I think some things have not been looked at closely. From their own site,
Nostalrius Begins PvP, Nostalrius Begins PvE & Nostalrius TBC and all related servers
That’s a big plural there, 3 plus all related servers. It is not just a private server that a few dozen, hundreds play on, but multiple servers that had hundreds of thousands of accounts.
And yet I read this also.
We know the time you spent here, the guilds you were part of, and these people with whom you have shared experiences with. We know the strength of these links, and we also know that they do not need a special WoW realm to survive. However, we will still be publicly providing everything needed in order to setup your own “Nostalrius” if you are willing to.
Today is also the day where Nostalrius will start being community-driven in the truest sense of the word, as we will be releasing the source code, and anonymized players data (encrypting personal account data), so the community as a whole will decide the form of the future of Nostalrius. We will still be there in the background if you want us to, but will no longer take the lead.
I get that people want to relive the past. We all have times in our lives we wish we could go back and do something different. But this is pirating software. Plain and simple. While they may not have been receiving money in direct subscription fees, they were making money somewhere. When people say they are not hurting anyone by existing, they are. Those 800,000 accounts they boast of, are 800,000 paying subscriptions that could have been used to make what we pay for monthly to be better, to grow. Every year we lose people, eventually it will reach a break point where they will close the doors on WoW. And if you look and see 2.5 million playing on these multiple free servers and wonder what happened. There will be your answer.
So many people call for respecting game developers every day. How long do you think companies will keep creating massive games for us to play, if people keep pirating their code with no repercussions. What if they said sorry, we can no longer operate for free, it’s now $2 a month, or $5, $10. At what point do we say that yes, they may have initially done it for themselves and friends, but now its for the money too. That they have openly said, they will continue doing what they have, and will help others too, is just wrong.
And in my personal opinion? If it is a customized server, if you are altering bosses, or stats, or abilities, then you are not playing the original game, you are making a knock off copy.