Naxx, etc.). It seems the only way automatically progressing servers could work and still preserve the past, is if we still kept servers around for prior expansions…which is, of course, what the second and more popular choice of “Manual” implies.
A manual expansion upgrade means that the vanilla server you play on would remain the same forever. If you wanted to go on to an expansion, you would need to transfer or copy your character to the next expansion in series. Now, there are open questions here. Are all expansions available at launch of legacy, or do you roll them out every 2 years? What happens to the population of a server when an expansion comes out? What happens to guilds who may find themselves split between servers?
The notion of being able to copy your character, rather than transfer it, is an important one to many people. Many felt that a one-way transfer would leave the prior, originating server, depopulated. By copying your character to the next expansion, you would have the option of playing on both. Your original character would still be tuned for vanilla, and your new character could progress in TBC with new gear etc. If you wanted to play vanilla content, you’d go to the vanilla server. If you wanted TBC content/features, you’d play on a TBC server.
Not many were concerned about guilds being split. Most seemed to think that guilds could self-manage this by either being large enough to maintain a multiple server presence, or by electing to transfer by a guild vote en masse. I tend to agree. I’m not worried about how guilds manage the transition. They will do what’s right for them.
The question of server depopulation is an interesting one. But I think it needs to be viewed in light of legacy not being the actual definitive business of WoW, but as a bonus feature. As a bonus feature, I’d be far less worried about a lack of payers on older expansion servers. The point is to offer it as an option, and only deploy the minimum number of servers needed to meet that demand and also preserve the historical importance of the game as a cultural icon. If vanilla servers start being collapse all the way down to one server when TBC launches, that’s fine. History is preserved, and the legacy option is preserved. The main game and legacy expansions will continue to carry the bulk of payers.
I do think that we should start with vanilla and keep it running for 1-2 years before introducing any expansions. This will give people time to level and appreciate the old content. It’s also a lot easier to convince Blizzard to try, since its just one version of the game to start with. If successful, Blizzard would likely be happy to release additional expansions over time.
I’m looking for thoughts and comments, so please leave them here! Twitter is also good for quick suggestions, and you can reach me @grummz.
Thanks and let’s keep our fingers crossed for legacy servers!