Remember how I went on and on about not being able to go home again yesterday? Well, I might be wrong about that: I found a private vanilla WoW server today and decided to try it out – so far it’s actually not that bad.
Private servers – besides technically illegal – are very hit-or-miss. Sure, they’re almost always free (though some are supported by player donations), but they’re staffed by volunteers that have day jobs. Running a private server is more than just making sure the realm stays up and that there’s a couple of GMs on duty to fix bugged spawns – there’s a ton of scripting involved, especially when it comes to making sure instances like dungeons and PvP battlegrounds are working correctly – and there’s only so many people out there with the requisite skills and experience to manage things like that outside of Blizzard headquarters. On top of that, there are few to no guarantees that the meager staff a private server has will be professional – something the wife and I ran into a few years ago when we discovered a very fun private server centered around roleplaying. The player base was made up of some truly talented and creative folks, but a few bad apples spoiled it for us; unfortunately some of those bad apples were staff members.
Still, this one I just found seems pretty solid so far, though I’ve only spent a couple of hours or so on it. The community seems friendly, bugs seem to be at a minimum, and since it’s running a no-frills version of WoW back before any expansions, it’s a fantastic glimpse back in time to 2006. If anyone’s interested, drop me a line and I’ll pass along the information.
By the way, I’m not going to publicly name the private server. No, you can’t get in trouble for playing on one, but anyone caught hosting a private server can easily run into serious legal issues if Blizzard discovers it and is feeling litigious; this is why most successful private servers are hosted overseas in order to make it more trouble than its worth for Blizzard to go after the administrators of a private server. Still, I’m not throwing this server under the bus by putting it out there in the public. I may not have a large readership, but the search engine bots crawl through here every now and again, and I don’t need Bobby Kotick doing a web search for “private WoW servers” and following the breadcrumbs back to this new place.
It’s only common courtesy. I may be a dick, but I’m not an asshole.