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Home » Top Secret » An open letter to Blizzard concerning Nostralius

An open letter to Blizzard concerning Nostralius

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Dear Blizzard –

When Worlds of Warcraft was announced, I scheduled three days off to be the first to explore your world.

For several years, I invested a great deal of my time and money in the form of subscription fees and *gasp* paying for gold from farmers.

When Burning Crusade came out with the flying mount, I was first to explore the world with my mount as I toured and explored high level areas I wouldn’t be able to actually play in for several months until my level was fitting for the area

And when Wrath of the Lith King came out, I finally bowed out, the game was being specifically geared towards raid and high end gamers, and as character continually saw their abilities nerfed for the sake of ‘balance’ as a solo player who keeps to himself but enjoys the activity of a bustling world, I realized the game was taking different directions than i had the interest or desire to continue.

So I stopped playing.

My primary character had 261 days on it.

And I had 8 characters in total, with a total of a year of MY TIME spent in the game.

Let me put this in perspective, that’s 365 + 180 = I’ll narrow this down to 500 * 24 hour days.

If that was in terms of consultant wages, I was making $125 an hour at the time this came out, which means I missed out on $1,500,000, or 1.5 million in lost revenue because of my investment of time and energy in your world.

DO NOT GET ME WRONG, as I do NOT regret this time.

For the most part, while there was many times I was frustrated, I enjoyed myself.

About four years ago, I found myself homeless, having burned out of my profession. I had to walk away from what I was doing to retain my sanity, as I had tried committing suicide and knew I needed dramatic change.

I relax in a Starbuck’s, and while I have traveled through seven countries without money, I am now enjoying well needed and deserved down time from a hectic career and extreme life choices I made which has left me broke, three times divorced, and my best friends are the voices in my head.

I do not have the machine and horsepower to play the newest version of Worlds of Warcraft, and to be frank, IF I did, I wouldn’t be interested in playing it anyways. The character development path is too dumbed down, generic, and boring for me with little distinction between the characters.

So when a friend of mine – yes, homeless people do have friends, at least I believe he’s real – so when a friend of mine pointed out something called Vanilla Servers and this old school server called Nostralius – I signed up.

To be clear, the appeal of Nostralius and these old school Vanilla servers is simple:

This is pre-nerf. PRE-Blizzard’s messing around with balance, and – while I loathed the Kill On Sight mentality of many of those in the opposite faction participating in a joint Role-Play/PVP server, I found the character progression fun and as a homeless guy with no money – an interesting alternative to the plethora of mindless games that I haven’t played yet that are playable on this older AMD machine with slow graphics and 4 gig of memory.

Put specifically: Nostralius – This Vanilla version of Worlds of Warcraft – which IS the classic game I played – has a huge world to immerse myself in that doesn’t cost a dime.

Let me do the homeless math for you so this makes sense:

I have $0 dollars in my bank account. I have $140,000 in debt I can’t pay because I have $0 income.

So -$140,000.00 – $0 (cost of playing Vanilla wow) = $140,000 (no change).

To be concise: Nostralius provides a clear benefit to my financial situation by preventing further income loss.

So for the greater part of four months I built up a character I’d ever played before – an undead Priest – and had a great deal of fun playing that character to level 47. I also managed to get a Tauren Druid, which I have played numerous times – up to level 37, and a Mage up to level 17.

Then.

Blizzard played the greedy lawyer card.

So to be clear: Blizzard, a multi billion dollar company who no longer supports the Classic version of Worlds of Warcraft. A classic version which incidentally attracted us players to begin with which eventually became over corporatized…

They then found an upstart group of people who respect and love Blizzard’s IP.

Who from there built a community of like minded people who enjoyed that IP….

A group of people – many, much like myself, without much (if any) disposable income who acted out of passion

Put them in the cross hairs of the proverbial sniper rifle.

And opened fire.

Why?

Because it’s in their rights to limit the use of this Intellectual Property.

That’s their official response.

Think about this as a father who breaks out and hits you with his belt just because he can.

In any case. I’m playing a pirated game – a cheesy rip-off of Diablo called “Titan Quest”, that’s not really entertaining.

And as a former corporate programmer of nearly 30 years, having worked with more programming languages than God, I’ve applied for QA jobs for Blizzard and other gaming companies I have thoroughly enjoyed their Intellectual Property – companies such as Rockstar and Insomniac games.

But being sincere, I have had no luck in looking for work as it seems no one is willing to hire the overly imaginative homeless guy with two degree, 30 years of experience, and a resume that’s seven pages long in it’s most reduced format.

So here’s what Nostralius brought – HOPE and a diversion.

I was looking forward to Nostralius releasing the source to their server if/when the time came, if anything, to make custom modifications of my own and make my own server like I did with EQEMU. This is something Blizzard never would have thought about doing.

To this day, I have yet to experience a great deal of raids with Worlds of Warcraft – I just never lasted long in guilds and pickup groups are hard to come by. So I liked the idea of retooling Worlds of Warcraft so even a single player could do the raid instancing – with a great deal of work.

I liked the idea of messing with the source code of the questing engines – and maybe making my own quests.

And heck. Is it possible to create houses and property in the game for player use?

All these thoughts stem from the reality that Nostralius was able to do what they did.

If only for a short time.

Blizzard, you have wonderful Intellectual Property.

Why not make your product true to your name.

WORLDS.

Why do you call it WorldS of Warcraft when there’s only one world?

Unless, that is, you forgot your original plans to expand and include community development efforts?

And maybe finding a way to support these offshoots rogue developers like those who created Nostralius or creative homeless dudes like myself who might create more single player/solo blends…

And include these in your community?

Doesn’t it make more sense to support and encourage those who love you and your work rather than taking aim at them with your Corrupted Ashbringer?

With Kind Regards,

Brian Scott Gregory aka “Q”

Homeless man of four years now holding out for the perfect gig in Studio City, California and regular at Starbuck’s at Ventura and Vineland


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