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Community Blog Topic Results: Expansion specific servers

Burning Crusade
Our most recent Community Blog Topic asked, "Would you play on an expansion specific server?" There were more nays than yays, but it sparked a lot of discussion as to nostalgia vs. reality as well as how Blizzard could or couldn't implement expansion locked realms.

The blog buzz

WoWmiri at Guarded by the Light says it's the people, not the expansion that counts.
My memories are based around events that I did with people that I loved spending time with, not really about the content I cleared or the quests I did.

If given the option, I would remain where I am–in current content, with the people I currently play with. Would I love some of my blasts from my past from my old raid teams to resurface? Yep–maybe that's a door I can open thanks to FlexRaiding. But I would never go to an expansion specific server if it was an option.
Jeff LaBowski at Sportsbard would like to play for a little bit.
I would very much like to play BC from the start, just to soak up the lore. I have no urge to get rep or attuned with any factions to do heroics. I would love to have seen what it was like when the Dark Portal was opened. PvP might be fun too with less bloat, but getting used to how classes played back then might be kind of funky.

Being able to play Wrath from the zombie invasion would be cool. [...] Perhaps they could have world event scenarios in the Cavern of Time that people could partake in.
Over at /afk, slashafk would definitely play on an expansion locked server and here is how he would resolve some of the issues:
Classes should be left as they were at the start of the expansion, with any major bugs ironed out. Generally speaking, keep the mechanics of each class the way they were (Yes, even Mage Pyros)

Getting characters onto these server should be as easy as creating one as you would on the PTR, allow pre-created classes to use, or allow to level from scratch. This way people can either choose to play end game straight away, or to experience the whole expansion again (Fact: Some people actually enjoy that).
Peter Anargirou at Kor'kron 501st doesn't like the idea and doesn't think it would work.
Blizzard would be in a lose-lose situation. Raid tiers are more like PVP seasons (or seasons in sports for that matter) than we think. Yes, you can go back and run an old raid, but it's different. You can never truly go back. The majesty of an MMO is that the world, the game, the players change. Past expansions are in the past, and I want to move forward.
SparkysShocker at Blood Sweat and Honor would like to but ...
... it wouldn't work. People would begin to complain about the absence of many of the quality of life changes since TBC. They would be unhappy with the lack of support and new content.
HerrKlokBok at The Exodar Sisters believes expansion locked servers would be a "waste of time and resources."
In all likelyhood there would just be a handful of nostalgia seekers staying put, once the initial interest has died down. Maintaining servers for a miniscule minority just for the sake of Old Times would be bad for the whole franchise.

Private theft

Rumor has it that some of the very illegal private servers out there try to provide expansion locked experiences. But as draknfyre says
  1. Private servers break copyrights, and some people want to support the original company.
  2. Private servers are not 100% exact to the original servers. They use backwards-engineered server software, not the real thing.
  3. Private servers usually allow people to do things they never could in the original servers. Instant max-levels, modified abilities, a very un-Blizzard like experience.
  4. Support for private servers usually sucks. They don't have the hardware running them like the real ones do. They also tend to not last, and go down after awhile.
And they tend to get caught, bringing the law down onto the software thieves and the banhammer onto the players participating in the theft.

The question is, does the existence of bootlegged, expansion-locked servers mean that there is a market? The number of users of these illegal realms is really just a drop in the bucket compared to WoW's subscription numbers. I wouldn't say that a few thousand players here and there would really add up to the kind of numbers that would support Blizzard creating these servers.

Everquest did it first

I didn't know before reading the comments, but SOE has actually tried this with Everquest. They have already created and closed a couple of what they call Progression Servers and are currently supporting two more. The main one is Fippy Darkpaw, which started at the original vanilla EQ and then progressed by player vote to each expansion, one at a time. The popularity of Fippy on the first day was so strong, that they opened up a separate server. Forum entries and readers state that the second one is a ghost town now and only a few raiding guilds remain on the original Fippy. I don't know if they have plans of starting again with new time-locked realms.

wittyphrase is a fan of the EQ style of progression servers.
Personally I think EQ's progression servers was one of the coolest things they did to draw people back. When they first released it I got seriously back into the game. I would have made some changes (they left a lot of the game "current state") to avoid some of the complications that arose, but in general it was a blast.

Old school

One thing about the responders to this blog topic is that the readers of WoW Insider are mostly (though not completely) made up of current players. Players with active subscriptions tend to like the way things are now. The intended audience for WoW progression servers might very well be lost subscribers who left because of change, not current players who may or may not be nostalgic for the old days.

Adam Parker writes
I think it's a brilliant idea , to see what was and now isn't as a historian i wish i could travel back in time see for my own eyes the mighty roman empire , watch the pyramids being built. Not to mention after i mentioned it to about 20 ex wow players im still friend with when i talked about this article they all shouted at the top of their heads they would definately come back and pay the 15 bucks for a tbc server.
I wouldn't play on a server dedicated to one expansion, but I might create a character on the WoW equivalent of EQ's progression servers. It would be a fun way to mix things up and relive the old days. But I don't expect it to happen any time soon, if at all.

If you have any suggestions for future Community Blog Topics, please leave them in the comments. We're always looking for good ideas.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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