What happens when online games die or get updates that leave them unrecognizable? Games have advanced since the eras where you could have a complete, physical copy of something on a cartridge or disc and be assured that you could play it forever. Certain things become outdated as clients cease to function, companies abandon products, and servers die. The people who loved these games are still dedicated to them, which leads to unfortunate circumstances.
Companies become a little overzealous about protecting properties sometimes. We have seen multiple instances where alterations, discontinuations, and updates have left us with unrecognizable or unplayable games. Fans take it upon themselves to spend countless hours of their free time making these things live again. We have people who show their love for things that were important to them by making them relevant long after such items are forgotten. Yet, companies keep sucking the life out of these games and us with their greed and insensitivity.
EA is one of these companies that has had no problem showing exactly how much they suck. The Revive Network were a group of fans who made Battlefield 2, Battlefield 2142, and Battlefield Heroes live again. All of these were games that EA left behind. The company didn’t care about them. That is, until they saw people still enjoying them, sent IP Counsel after them, and demanded that the clients, artwork, logos, and trademarks be pulled down. Why? For the sake of intellectual property. Property that they didn’t care enough to keep continuing.
Could this have been resolved better? Absolutely. Sure, take down the artwork, logos, and trademarks. Someone could be misled if such things were seen on a website. They might have thought the Revive Network was affiliated with EA. But what is the harm in letting people update and maintain the client EA didn’t care about anymore? Now, that game will sit, unplayable, because a company decided it had to flex its muscle over things it doesn’t even want to offer anymore. Let the people who loved it keep loving it!
Blizzard is another major offender in this arena. It is no secret that the World of Warcraft now is much different than the one that launched back in 2004. Things look different. The game plays differently. Some people preferred the good old days and want to relive them. They set up legacy servers to preserve happy memories. Except Blizzard keeps shooting them down. Nostalrius and Felmyst are two big ones. Blizzard may even talk with creators of these servers to get ideas, but they never amount to anything. There is no way to experience legacy World of Warcraft.
Blizzard’s actions are a bit more understandable and forgivable. After all, World of Warcraft is a subscription-based MMO. If someone is playing on a legacy server, then they might not be paying for the current version of the game. In this instance, fans’ actions could be costing the company money and causing trouble. But, there are also some who probably have no interest in World of Warcraft at all. Also, doesn’t this demand show that there is a need Blizzard isn’t fulfilling? Doesn’t it prove that this company is also sucking the life and fun out of its fan and older version of its game? It does not seem all that invested in preserving the original World of Warcraft.
Companies should be willing to give a bit of leeway when it comes to classic games. In the instance of games that are long dead and gone, but depended on updated clients and servers, let fans revive them. Just because they’re not profitable doesn’t mean they are obsolete! There are plenty who will still enjoy them! And when it comes to legacy servers for MMOs, why not be a little more lenient and work with people. When you see the demand for such things and feel a need to shut it down, only do so after you have proved you are going to offer a similar service. Let’s keep games alive!
Image Credit: Chenbo