As noted previously, the team running the Nostalrius private/pirate vanilla WoW server, which was effectively shut down by Blizzard back in April, an event which caused a good deal of attention to be focused on the whole nostalgia server question.
Ever mindful of the mob… see flying in Draenor… said they would at least consider the whole alternate server idea, inviting Nostalrius to come speak to the Blizz team in Irvine. (I keep putting Blizz in Anaheim in my head, because that is where BlizzCon happens, rather than in Irvine, which is on the other side of Santa Ana, where their offices actually are. It’s not that far away… it is all in the OC… but is incorrect.)
Give the opportunity to meed with Blizzard, the Nostalrius wanted to have some data to hand beyond their server stats, so put together a survey to get a sense of their community.
Surveys are misused constantly, so I am always dubious about generalizing too much from results. But Nostalrius did get 50,000 respondents to their survey. 20,000 responses had to be culled from that batch as they gave what were called “incoherent” responses, where the respondent gave conflicting information. Examples were indicating that they had played a given expansion on a Blizz server but indicating elsewhere that they had never played on a Blizz server.
That still left 30,000 responses. And while that is largely from an admittedly self-selecting group, so long as you treat it as such… don’t, for example generalize out to “all WoW players” from the results… you can gain some insight, or at least food for thought.
Of the respondents , the majority of whom are in their 20s, have played retail WoW at some point, and were not playing retail WoW at the time of the survey, money was not a listed as a major factor for most.
Additionally, when asked which expansions they had played on retail, over 60% of respondents indicated that they had played any given expansion.
So this is not necessarily a batch of freeloaders seeking a cheap time, something players on private/pirate servers have been painted as previously.
One of the side details noted in the survey results was that the age range of respondents indicated that many of them were likely too young to have actually played vanilla WoW back in the day. For them, seeing vanilla is only an option through such server.
The ranking of the expansions (0 to 10, with 10 being the best) was interesting, but unsurprising for this group. Basically, Cataclysm is viewed as the breaking point. Before Cataclysm, vanilla and the two expansions, The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, are rated very favorably. But Cataclysm and beyond are rated much less favorably, with Warlords of Draenor at the bottom of the list.
Wrath of the Lich King, the worst ranked of the first three phases of the game seems pretty well liked when compared to the Warlords of Draenor.
I would imagine that WoD gets an extra helping of negative due to it being the current state of the game, but that is still a pretty negative view from this particular group.
Of course, one of the things that this highlights is that there are differing views as to where nostalgia really lies, as I note previously.
And then there is the question as to what, if anything, Blizzard will with any of this. My bet still rests on, “little to nothing.”
Anyway, the charts I used above are all part of a nine page summary of the survey, available as a PDF file here. There is more in the summary, I just cherry picked a few items that interested me. The full report is said to range out to 80 pages and will be made available at some future date.
Hat Tip to Massively OP