Nostalrius was a private World of Warcraft server created in 2015. The server featured a version of the game called "Vanilla", or, one of the first versions of the game (Version 1.12). The server host received a Cease and Desist letter from Blizzard Entertainment and so the server was shut down on April 10, 2016, leading to unprecedented protests on Facebook and Twitter and large scale coverage in mainstream computing journalism.
It was one of the most successful private servers to date, with over 800,000 accounts registered and 150,000 active accounts. Since the conclusion of Nostalrius servers, a discussion about the possibility of Blizzard opening "Legacy" servers has begun.
The existence of World of Warcraft private servers is controversial, and it is often debated as to whether or not they are legal, given that the code and databases for them are created by people external to Blizzard.
The bnetd case is sometimes cited as a precedent for World of Warcraft private servers being illegal in the United States. Although bnetd and World of Warcraft private servers are both reverse engineered from game server software, bnetd compatible game client software, such as StarCraft and Diablo II, was sold commercially with unique CD keys. In the bnetd case, the Eighth Circuit ruled that these CD keys were a copy protection device under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. A fully functional trial version of the World of Warcraft client, in contrast, has always been available to download without charge and without any apparent copy protection device.
Mangos / getMaNGOS was the first widely used emulator for private world of warcraft servers. Started in Summer 2005 by TheLuda (Founder of Mangos) it has grown to become one of the biggest names in the wow server emulator community.
Mangos / getMaNGOS is unique in that it is the only known project to have "test servers". These are not like traditional private servers - they are different in the fact that they are supported by the developers of getMaNGOS. They are up 24x7x365 and are designed to act as closely as possible to the original Blizzard servers. Players on the getMaNGOS test servers are able to report bugs directly to the getMaNGOS team to be fixed, allowing players to be directly involved in making the content as "Blizzlike" as possible for the test servers as well as others because of getMaNGOS's open-source nature. All fixes / corrections are released into the main source repositories as soon as testing is complete. No Fees / charges are ever requested.
There are three types of servers, which are "standard", "test servers" and "custom." Standard servers are almost strictly vanilla official content only, while custom servers are heavily modified servers which include content that was not created by Blizzard Entertainment.
Test servers are only known to be run by Covenant-Wow on behalf of getmangos. Test servers are similar to standard servers, except they are run & backed directly by the team developing the emulating software. Because of this, test servers have a large development community supporting them and also publish all fixes publicly.
There are also four classes of servers, which are Player-versus-Environment (PvE), Player-versus-Player (PvP), Role-Play (RP), and Role-Play Player-versus-Player (RPPvP). Most private servers are PVP Realms.
Please note that this is not a final timeline. You should rather consider it as an indicative timeline.
|Available at launch|
|Molten Core||Available at launch|
|Dire Maul||1 month after Onyxia's Lair and Molten Core is cleared|
|Blackwing Lair||2 months after Onyxia's Lair and Molten Core is cleared|
|Zul’Gurub/T0.5 quests||1 month after Blackwing Lair is cleared|
|Ahn'Qiraj War Effort||2 months after Blackwing Lair is cleared|
|Dragons of Nightmare||Soon after Ahn'Qiraj War Effort begins|
|Ahn'Qiraj||After War Effort and gate event is completed|
|Scourge Invasion||2 months after Ahn'Qiraj Temple is cleared|
|Naxrammas||2 months after the Scourge Invasion begins|