The very popular fan server Nostalrius where you can play the vanilla version of World of Warcraft is being shut down by Blizzard. The server was up and running for a year and had 800,000 registered users of whom 150,000 were active. April 10 will be the last day that players can visit the server.
Nostalrius makes use of World of Warcraft v1.12, a version that was released shortly before the launch of Burning Crusade in 2006. But with all the subsequent patches, updates and expansions, some people obviously felt something was lost and longed for the original.
The reason behind the closure is obviously monetary. Blizzard earns its money from people playing, and on fanservers you play for free. The people behind Nostalrius says there hasn't been money involved and they consider what they are doing nothing more than fan service. Some people simply like the original World of Warcraft more than any modern edition and this way they have been able to play something that is not available elsewhere.
Nostalrius hasn't given up entirely though and will release everything online, hoping that someone else will pick up where they left. This is their official farewell:
"We know the time you spent here, the guilds you were part of, and these people with whom you have shared experiences with. We know the strength of these links, and we also know that they do not need a special WoW realm to survive. However, we will still be publicly providing everything needed in order to setup your own "Nostalrius" if you are willing to.
Today is also the day where Nostalrius will start being community-driven in the truest sense of the word, as we will be releasing the source code, and anonymized players data (encrypting personal account data), so the community as a whole will decide the form of the future of Nostalrius. We will still be there in the background if you want us to, but will no longer take the lead."
Another possible path would be that Blizzard takes a page out of Everquest's book and offers a vanilla version of the game for older fans to enjoy while still paying for a subscription.