Nowviskie’s argument is something I’ve had to wrestle with a lot while being engaged to a self-proclaimed Nihilist, or at least, I’ve been contemplating whether it matters in the end and to what effect it does, if it does. To be fair though, my self-proclaimed Nihilist doesn’t really have a very clear definition on his opinions either. But that’s not the point.
Following this kerfuffle between Blizzard and Nostalrius Private Server, I’m sort of brought back to this idea of how do we want to be remembered. For reference, there are a large number of World of Warcraft fans who have been asking Blizzard for ages to create “legacies servers,” or servers that run older versions of the game, which Blizzard has somewhat inelegantly refused to do. It escalated recently when Blizzard shut down a non-profit fan server, Nostalrius Private Server, that was running the original WoW. This goes into copyright, but the largest arguments I have seen about why the community is so upset is because Blizzard is refusing to accept that the community’s fondness of the game is not with their current content, it is with the older content.
This produces an interesting idea. There are the developers’ idea of what WoW’s legacy will be, and that is the most modern iteration of the game. The community on the other hand largely wants to remember the older versions of WoW, either out of nostalgia or perhaps because of quality, but things start to get objective at the point. The point is there is a hard and large clash of perspectives on what a singular game’s legacy will be. Well, to be fair, WoW has shaped the online gaming atmosphere for years, so perhaps that legacy will have a huge effect on the genre for years to come. But, that being the case, then what legacy is “right.” It’s complicated because that’s an opinion, but is it fair for the developers to cling to heavily to something they released on the world and are struggling to control? At the same time, does the community have the right to take an IP and not let it evolve purely out of nostalgia? In the end, whatever gets remember will be a combination of these two major factors, but which one will be the more dominant one?
Fan-servers are becoming increasingly popular as time goes on. While I don’t follow the WoW ones, I am keeping an eye on a huge recreation of a game called Alicia Online. But as much as I am looking forward to the new AO, I’m always wondering if it’s worth trying to recreate an old title. What if instead of recreating AO, they just made AO 2? AO has made its mark, so why does it matter so much to recreate something that’s already had its run? Of course, there’s the issue of copyright that comes up here, but my point is more that why is there this resurgence of needs to recreate the old instead of trying to be innovative?
Nostalgia seems to be having a curious effect on how legacies are going to be shaped now, particularly with the tools to recreate some of those older materials into new mediums. If that’s the case, how do we classify the history of an event? From its original finale? Do we include the recreations? In wanting to make a mark, where does our mark end if it can just be brought back up over and over? And if that’s the case, where does our mark end in our own content and it becomes the product of an entirely different community?