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“I strongly feel that MMOs are a special thing. Trying to save an MMO’s history is like trying to save a festival.”
- Internet Archive historian Jason Scott
A new article from Rock Paper Shotgun explores the lengths that players go to to preserve defunct MMOs -- or even, in the case of the original EverQuest, games that are still running, albeit not in their original form.
The piece details efforts to preserve Star Wars Galaxies and EverQuest on private, emulated servers. Notably, while the server for Star Wars Galaxies -- which shut down in 2011 -- is an unauthorized fan project, the EverQuest server Project 1999 got its blessing from Daybreak Games' former CEO John Smedley.
"He said that they don’t want to paint us as anything other than their number one fans and that we were ‘doing it right.' It’s something that I never thought would happen," says "Nilbog," who maintains a server for the game that offers a snapshot of the game how it looked and played in the early 2000s.
The full article is worth a read, as it delves into issues such as legality and motivation with equal aplomb. And if it whets your appetite for some Star Wars Galaxies history directly from one of its developers, Raph Koster's blog post, A Jedi Saga, is a must-read.
It's also worth noting that while preservation efforts such as these are not legal in the U.S., the Digital MIllennium Copyright Act recently carved out an exemption for single-player games with dead authentication servers.