Refugee Crisis

The Nostalrius shutdown continues to make waves.

Kronos got absolutely swamped with refugees. To some degree, this was to be expected, but in practice it's still been awe-inspiring. I think that previously the server had been averaging slightly more than one thousand concurrent users each day, which multiplied by several factors overnight. The server admins have been doing overtime to make sure that both hard- and software could handle the stress, but nonetheless it's been a disruptive experience for the existing community, and not just because there were sudden queues and the /who command is now limited to the first fifty results like it used to be on retail instead of showing you the entire server pop.

Former Nostalrius players have been accused of lowering the quality of world chat (which is doubtful, considering the depths to which Kronos players were able to sink entirely on their own) and there was a sudden and to me very confusing rise of xenophobia in regards to Chinese players. Some players are just crabby with the newcomers because of the former rivalry between the two servers and remembering things like Nost players rolling alts on Kronos just to troll world chat with accusations of how dead our server was (which is highly ironic in hindsight). Others just enjoyed the lower population, especially since it made the PvP aspect less aggravating. I can understand that one, but as far as everything else goes, I think we'll just have to get over it. Let's focus on the fact that we're all here for the same reason - enjoying a version of the game that's otherwise not available anymore.

The story of the Nost shutdown was big enough that it even spilled over into mainstream media - check out this article on the BBC! And of course blogs and YouTube videos have been alight with discussion. Even Nils crawled out of whatever hole he had been hiding in to suddenly comment on the subject of Vanilla WoW. I've been kind of delighted with how many positive reactions there have been in favour of the concept of Vanilla servers, if for no other reason that my tastes rarely seem to overlap with the mainstream anymore and it's kind of cool to see other people also like something that I've already been enjoying for a while. Of course from Blizzard's point of view, it must seem like their move to get Nostalrius shut down has backfired at least in the short term, as it has provided private servers with more positive publicity than they ever could have hoped for.

Of course, not everything that people have contributed on the subject has been useful. Some have used the whole thing as just another excuse to rant extensively about everything that annoys them about Blizzard and current WoW, which I can understand but doesn't really contribute anything new. On the other side we've had hardcore denialists insist that anyone who enjoys Vanilla WoW more than the current iteration is just deluding themselves and stuck in the past (you better not enjoy anything that was created more than ten years ago). And of course there's been the argument that since private servers are illegal, that should be the end of the discussion, which is simply self-defeating - laws are made by people and can be changed. I certainly think that MMOs with their malleable nature could be used to question certain aspects of copyright law.

Either way, while the whole thing has been interesting to watch, I can't say that I feel very strongly about the subject from a personal point of view. If Kronos were to shut down tomorrow, I'd just spend that extra time on other games again - I've had my fun and no regrets. Would I play on an official Blizzard Vanilla server? Hell yeah, but I still don't think it's likely to happen as the whole concept just doesn't mesh with their business philosophy. For now I'm just curious to see what sort of other effects the drastic population increase will have on Kronos.

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