Moonglade
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Was just reading the Nostalrius dev team AMA on reddit and came across their ‘post mortem’ - an 80+ page PDF in which they published fascinating insights into their journey from nobodies into the world’s most infamous non-profit vanilla private server community.

Believe it or not for someone so passionate about Classic I never actually played on a private server until @Jpy introduced me to Light’s Hope. So for some of you this may be old news but to me it has made me take a step back and appreciate the amount of work these guys put in and the huge contribution they made towards pushing for the retail title we are all now looking forward to as a reality.

So, I thought I’d share a few segments which I found particularly interesting and see what your thoughts are. They start off with the ‘history’ of pservers:

Everything began with the GotWoW platform created in 2003 during the World of Warcraft Alpha version. This platform made of around 2,000 active members was used to develop tools and servers around 3 years before World of Warcraft was released. The platform got shutdown in 2004 creating a lot of disorganization among server developers, working on project like WoWD, WoW Daemon or OpenWoW.
Nuts to think that people were already hard at work creating pservers before the game was even in beta.
Keeping the game as it was before make things way more difficult, creates challenge through which true communities and friendships emerge, making all players a band of brothers in a difficult adventure, building strong shared memories.
This is in the context of the atmosphere at the time of remixing and creating new ‘fun’ features - these were decided against by Nost. I love this quote - what could better describe why Classic wow is so endearing, even to a modern audience today?
The conclusion we’ve reached today is that a huge number of players want a genuine retail experience without any custom features.
I’ve seen a number of posts on other platforms besides BC with a lot of very enthusiastic posts dreaming up ideas for ‘improving’, ‘iterating’ and ‘rethinking’ classic server features and even future releases taking the classic concept into completely unrecognisable directions. I am not against the creativity of these posts so much as I am against the idea that people think they can make classic better somehow by adding new features. Perhaps Classic’s release will bring on a new generation of pserver developers realising these ideas?
The decision not to enforce a population limit was quite an undertaking for us which in- volved adding dynamic creatures, ore and herb re-spawns, zone phasing and clustering technology was also under development. The players loved these features as it made the entire server feel more alive. It was beneficial for the GMs to have most of the player base being on one server as it kept everything in one place.
Forget about sharding, which we all know deep down will be necessary in starter zones as has been announced officially for a smooth launch. Forget about that for a second anyway - what this makes me think about is how many realms are actually going to be available. IMO the fewer the better - the larger the pop caps the more history, competiton and feeling of ‘aliveness’ in each server will be possible.

I played a single server MMO for a long time (eve) and cannot stress how much this made it feel like a ‘world’. To paraphrase someone on reddit who I think nailed this on the head well (he was talking about sharding coincidentally but think about if from a different perspective): ‘it would be like playing in A world of warcraft, not THE world of warcraft’. So the less servers there are on Classic, the more character and cohesion there will be on each server. The more servers available there will be less opportunity for famous gankers, guilds and rivalries to make a name in history!

I’ll stop there as I’m only 17 pages in and there’s a lot more stuff I’d like to discuss. But yeah something to chew on in the meantime :) Also holy shit I’m nearly level 40!!

   Jpy
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The Barrens
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Didn’t realize they had people working on private servers before beta, that’s insane. I actually played on a private server before I ever played on blizzard’s servers lmao.

E: I remember watching a live stream of one of the blizzcon 3v3 tournaments. I think it might’ve been early TBC, before I had actually played. I played maybe an hour or two at a friends house once before but that doesn’t count. :biggrin:

I remember watching the Undead Rogue from one RMP team zipping around with Sprint, stabbing the enemy with his little side to side strafe (roflmao), then disappearing into thin air while his Mage buddy was freezing everything in fucking sight and turning people into Sheep?! Pretty sure I downloaded a private server that weekend lmao.

   Syturio
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@Jpy I had no idea either. Bizarre... Why would any one be hard working to pirate a online game that is in Alpha? o.O

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Warrior Protection
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Well, I was too young to take part in it, but I heard that the hype for WoW was \emph{immense}. For years people talked about it! It was the craziest build up of "aw man I loved warcraft II" to "shit Blizzard can't make an MMO" to "holy shit WCIII is GREAT" to "my friend got beta and WoW is great!!!!", everyone wanted this thing! If there is one game I'm should choose to not be surprised was pirated during its alpha stage, it's WoW.
In Preach's legacy of vanilla(leveling) video he says that Blizzard expected WoW to peak at 400 000 players in <insert long timeframe>, but 400 000 was reached in four weeks! They had to, and I quote, "periodically stop selling the game, so that it would even stay alive!", because the servers were burning hot and hella unstable.

Aaand I think I lost where I was going with that rant. :/ Either way, I kinda hope classic will live up to uhh, its image in terms of hype, even if there's only about half a year left to build it.

   teebling
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Moonglade
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After the server release and the initial excitement, the population decreased during the first 2 months by about 15%, before increasing consistently again after. It may be related to the leveling difficulty in the over-crowded context of a server launch. This is something that has been also noticed after the PvE realm launch.
Will be interesting to see what happens with server pops on Classic release and the departure of tourists.

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Feralas
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I may or may not have been a developer at Elysium :)

I worked on the site, built 2FA, and worked on anti-spam, though anti-spam wasn't implemented because kidney was hard to work with and crogg and shenna were discovered to have been stealing by then

It's annoying because my anti-spam system was awesome. It used a method called Multinomial Naive Bayes which is what email programs use to filter email! Basically it assigns scores to words based on how spammy they are determined to be.

For example: !!!!!!!@@@@@~G4WOW.COM~!@!!@!@!@!@! would be considered very spammy based on overuse of the @ and ! plus the chars "G"+"4"+"WOW" all the characters combined form a spam score that can block messages. I was piping chat into a node.js server the moderators were going to train it and retroactively ban these spammers.

I haven't been on the pserver scene since then but I think kidney's Light's Hope project is doing good.

   JpyteeblingSyturio
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Moonglade
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That’s so cool! What did you do outside of the game client and on their website? I think Nost now uses phpBB as well.

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Very interesting @acrmojt
It's a shame it was not implemented, goldsellers were one of the main reasons a lot of people left Elysium.

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Feralas
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I basically just fixed bugs on the site. Shenna was really bad at communicating with the team and most of the time was lying about the state of things, so sadly it was almost impossible to get anything done. I was really sad things went the way they did after I put so much effort in.

Some other funny things:
Pottu and I used to ban bots, goldsellers, and account sellers for fun. We discovered a Discord for selling accounts and posed as someone looking to buy accounts and met up with these people in game. We would hop on voice chat with them to hear their reaction when their level 60 with hundreds of gold got banned :P it was a little evil hehehe.

The stupidest thing I witnessed was how Crogge behaved. He was a pathological liar. He claimed to be an amazing programmer and rambled on about the amazing things he was working on. Yet he misunderstood even basic topics. It was really demoralizing because all the programmers knew he was a fraud but many of the other team members didn't.

When there was a problem with the server he used to lock DB tables ON A LIVE SERVER. So if you ever wonder why weird rollbacks and other network errors were happening it was probably just Crogge ;(

Now Whitekidney seemed smart and seemed to know what he was doing. He didn't speak much though.

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