World of Warcraft legacy servers are popular, offering the vanilla experience of the game before its universe was expanded via expansion packs. Usually these projects are shut down due to Blizzard’s intervention, but this time the Elysium server suffered at the hands of the developers themselves after an embezzlement scandal.
The Elysium Project was founded to revive old builds of World of Warcraft that were buried under the many adjustments Blizzard has made over the years. Elysium ultimately helped one of the most popular legacy servers to date, Nostalrius, find its feet after Blizzard sent its most prominent cease and desist letter in years before eclipsing it entirely, resulting in Nostalrius developers closing up shop to avoid becoming a piracy server.
Since then, Elysium has been the go-to for vanilla enthusiasts. That is, at least, until two of the developers had been caught red handed embezzling donations meant to keep the server alive, using the money for “personal financial reasons.”
“The Elysium Project as it exists today is no longer a viable project due to the systemic problem of lack of oversight on those with the most access to the servers,” reads a statement posted by former Elysium members. “Due to failures to uphold the projects ideals and integrity, the Elysium Project is being dissolved and relaunched out of the control of those who have abused the trust of the staff, community, and legacy movement as a whole.”
The remainder of the statement describes how one former team member, Shenna, took approximately €2,000 of the donations for personal use, whereas another member, Crogge, started a gold-selling business tied to the project.
In individual joint statements, both Shenna and Crogge confirmed that the allegations were true, attempting to place reasoning, or rather excuses, behind the actions.
“Yes, due to mine and my family’s personal problems, I did receive some money for a personal use, but at the end of the day it helped to spend more time here maintaining the servers,” wrote Sheena. “We didn’t want to resort to [gold] sales, but donations were extremely limited, and it was either we do limited sales or we shut down Elysium,” Sheena continued in a separate joint statement.
“That is not an excuse, just the reality of the situation,” said Sheena and Crogge. “This was not known (neither was the financial struggles we were having) by most of the Elysium team. We do not mean to defend this position, only be more upfront about it.”
This has resulted in Elysium dissolving, with former members taking the server data to found Light’s Hope, dedicated to continuing the old legacy server.
“The core team that are stepping down from the Elysium Project are coalescing around the foundational ideals this project is supposed to represent and are relaunching/rebranding as Lights Hope. The servers will be relaunched with the backups created prior to the posting of this announcement, though there may be some data not saved that encompasses an hour or two prior.”
Sheena and Crogge have since said that they feel betrayed by the former members abandoning the project and taking the data, while they both plan to continue to work on getting Elysium working again despite the smaller team.
KitGuru Says: It’s a sad turn of events for the fans who have poured their love, support and finances into helping a fan-made server being the best it can be. Unfortunately, that is the nature of supporting unofficial or yet-to-be-realised products, so please proceed with caution when investing your money. Will you be avoiding Elysium and the perpetrators from now on?