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Interactive video lesson plan for: Legacy Play - Thoughts on the Vanilla WoW Server - Extra Credits

Activity overview:

Blizzard recently took down a fan server running a vanilla version of World of Warcraft. They were well within their rights to do so, but it raises interesting questions about the rights players have to keep playing games they buy in the format they bought them. Is there a middle ground between a developer's needs and a player's wishes? (---More below)

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When Activision-Blizzard took down a pirated server that had 150,000 active members (and 800,000 registered members) on the original or "vanilla" version of World of Warcraft, it sparked an outcry. The company had many valid legal reasons to do so, among them the fact that they have to protect their IP (intellectual property) or risk losing it in future court cases. But what about the players, who wanted to keep playing the same version of World of Warcraft that they bought and fell in love with years ago? Auto-patching has become more and more common, even for single-player games, meaning that players have no choice but to play the version put out by the developers. Patches tend to make the game more stable and add new features, but they also fundamentally alter the game that players bought and over time those additions can change the gameplay completely. But for developers, keeping people on the same patch keeps the community together and allows them to do effective product support - maintaining active support for every possible version of a game quickly becomes a logistical nightmare. But is there a middle ground? For large games that can afford it, there may be. Everquest and Magic: the Gathering are two examples of games that run official legacy versions, allowing players to indulge in theri nostalgia while still keeping them under the company's official umbrella. It does still mean at least two distinct versions of the game that developer has to support, which increases their workload tremendously, but may in cases like World of Warcraft be worthwhile for the revenue and player loyalty it generates.


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