World of Warcraft private server Felmyst was shut down just a couple hours after it was released when Blizzard sent a cease-and-desist letter to the creator Gummy52, according to an update from him on the former Felmyst website and forum and from Ars Technica.
The Felmyst server project, which started around four years ago, was a source of happiness for the creator, Gummy52, who is currently unemployed and suffers from muscular dystrophy, a disease passed down through genetics that causes the weakening loss of muscle over time he said in the update. This makes it incredibly hard for those with the disease to be able to do much, and they will eventually need a wheelchair to move around.
“I began this project roughly four years ago and last year when Blizzard began taking action more seriously it weighed heavily on me as not only was I already heavily invested into the work but others around me were as well…,” said Gummy52. “Last year’s news of what Blizzard was doing came at the absolute worst time for me, frankly, with so many years already invested.”
The biggest problem with the server, said Gummy52, is that it became incredibly well-known in the World of Warcraft community before it’s official release. The plan was to have a 3,000 people cap on Felmyst, so that it would be small enough to “enjoy a close community” and ultimately keep Blizzard from shutting it down. Unfortunately, the hype for the server was overwhelming, which is what Gummy52 believes lead to the shut down.
“So why not tell people of that plan ahead of time to stifle hype? The problem with private servers is that there is no middle ground,” said Gummy52. “If people expect a server to ‘only’ have 3000 (real) players then they just won’t play and you’ll instead end up with 300, which isn’t playable.”
Since Gummy52 was directly hosting the server, the cease-and-desist letter was sent directly to him. He didn’t see a need to give hosting privileges to someone else, since he planned on keeping the Felmyst community small.
“Though I have no problem contributing to honest developers, the market to wrongfully profit from this stuff is much too lucrative to hand it out on a whim. Had we time to smooth out the release, this certainly would have been something to explore,” said Gummy52. “The warning signs to expect notice from Blizzard were there but receiving it that quickly was something I don’t think many expected.”
The Felmyst server was meant to bring World of Warcraft back to it’s “Burning Crusade” expansion, according to Ars Technica. This is what caused a majority of the hype around the server, since it would be a nostalgic trip back to the earlier days of World of Warcraft.
“So why did I make this project? I love the game and community, especially the community. The old game was a great way to meet people and see new faces. It makes me happy, and programming makes me happy,” said Gummy52. “Of course, I am sad that things didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped but I don’t think I’d change any of the decisions I made.”
It sucks to see someone’s hard work be thrown away, and gaming companies have recently been more strict on using their IP to create something new. Blizzard isn’t the only company that has done this recently; The Pokémon Company recently shut down Minecraft mod Pixelmon. Although companies have every right to claim their IPs, Gummy52 worked on this project for four years to see it shut down within a few hours of its release.