Blizzard considers running classic 'World of Warcraft' servers

The studio might have shut down a fan-run server, but it's open to running one of its own.

Reuters/Ina Fassbender

Do you miss the early, headier days of World of Warcraft, before endless changes turned it into a different beast? You're far from alone -- hundreds of thousands of people were playing on Nostalrius, a fan-run server that went back to basics, until Blizzard shut it down early in April over intellectual property jitters. However, the game studio isn't deaf to your cries. It's telling WoW fans that it has been mulling the idea of running its own "pristine" servers, without the boosts and tweaks that have slipped into the online role-playing title over the years.

There are no concrete plans in place, so don't count on anything happening in the immediate future. However, this isn't just idle talk. Discussions picked up dramatically after Nostalrius went down, and Blizzard is even chatting with some of Nostalrius operators. You might see a more official server pop up that shares at least some of what the community-made alternative offered.

It might seem counter-intuitive for Blizzard to consider a retro server when it normally wants you to experience the latest and greatest features. There is some logic to a possible move like this, though. WoW is now 12 years old, and its subscriber base is declining. Creating a throwback server might not only avoid thorny legal issues, but keep some veteran fans from cancelling their subscriptions. Although this probably won't lead to a revival, it might help delay the inevitable.