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World of Warcraft fans bid farewell to largest legacy server before shutdown

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Goodbye videos and gathered crowds galore

World of Warcraft's biggest private server, Nostalrius, closed down last night. After being slapped with a cease-and-desist order from Blizzard Entertainment last week — private servers, according to Blizzard, violate the company's terms of use — the team of volunteers that kept the server afloat announced it was forced to close it down. At 11 p.m. "server time" on April 10, Nostalrius disconnected its players and shut down for good.

The owners of Nostalrius' 150,000 active accounts took the news hard, and their support for the popular server — which allowed fans to experience an older, "vanilla" version of World of Warcraft — only strengthened in its last hours. Yesterday, several fans took to YouTube, Reddit, Twitter and other places to share pictures from the frontlines of Nostalrius' closure.

In the days leading up to the shutdown, some players who didn't want to wait until its official end embarked upon a "suicide march." Participants trudged in a straight line from the game's horde capital Orgrimmar to Thunder Bluff, where they jumped to their deaths from its namesake peak. The walk across several of the game's regions took over an hour, according to a participant on Nostalrius' subreddit.

nostalrius

Others waited until April 10 to say goodbye to their characters. A variety of players posted screenshots of the crowds that amassed in various areas hours before the shutdown.

Some fans even recorded video of the final moments, preserving the minute that the servers disconnected everyone for the last time. You can watch that below.

In some cases, Nostalrius players who intended to stream its last hours were shut down by Twitch. These channels were cited for violating the platform's terms of service; Twitch does not allow streaming of content that infringes upon copyright, as World of Warcraft private servers are considered to do.

The World of Warcraft subreddit upheld a similar policy, which has loosened slightly following Nostalrius' shutdown. The community's rules preclude the discussion of vanilla servers, as they operate outside of Blizzard's official rules. Since the termination, however, its moderators have become more lax, allowing certain threads for discussion of all private servers, live or otherwise.

Prior to the closure, the developers behind Nostalrius participated in an Ask Me Anything session on the World of Warcraft subreddit. The thread, which received over 2,000 comments and questions, found the French team of volunteers thanking fans for their support throughout the years.

As seen in the screens, a huge number of players were active on the servers before termination. While they didn't give hard numbers, the volunteers said that concurrent players had most recently peaked around 18,000. The team also released updated stats revealing the number of registered users, pageviews and followers Nostalrius had ahead of the shutdown.

They also discussed their petition, which is addressed to Blizzard in the hopes of changing its policy against running legacy servers.

"The heart behind all private servers, including Nostalrius, is to recreate a version of the game that many enjoyed and that Blizzard no longer provides," the team wrote in their Ask Me Anything session. "Our hope is that Blizzard someday embraces the idea of legacy servers and that is the reason for our petition addressed to [Blizzard president] Michael Morhaime."

More than 73,000 supporters have signed on to the petition, which is available on Change.org and features an open letter directed at Morhaime. On the Nostalrius website, its developers said that a postmortem about the server's legacy and future is forthcoming.