Why I hate most of WoW private servers

I wrote an article explaining why I hate most of the World of Warcraft private servers. This is my personal opinion and if you are a developer I ask you to read the disclaimer first.

I’d appreciate your feedback about it, enjoy!


Reminds me of this one quote from subv I keep seeing at times. : )

Hey Shin,

i want to start by saying that i have respect for you as a person and by no means want to offend you in any way. We had a chat here and there and you are a really nice and open-minded person with a lot of interesting thoughts.

I already gave feedback in discord, but i would like to state and expand my personal opinion on your article here again:

I generally agree with you in most parts of the overall topic.
Sharing and contributing is the most important part in the whole wow emulation scene.
Ive seen a lot of (very small) projects (with a lifespan of 1-2 months) or creators of repacks that act like they wrote everything themself.
The first thing a lot of them do is renaming and rebranding.

HOWEVER - one of the key messages of your article is simply wrong.
Since ive never fully done it before, ive read trough GPL 2 (from june 1991) again - trinitycore is released under this license.

While this might not be true for GPL 3 (haven’t read GPL 3 yet since i dont work on something where GPL 3 is applied), GPL 2 simply doesn’t apply for a so called “private server”.
GPL 2 only covers distribution of the software.
It would apply to everyone that provides a repack, but not for someone hosting a public server (with our without payments involved).
Even if you want to express it with simple words, giving a fact another meaning is a bad approach.

I would also like to criticize you statement of “stealing” but that would take much more time.
So lets head over to a more important thing that collides with your overall statement - as someone who had a private server a while ago, i would like to share my opionion related to your article on 2 sub-topics:

  1. Private Servers and the ideal world example

To keep it simple, we will ignore the fact that the amount of players is the core element that either generates new players for a server or let it (slowly or fast, depending on numbers) die.

Assuming your server doesn’t crash dozens of times on launch day, running a successful “private server” (generating a community/playerbase) is not done with code quality, its marketing. Players don’t just accidentally join your server.
If you are bad at marketing and/or dont have the manpower to create at least a good website and stuff, the only way to generate interest is by providing better playability of content. Why is this important?
In your example of Bob and Alice - lets assume Bob is the guy with better marketing but not the better developer -, Alice would be the looser in this sharing example, since she will loose her only small advantage that keeps the small community on her server because Bobs marketing would pull them over.

  1. Quality and ways to contribute

Depending on the WoW-Server-Emulation project we look at, they all have a different approach on contributing quality.
Standards for contributing to TrinityCore are quite high and require a lot of effort to be accepted since playability is not the primary goal of the TrinityCore project as far as i can tell.
Most of the stuff we “fixed” in our former project wouldn’t have been accepted since it was mostly hacked together for functionality instead of being correct and failsafe.
Therefore, after our project died, we were only able to provide small stuff back to trinitycore that have been well researched and written to met the standards.
But the project and the playerbase enabled us to report bugs that i, as a single person, would never have found. Revealing issues that had been unknown before is also a way of contributing, even if it is a small one.

So, without the intend to offend you in any way, the only message i get from your article is “give credit!”
Every person that has more than a basic understanding of the server emulation scene clearly knows whats up behind the curtains and who is responsible for things.
If you contribute to an open source project, you do it knowingly that there will be people using your “work” without giving a damn on your name.

If you are up for it, take your message to ground zero of your anger - without the intend of promoting anything: ac-wb, owndcor*, *mucoach, (…) - i would love to see the reactions.



Disclaimer for fellow developers


Here I’m trying to explain things in a simple way, so what you are going to read might not be 100% technically accurate/detailed but I really did my best to put things in simple words in order to make it understandable for non-developers.

For example:

[ul][li]I’m aware of GPL not being exaclty like AGPL and I’m aware of the ASP loophole issue[/li]
[li]I know that MaNGOS comes from WoWDaemon and I know that “MaNGOS” wasn’t the only piece but to be fair I should mention other projects of the MaNGOS ecosystem such as ScritpDev2, UDB;[/li]
[li]I’m also aware that MaNGOS wasn’t the only WoW emulator back in the days (sorry Antrix/Ascent/Arcemu guys! it is absolutely not my intention to belittle your work)[/li]
[li]and I’m probably aware of whatever else you might find not 100% accurate from my article.[/li]
HOWEVER… I just didn’t want to make my story more technical than it already is, in order to make any random WoW player understand my point.

This is NOT supposed to be an accurate story of WoW emulation. This is just supposed to make non-technical people aware of what’s going on behind private servers, as nowadays most of them run on MaNGOS-based cores.

This was a great read! I have to agree that these servers that spend all this time and money on developing working content, then die off in a few years and all that hard work is lost, is a crying shame.

Going to necro this old thread because it’s the most relevant topic I could find for some comments related to this.

Some history. Years ago I dabbled in compiling, testing, and even some very newbie level development to modify or alter the code for my own personal entertainment. Started with MaNGOS and later found TrinityCore a better project for me.

Fast forward many years I spent years playing retail WoW until I got pretty unhappy with many of the development decisions and the way the player base was, in my opinion, largely ignored. So I tried out some private servers which I won’t mention here. I share a lot of similar feelings from the OP. I see a lot of money poured into private servers, sometimes even for older expansions that literally never get updates anymore. I suppose they might argue that covers hosting costs, but with the numbers of people who donate large sums of money I doubt some of them lack funds. Do any actually put any real effort into providing fixes back to the open source projects they benefit from? Seems to me there are plenty of starving developers who could do a lot of good with even a small portion of that money and fixes of high enough quality could be submitted back here. The competition between servers probably incentivizes hoarding fixes for personal gain, but that only hurts everyone in the long run with a poorer base product. I’d be really tempted to throw some money at developers instead of mostly useless private server “perks” for a better ecosystem.

It’s definitely the most relevant topic since the author itself did quite the opposite by messing around with licences and preventing development of the main project.

There are some terribly easy fixes that never happen on most private servers. Calendar holiday events with minor broken things that never get fixes during holiday events. Very annoying, but the devs there just don’t care, it’s about fixing raids, dungeons, or current expansion quest bugs mostly. Pet battles on most private servers are a mess and rife with stupid little broken things that shouldn’t be that hard to fix, even as simple as pets not spawning in some zones or just missing simple things. Pet battles, who cares? You’d be surprised and they collect money selling pets on their websites for crying out loud. Doesn’t matter how much you donate either or how many bug reports you file, sometimes zero fixes are ever done on things they happily ignore. Frustrating? Extremely.