People have wanted legacy servers for World of Warcraft for as long as the game has been patched, and the story of how intrepid players have attempted to make such throwback servers a reality is already a messy one. Nostalrius had been running for some time before Blizzard shut them down, but the team went on to transfer their work to another group called the Elysium Project before suddenly changing heart and asking everybody to please stop infringing copyright until Blizzard make official legacy servers. Now things are getting much, much messier.
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An announcement came today revealing that the Elysium Project will be dissolved alongside allegations that core team members have been engaging in deceitful practices related to project funding. Members of the team doing the accusing plan to reform around a new version of the project called Lights Hope.
The PayPal account used to fund the server operation was said to be in the hands of a single member of the team, used under an individual’s name to avoid shut downs from legal requests. Allegedly, one team member has taken over €2,000 from that account for personal financial reasons.
Additionally, it’s alleged that this team member was complicit in a gold selling operation being run by another member of the core group. Covering up this operation has apparently led to the support team being unable to set up a log management server and generally do those things you need to do to properly run an MMO.
The Project Elysium servers are currently down, as the team believe user data may be at risk of being sold to third parties and have completely wiped the servers accessible by the accused members of the group. Lights Hope will relaunch on backup data from those servers made just before the shutdown and wipe.
Members of the new team say “We understand that we are abandoning a lot of brand recognition from both Nostalrius and the Elysium Project by doing this; however, we believe that the actions of two rogue staff members have irrevocably damaged the image of the rest of the staff and trying to pick up the pieces is not worth the hassle. We will be making every best effort to ensure that we communicate this change to as many platforms as possible so that word may spread of the coming shift in branding. We ask that you, the community, assist us in these matters so that we can continue to provide the best legacy experience possible, improve our internal processes to prevent these kinds of issues from ever happening again, and rebuild the trust that we hold in highest esteem. We want to demonstrate to you that we are worthy of that trust and your time invested with the Project.”
All these allegations are especially strange to parse because the entirety of Nostalrius, the Elysium Project, and Lights Hope are based on Blizzard’s IP and proprietary data, making the whole thing illegal from top to bottom even before money gets involved. While it’s not surprising that the community has stepped in to fill that desire for legacy servers, it’s similarly unsurprising that the situation has devolved into such a mess over time.