Preserving games can be a tricky thing, particularly when it comes to MMOs. Expansions and additional updates fundamentally change the way players engage with those virtual worlds. Fan servers attempt to give players a way to experience these games the way they once were, and old-school World of Warcraft fans will soon be able to revisit the game's vanilla version.
The Elysium Project is launching on December 17 at noon EST. It's the culmination of working with the team behind Nostalrius, which had earlier operated an unsanctioned WoW server. Blizzard shut it down, but the resulting online support inspired the company to invite Nostalrius' members to Blizzard's offices for a discussion.
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Nothing came of that meeting, however, and Nostalrius eventually passed along its tech to Elysium. Now Elysium has taken over, and it's launching in a little less than two weeks. Players will be able to check out the game at no cost once it's live.
I stopped playing WoW after the first expansion, and it would be fun to check it out again. Since this is also an unauthorized project, there's no telling how long it will stay live, but players will at least have a chance to rewind the clocks for a while – if this release-date announcement doesn't give Blizzard the time it needs to squash it preemptively.