Yesterday, I had a long conversation with my 15 year old about Vanilla and Private Servers. It was, it must be said, quite a revelatory experience because for him, as is the case for so many other players, the question of intellectual property rights has never been an acceptable excuse for preventing access. In an age of streaming music and instant access to everything, many players cannot see a problem with being able to play a version of Warcraft that differs from the current product. These players simply do not grasp the issues that the older generation accept as inevitable stumbling blocks. As a result, the desire to participate in this form of game-play does not hold nearly as many objections. In fact, the more reasons you give someone to not play something, the more attractive it becomes.
For many, however, that’s never why they played Warcraft to begin with.
The decision yesterday for Activision Blizzard to acknowledge the existence of this movement was, I’ll admit a surprise, but on reflection it makes sense. However, I find myself wondering as to the real motivation for this, especially with two major Warcraft-related events front and centre in the next six months. This is where I find myself wishing that actually, the company had kept silent. Yesterday’s outpouring on the back of the statement I highlighted yesterday was clearly keeping the MMO in the news, but in my mind it was for all the wrong reasons. It also keeps a schism wedged open that makes the flying ‘debate’ seem like a polite and well mannered tea party. I really hope the company knows what it is doing, especially in the face of what is, in many’s minds, some pretty bare-faced hypocrisy. If Nostalrius were the only private Warcraft server currently operating? I might feel differently.
But it so obviously isn’t, and this issue is anything but simply solved by a blue post.
What upsets me most in all of this, I realise, is the attitude of the camps who feel their outlook is somehow beyond reproach. Yes, you can have a difference of opinion, but somehow in this debate that’s become unacceptable. I’m not sure what makes this particular contention different to any other in the Warcraft ‘community’ of late, but attempting to expose anybody as a pariah for simply believing in the sanctity of intellectual property, or the fact that the reality of Vanilla is a very long way from the ‘truth’ now presented won’t wash with those who were actually there. I think what upsets me the most, speaking as someone who played the game, is not that people don’t grasp or understand what was genuinely unpleasant about that time. It is the twofold ignorance of real history being effectively swallowed wholesale and rewritten, plus the arrogance that period of time is now only worthwhile being celebrated in a sanitised format.
This is especially painful, I realise, now I realise Blizzard have already discussed making money from this. I’m still staggered: pristine servers just for people to play on have even been discussed, for no other reason that continuing to generate revenue for a title that’s already coining it in. Really, this is an acceptable path?
Not for the first time this year, I’ve been forced to question the very reason I’m still here and playing. As I watch this whole sorry situation play out, there are lots of points I could make, but on reflection I’m sticking today with just one. I can hold a contrary opinion and still exist alongside all you people, but many of you have decided that’s not acceptable, and this is the problem we had back with flying. It’s narrow minded and bigoted, and shows an inability to accept change and diversity that I find genuinely disturbing. When all is said and done?
If you believe my opinion is enough to ignore because I disagree with you, you’re a part of the bigger problem.