World of Warcraft private servers were a hot topic in 2016. When the most popular one, called Nostalrius, received a cease and desist letter from Blizzard Entertainment, they went ahead and did so. This shut down, however, greatly impacted all ten thousand players who committed countless hours into the game, as is well explained in this article (link).
On December 17, the Nostalrius team brought their servers back up, this time under the name “Elysium”. Their server maintained a player count of thirty thousand – this is three times more than before shutting down.
Something clearly attracts people to private servers, and throughout social media and forums people voice different opinions on the subject. It has been around seven years since some of blizzard’s customers began to cry out for legacy WoW servers; to give then an option to experience the game before all the changes made to it ever wsince it came out in 2004.
The general consensus between most official WoW players is that those playing on private servers are too poor to afford the monthly subscription of £9.99, or that they’re simply looking through rose tinted glasses. To find out whether that’s true or not, I interviewed a private server player on the subject.
“I first started playing a few years ago, what must have been the summer of 2012, although I’ve only started being more actively involved 2 years ago, when Kronos launched.”
He then goes on to explain why he joined private servers in the first place.
“Having two older brothers, I was initiated in the Warcraft universe from a very young age. However, being only 4 years old when World of Warcraft launched, I couldn’t exactly experience it to the fullest..
Starting to play at the 4th or 5th expansion didn’t make much sense for me, so I decided to take it from the beginning. When I realized that was not possible through official servers, I found out about the private server scene, which fulfilled my needs as a player.”
Naturally, these servers are run by groups of people, and it costs them money to do so. Some organisations, like Elysium, only accept donations. There are also some organisations, like Twinstar, who offer many in-game services like name change or character transfer for a fee. Both types care for their customers, but how well do they go about it, compared to Blizzard?
“I don’t think there is much point for comparison here; Blizzard employees are professionals, while private server staff are people who basically dump most of their free time on a project that is anything but profitable. Nevertheless, their dedication and hard work are admirable and I have the feeling that they care more about their community than Blizzard do for theirs. Of course Blizzard is a company that pays thousands of employees, which makes earning money a top priority for them, but this might have overridden several good aspects that still exist in private server management or even old Blizzard management.”
I asked the player about the risks of playing on a private server.
“Well, when playing on a private server, nothing is certain. The servers’ owners are most of the time average people with average-paid jobs, so running a server might not always be affordable for extended periods of time. There’s always the possible DDoS or even Blizzard pulling the plug, wasting all the time you invested in your characters. Quality is obviously another issue when playing on private servers, since you’re basically playing a replica of Blizzard’s original game, with features and bugs varying from server to server. However, playing there is free, in contrast to official servers, and in most cases the community seems to be more bonded. The advantages of official servers are the disadvantages of private ones and vice versa I guess.”
The general consensus between retail players is that the reason people don’t play official wow is because they don’t want to pay the subscription fee. He argued that this is not the case.
“No. I don’t think 12 eu/month is the reason why someone who loves the game would stop playing it. Even so, with the introduction of game time tokens, you can buy game time for gold, so that’s one less problem for a player who spends the time to farm that gold in the game. There has been a great decline in the number of subscribers after Wrath of the Lich King expansion came out and I think it’s safe to say that the subscription fee wasn’t the cause.”
As mentioned earlier, Nostalrius relaunch counted forty thousand players online at all times, which was a lot more than prior to shut down. This means new people came to try out the game and stayed.
“Since private legacy servers have accumulated a lot of popularity lately, it’s natural for people completely new to the game to get involved. Some of them (most I would say) prefer these legacy servers to the official WoW. It’s like a completely different game altogether. Each one picks their poison.”
Below is an official World of Warcraft player talking about his thoughts on legacy/private servers.
Many aspire to be E – sports athletes. Some want to play like Faker himself, or to experience the industry first hand with their teammates.
But every player, and every team requires a coach help them refine their raw talent and reach their potential. Without them, teams are vulnerable to negative aspects, like infighting or losing motivation.
Faythe “Ruby” Williams, who manages and coaches team “Critical Esports”, together with Amber Louise, have over a year’s experience running a team. The team was formed on March 19, and participated in many online tournaments, ranging from weekly “Go4LoL” to UK ESL Summer Promotions.
I took the opportunity to ask them a few questions on what it’s like to run a team in the competitive video games industry.
Why did you decide to form a team?
For Ruby, she just wanted to coach, that’s one of the things she always wanted to do, so she found a team that wanted her help. For myself, I joined after it was already formed. They needed some organisation to the chaos a bunch of young lads can cause and I’d just come from managing an online radio station. I figured, how much more difficult could it be?
What were the good or fun bits about running the team?
Watching the lads progress. Cheering them on. Then of course the banter on the occasions that they didn’t have to be serious.
You mentioned earlier than you had to step in, because the team needed organisation to the chaos they caused. what kind of struggles are we talking about?
It’s a group of young men, ranging from 16 to 21 and that can get a bit rowdy. Sometimes, it could take a bit of encouragement to get them to knuckle down and focus. But when they did, they got results, so after a while they got into the habit of doing it themselves. Not needing me to come in and tell them off like I was their mother. As well as that, wrangling them for practice was an occasional thing. People can get distracted easily and sometimes I would have to track them down to make sure they got to practice on time.
If a friend of yours decided to found a team and coach it, what advice would you give them?
Take your time in building it and have a lot of patience. I wouldn’t want to put them off, but finding dedicated players of high skill level and the correct staff to support them is a really tough job. Another thing would be to not set goals too high to start with. Unless you have a few hundred grand to create an organisation and create salaried contracts, the time anyone gives you is voluntary. Unfortunately, professional players and staff go where the money is. Start from the bottom and work your way up. Set lower goals like ‘let’s get top 3 in this weekend tournament’ followed by ‘top 3 in a monthly tournament’. If you set a goal of ‘I want us to be in the LCS by next season, then you’re going to be disappointed and your players will get disheartened. And that just doesn’t work for anyone. Be realistic and celebrate the little achievements to keep moral up.
Dynamic queue is a feature that many players looked forward to. Where solo queue mode enabled you to only queue up on your own or with one friend, dynamic queue allows a party of up to five friends playing against the other team, rather than a pair being matched with strangers you never met before. I liked the idea behind it; people no longer had to choose who they invite to a ranked game. The whole purpose of dynamic queue was for more players to get to know each other, and develop relationships. Riot Games saw it as “something a team-based game should have implemented a long time ago.”
While the idea was very appealing, the entire project ruined the game for the vast majority of players. The reason is simple; the competitive integrity is no longer there. Many surveys were made in order for the community to assess the project, and on average, over 60% of the votes are against dynamic queue. This is because, while there are certainly many individuals playing in groups of three or more, those who queue up on their own are put at a massive disadvantage. The game is no longer about who’s the better player; individual performance no longer matters. The deciding factor right now is which premade group is better.
The 60% of votes against dynamic queue come from the players, such as myself, who very much prefer to queue up alone, and occasionally those who simply have nobody to queue up with. The counter argument to this might be that such players should get involved in communities and find people to regularly queue up with. While that’s a fair point at first, one should ask themselves: “Do I deserve to be in the rank I managed to get into with my friends?”
There have been many reports on Reddit about players who genuinely feel they do not deserve their rank after they queued up on their own. In the rare games where none of the teams had any premades of three or more people, the deciding factor was once again individual performance – in my opinion the one, true indication of a good player.
To put it simply, no matter how good people’s ranks are, I no longer see them as a reliable indication of how good they are at the game. Their rank isn’t deserved if it wasn’t achieved through individual performance. Teamwork, while a noble and fitting idea to a team-based game, ruins the competitive side of League of Legends. Follow all the public figures participating in LoL Esports and you’ll see their tweets, each looking exactly like this:
The preseason is live, and with it the changes to the marksman itemization. So far the role has been much more enjoyable compared to season 5, where even popular marksman streamers such as Gosu avoided playing this role at times.
But is the role any more powerful since the rework?
First, the facts – most of the AD Carry items have been nerfed in stats. Examples include Infinity Edge (80 attack damage taken down to 65), Phantom Dancer (55% attack speed to 40%) and statikk shiv (proc damage went down from 100 to 30 – 100 depending on level). On top of that, item prices went up by 100-200 gold. In other words, it now takes longer for marksmen to become relevant in the game.
On the other hand, the summoner spell “teleport” has also been nerfed, having its cooldown increased from four minutes to five when used on towers, causing players to opt for “ignite” rather than teleport, effectively leaving marksmen alone with their supports to battle for lane dominance. No longer are they taken by surprise in a 5v2 fight.
The marksmen have also received new items and a few item reworks. The Rapid Fire Cannon is a great tool for short range carries, as it gives them extra range on their attacks. The Essence Reaver not only provides mana, but now also grants cooldown reduction equal to the amount of critical strike (now halved in patch 5.24). This is a welcome rework in the eyes of caster marksmen mains, who will enjoy using their abilities much more often – we’re already seeing Lucian a lot more often on the rift, than we did in season 5 when he was just a niche pick.
Overall, it looks like bottom lane will now be more dependent on player skill and mechanics, rather than map awareness, as you no longer need to watch out for people with teleport. The item changes allow some of the long forgotten marksmen, such as Ezreal or Lucian to see some light again.
As a marksman player, I definitely think that, although we do not have as much power as we did in season 2, the preseason changes are a step in the right direction, minus the decrease in stats on our items.
#5 Fnatic vs Invictus Gaming – The “Opener”
The very first game to be played at WGS. Fans expected the game to go either way, as both teams are more or less equal in skill. However, the match quickly snowballed in favour Fnatic, and eventually Invictus Gaming surrendered 20 minutes into the game. The pace at which this match played out was refreshing, as most regions are used to a passive playstyle where not much happens in the first 15 minutes. In short, for a week opener, the match between Fnatic and Invictus Gaming undoubtedly delivered.
#4 Counter Logic Gaming vs Flash Wolves – The “Guessing Game”
Given CLG’s performance in the second half of the NA LCS Summer split, most people predicted a quick win for CLG. However, due to Zion’s and Aphromoo’s underperformance early in the game, the match dragged on for just over 41 minutes. Flash wolves gained a lead 10 minutes into the game by camping ZionSpartan, and then proceeded to advance themselves through a series of CLG’s misplays and outrotations, as seen 32 mins into the game where FW claim baron and proceed to push midlane.
Everything looked bad for Counter Logic Gaming… Until their team composition kicked in.
By combining a late game carry (Jinx) with a beefy frontline (Gnar, Alistar) and Pobelter’s (Lulu) ultimate, CLG managed to turn the tables in their favour and close out the game –In an unexpected way, to say the least, as Flash Wolves’ AD Carry Kkramer (Tristana) got caught by Xmithie’s (Elise) cocoon, despite having both summoner spells up as well as Rocket Jump. Although CLG were steadily claiming control over the game’s momentum, it was Kkramer’s death that made FW lose.
I’m putting this match on the 4th place is because it was pretty much a guessing game. No one at the time could tell if CLG would come back or not, particularly the way Kkramer got caught out of position.
#3 SKT Telecom T1 vs Edward Gaming – “It’s all Marin”
It could be said that EDG were giving their fans hope thanks to early dragons, which made it look like they’re quickly gaining advantage. However, a quick look at both teams’ compositions shows that the hope was false, because it is obvious that EDG’s main focus was surviving until late game, while SKT were looking to teamfight as soon as possible.
While EDG’s plan wasn’t exactly bad, they did fail to meet certain criteria in order to pull off their team comp – that criteria being the vision control.
The one thing that EDG wanted to avoid were the teamfights; here, SKT clearly outmatches them with their champion picks, featuring Sivir, Ryze, Renekton and Braum, who provide massive AOE damage and mobility. To do that, EDG needed a lot of wards (which they were lacking) as well as sweepers (SKT had roughly 12 wards on the map at all times, which was enough to catch them offguard). Had EDG controlled the vision, they would have easily been able to outrotate SKT and reach their nexus. Instead, they were forced to contest objectives – and that led to teamfights, which ended up being EDG’s downfall.
Overall, EDG had the potential to win the game by simply outrotating SKT, but because they tilted and lost control of the vision around the map, they became easy pickings for SK Telecom T1 – Marin in particular, who ended up with a 10/0 score by the end of the game.
#2 Origen vs LGD Gaming – “xSoaz!”
Most people on Reddit are amazed with xPeke’s performance in this game, but let’s be honest – who the heck expected SoaZ to backdoor the enemy nexus with Vladimir?!
Honestly, this game was one big roller coaster. For the first 30 minutes of the game, LGD Gaming have been steadily building up their advantage. Nicely fed Imp? Check. Early towers and dragons? Check. KDA Advantage? Check.
So then, why did LGD, who were supposedly one of the most menacing looking (performance wise) teams out there, lose to Origen? I’m looking at the highlights of the game on Youtube, and I see a certain pattern in this match – as soon as the game reaches a 30 minute mark, LGD become complacent, confident of their ability to win the game. And that’s why they begin to misposition as well as hesitate in their decision making, as evidenced by a well executed xPeke’s (Orianna) ult, and LGD Gaming dancing between dragon and baron, deciding on whether to defend one or take the other. At this point I assume LGD lost momentum, and had such a hard time focusing on the game, that they hardly saw SoaZ approach their nexus from botlane, because they were so busy contesting baron. All of the above allowed an easy backdoor on LGD’s base, and eventually their defeat.
On a side note, I would also agree with what Saintvicious said about the pick and ban phase – Acorn (LGD) picking up Malphite looked good on paper, but in reality this champ’s playstyle is too linear and predictable to pull out on an international tournament.
#1 Cloud 9 vs Fnatic – “EU vs NA!”
Let me just tell you straight away that this game is probably the most difficult to talk about. It was clear from the beginning that FNC are better at rotating than C9, as seen by LemonNation dying in… unusual places, including the tier 3 top tower, right at the core of the enemy base. It was also clear that Lemon wasn’t exactly playing at his best. His Morgana pick was the key to success, and although C9 did win in the end, their early game looked underwhelming due to Lemon getting caught in various places or shielding the wrong targets.
The baron fights were also key; I found it bizarre that Cloud 9 tried to take down the baron when it was clearly warded by Fnatic – heck, they could see it right next to their pink ward, and yet they didn’t take it out. Hence the baron got stolen by FNC, giving them a huge lead.
However, the tables turned when the exact same situation happened a little later in the game, except it was Fnatic taking down the baron, and Hai managed to steal it. Thanks to that, Cloud 9 managed to kill the dragon for extra bonuses, force a teamfight (in which Balls scored a pentakill) and effectively finish the game. A huge comeback from Cloud 9 turned the game into the most entertaining game to watch in week 1, thus the first place.