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Emulation (Games) Classic Games (Games) Role Playing (Games)

EQ Emulator Winter's Roar Shut Down 66

grumpygrodyguy writes "Fans of Everquest emulation were dealt a blow today as Sony Online Entertainment threatened Winter's Roar into shutting down their server. WR was home to approximately 350 players and a labor of love for the developers who spent hours a day for nearly 3 years improving this unique game world. WR was a not-for-profit MMORPG that allowed players to play for free as long as they owned the original Everquest client up to and including the Luclin expansions. SOE has threatened WR's hosting company EV1 with legal action unless it ceases and desists service immediately."
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EQ Emulator Winter's Roar Shut Down

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  • What some game companies can't understand is, they make the games, we have fun, they get money. some people have more fun creating than fighting and leveling up.
  • EULA DMCA (Score:1, Redundant)

    by FidelCatsro ( 861135 )
    I would have loved to see this go to court , unfortunately they most likely could not afford to do this so rather than risk anything they have to simply comply .
    Justice ,for the rich.
    • they would lose. unless sony doesnt have a line in it which I doubt they dont, the TOS pretty much spells out you will play this game on their servers only. In the least they could probably get you on hacking, but likely they would try to get you on theft of fees since every person on that server is lost SOE revinue.
      • Re:EULA DMCA (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FidelCatsro ( 861135 )
        That is highly Debatable , the TOS should only apply to the service they provide(The servers ,and use of them) and its questionable as to if the EULA is enforceable (in the UK and Germany it defiantly is not, not sure about the USA though).
        The question of if it is lost revenue is also a problem , It raises two question
        Is it a loss of revenue IE: Would these people have played on the normal servers otherwise.
        Or is it a gain in revenue , Did some of these people buy EQ and the expansions(or gold edition) spec
    • Justice ,for the rich.

      Yes, thats the way it works:

      The Golden Rule: Whoever has the gold makes the rules.

  • Cloners or Creators? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rick the Red ( 307103 ) <Rick,The,Red&gmail,com> on Thursday June 30, 2005 @03:34AM (#12948558) Journal
    They've already cloned the servers, why not just clone the clients too, and tell Sony to climb a rope?

    What? Too much like work? Seriously, if the Open Source community wants to shake the "only cloners" label, why not create an Open MMORPG? It should be easy -- if it's architected well, you can just release a basic shell and let it grow. The players will want a good game, so they'll develop content, enhancements, and bug fixes, right? The Players will be the Developers will be the Artists will be the Community. It should be a perfect application for Open Source. And if you toss in a little BitTorrent and a little Seti@home you could do it serverless peer-to-peer.

    • by FidelCatsro ( 861135 ) <fidelcatsro&gmail,com> on Thursday June 30, 2005 @03:49AM (#12948592) Journal
      like this []
      or []
      Have a look on sourceforge for a few more
      • Eh,

        I'd say Planeshift is kind of ruled out as getting anywhere, really. When I originally found out about it, I was so caught up in fascination, I installed Windows XP back on my computer just so I could play it (ATI Linux drivers, you know).

        Trust me, I don't say this easily, but Planeshift is going no where. I know, its already so well developed, but in truth, there are so many problems behind the scenes.

        A while back, I emailed the project manager for Planeshift and asked him why he didn't use the Sourc
        • One thing the OS community is sadly lacking is designers , and its a major problem .
          We have some of the greatest minds in development , but we are severely short in the art department.
          Now hopefully this will improve as more Apple users embrace OSS as the efforts for computability on OS X keep churning along , but for now were kind of at a major hurdle in this respect( I mention apple here as a great number of layout artists and artists of many flavours favour apple).
          • I don't think designers are lacking in OSS, I think respect for designers is though.

            Design is considered to late in the OSS lifecycle*, if it is considered at all, it is something that needs to change.

            *Gross genralisation, I'll get me coat.
    • An open standard from MMORPG clients would be a nice idea. Then we could have a single game that wil work with multiple clients, ports for different platforms will be available for free, and commercial games will be able to save a bit of time through not having to develop their own protocols. Difficulty would be preventing people from cheating though.
    • What makes you think that them cloning the client would do anything more than make Sony send another C&D and actually start suing? In the end, that's the only reason Winter's Roar alone has to not tell Sony to "climb a rope". I very much doubt it has anything to do with a worry that Sony will start making their clients incompatible with the WR server.

      Now, if WR made a client and server pair that was incompatible with EQ and "enough" different (I'd take Blizzard's C&D against FreeCraft as a possib
    • MMORPGs are the most resource-intensive game you can possibly pick to develop. Open source gaming has failed to develop strong original concepts even in genres which are easy to develop, like turn based strategy. And I say this as a developer (on a game [] which is brand spanking new technology-wise, but is an adaptation of a popular board game [], but for which we would have no users).

      You know what the most popular open-source game is? Free-civ (Civilization 1/2 clone). Digging into actual original titles

  • by Jicksta ( 760596 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @03:40AM (#12948570) Homepage
    Everquest emulation is such a stunning achievement in reverse engineering. I used to run an EQEmu server a couple years ago and being a GM on a server was the most empowering feeling I've ever felt in my life. Not many can say they've killed Kerafyrm [] one-on-one with pure melee and no GM invincibility!

    To this day I owe my sanity to Everquest emulation because it effectively killed my Everquest addiction. Playing as a GM ruined my want to ever want to go back to measly old dictated EQ servers. :)

    More servers will follow. Go to hell SOE. We're going to keep playing.
    • Why on earth was the parent modded Troll?


      Anyway, I must agree that playing an emulated version can help quench that Evercrack addiction. I used to play with EQEmu just on my own system with no remote server. It was an hour or two of fun running around in the zones I never got to see due to my level (only ever hit 30 myself). I also summoned myself all the best cleric armor and weapons I could find, just to see what it all looked like. I did the same for a few other classes with epic weapons I
  • One option (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ghmh ( 73679 )

    would be to host the servers somewhere like the Channel Islands, Luxemburg or similar, where Sony won't have much bullying power.

    I guess Sony is missing a small amount of income from people not playing on their servers. IMHO, they're costing themselves a lot more than they'd hope to (re)gain by doing this sort of thing.

    In fact, the win-win situation would probably be to offer some of these people a job working on upcoming Everquest stuff, but somehow I doubt that's gonna happen.

  • by mcmonkey ( 96054 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @03:50AM (#12948597) Homepage
    Seriously. This won't affect most customers and most won't care, but out of the few that do take note, are they going to be more likely or less likely to buy Sony products in the future?

    And I don't think this fits the old razor/blade example. Sure, MS takes a loss on each x-box, so they don't want you to figure out how to use the hardware without buying games.

    I don't imagine Sony loses money on selling a box and a CD. That's pretty much pure profit. In fact it's better for them. I'm sure the revenue from the monthly fees are great, but then you have to support all those users--servers, developers, support monkeys, etc.

    But then again, Blizzard did the same thing with Bnet, and those folks weren't even paying! You'd think Blizzard would be glad to get them off their servers...

    oh well...

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Doesn't anyone at Sony want to MAKE money?

      I don't think that this shutdown was instigated by SoE marketting people, since as you point out it's a terrible marketting move.

      Far more likely that it's their legal division that has pushed for it since it justifies their existence and hence their salaries, and marketting simply doesn't want to antagonize them.

      I've seen it happen in a lot of big companies, being freelance -- "Group Legal" is always treated as gods, despite being clueless about the product itse
    • Actually from a financial point of view, I believe there are very good reasons for Blizzard not wanting third party servers out there. Blizzard games all have unique cd-keys, and I know a lot of people who buy the game primarily for the valid cd-key in order to able to play online. With third party servers, a valid cd-key is not required. While I cannot be sure how bad the piracy issue actually is, I know that on our local reverse engineered server, almost all the players are using a
      • With third party servers, a valid cd-key is not required.

        Good point.

      • you do realize that no one in their right mind would use their authentic CD key to play on non-blizzard servers?

        then people running those servers would amass a huge number of real cd keys.

        no... they just run a key gen to play on these servers and good that they do.

        now let's recalculate how many real owners just want to play on non-blizz servers...
      • The developer of the most popular emulator wanted to integrate the CD key into their servers, however Blizzard refused to cooperate.
        • That's because giving a random server system that's far beyond your control full access to your highly treasured secret is a bit... dumb. You don't see banks offering random people to connect to their ATM network. Bnetd would be completely unsecured, anyone could take their implementation of the key checker and turn it into a keygen or at least try to randomly guess the keys (while recoding connections to their own server as well, getting a huge list of confirmed CD keys).
          Never mind that Blizzard would prac
    • "Sure, MS takes a loss on each x-box, so they don't want you to figure out how to use the hardware without buying games."

      and their business model is in what way my concern?

      once they sell you the "box" they cease ownership of it. they can fuck off and die, along with those other 2 assholes in the console business. what fucking right do they have restricting the use of hardware you fucking BUY?

      answer that question, legally and morally, they are in the wrong. and i'm talking about laws that, you know, make
      • If you don't want to play along, that's your thing. If selling a complete system at console prices is no longer profitable don't expect them to make more.

        The deal with a console is that the manufacturer basically says "I'll sell you this computer at little or no profit and you don't get full access to it". There are enough PCs on the market, if you don't want to give up control of your system buy a PC.
  • by BaronSprite ( 651436 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @05:08AM (#12948771) Homepage
    I've been developing with the EQEMu project since the ancension from AGX. So far the only time a c&d has been issued was if a server provided a back patch for users to play on their server.

    A backpatch was essentially the older version of the game's client and dll files which would allow it to run on the emulated server. These files however were copyrighted material, which usually would give SoE basis for a C&D.

    The project was previously C&Ded when it obtained the planes of power expansion early and the files were provided on the sourceforge page, but other then that there have been little to no legal issues.

    This wasn't so much as sony being the evil empire, but the fact that you can pretty much dl the game for free then use the provided files off the emulated server's webpage to patch it to a time where it is compatible with the emulated server, this was the problem.

    The client updates have pretty much been the single largest setbacks to the project (besides internal developer fights).
    • and if you DID buy the games and expansions.. wouldn't you have the right to use those copyrighted files?

      seems like to me, the more they squeeze, the more things slip through their fingers.
      • Redistributing copyrighted material violates copyright, no matter whether the receipent legally obtained the material before. Copyright says only you have the right to copy, someone redistributing your files on the net without your permission is copying without having the right. Never mind that someone without the files could just download it as well and get them without ever paying for the material. If some of the downloaders having paid fo r it elsewhere was a legal basis to make it legal Warez sites woul
  • by Domini ( 103836 ) <> on Thursday June 30, 2005 @05:21AM (#12948800) Journal
    Just creating a new game world is not enough. They spent loads of time and money creating the graphics and protocol, on which these other people are piggy-backing.

    Sure these people must still own the legal copy of the game, but this is subsidised by the fact that by playing the legal game on the real server builds a client base. So this argument is invalid.

    Not only is it illegal, but it does have a (long-term) financial impact on Sony.

    Thus is it wrong with the letter and the spirit of the law.

    • Just creating a new game world is not enough. They spent loads of time and money creating the graphics and protocol, on which these other people are piggy-backing.

      BS. You pay full retail price for EQ. And expansion packs. And if you want online patches, you need an account, if it's like other MMO's.

      Just creating a new game world is not enough. They spent loads of time and money creating the graphics and protocol, on which these other people are piggy-backing.

      Not only is it illegal, but it d

      • you can download everquest and the first three expansion packs for free now, with a 30 day trial. The software doesn't cripple after 30 days, only your account.

        replace that account with an account on a non-SOE server, and you've obtained the game free, and can now play for free.

        i can see that you're angry. perhaps you should drink a glass of wine and loosen up a bit.
      • Even though you are a troll, this got me to think some more, and I can add:

        Yes, they have a right to profit. They also had the right to give the software away for free and without restriction... that would have been cool but stupid. They exercised that right... live with it! Somehow you have the misguided impression that you can infringe on companies rights, but individuals' rights are sacred? That's called hypocrisy.

        Open Source has the same misconceptions... it's not about stealing software... It's about
    • since when is their business model any concern of the customers'?

      once they sell them the shiny plastic discs, all bets are off as to how they use it. they are perfectly within their moral right to use it how they see fit. these idiotic laws are against the letter and spirit of fundamental property laws. as long as they buy a copy, they can play on any server they want. though of course, the companies will fight to the death to prevent people from doing just that.

      now if you'll excuse me, i have to tell the
    • No, you don't need to buy a copy.

      You can download the patcher from Sony, and it can download the ENTIRE game, including all retail and online expansions. You need no key to play on their emulated servers.
  • I was told there was a server type for World of Warcraft. I forget the name of it. I was surprised Blizzard didn't shut those guys down especially when they don't like bnetd.
    • by rellix ( 888535 )
      You're thinking of WoW emulation which was quickly shut down before release. There were lots of servers and there probably still are, but they're a bit harder to find. Blizzard has been a much larger bully than EQ, although many people may think otherwise. Blizzard has gone as far as shutting down sites that link to this sort of stuff. As a side note, emulated servers (for all games) are nothing in comparison to live servers (hosted by the companies). Winter's Roar was an exception, in that it changed
    • oh yeah, The WoW EMU community is well alive. Blizzard sent C&Ds to some sites, then (shock horror!) nice 'voluntary C&D' letters [] to others, quite a few caved in, but well...

  • My 2 cp (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I was a very fond WR player. Sometimes I wonder why over the past 6 or 7 years i haven't quit MMoRPG's in general. Honestly, because of my love for what wiz, and the crew created, I will be there at the unveiling of dawntide. I will aid them in any way I can, simply because that crew, has a passion for what they are doing. Argue all you want about who had the rights, and what not, I remember countless hours I spent stuck in walls on eqlive waiting for GM assistance. I remember glitches, bugged content, and
  • Sony Online Entertainment only claim to fame WAS Everquest but now that WoW has over 2 millions users and EQ 1 and 2 only have about 750k subscribers ( about 20% of them are all staion access Duplicates), SOE most to anything in its power to secure its faling product.
  • Reading through the WR forum, there is some mention that the C&D from SOE was in reference to the website, and not the game. A quote from this thread [] in the WR forum:

    The only persistant word rolling around is that Sony issued a Cease and Decist order on the website because of it's references to Sony products. The original owner of, (no longer a part of the staff I assume) must have paniced and told his registrar to drop the website. It takes time to reregister a webs

    • The initial C&D against the website was followed up by a much nastier C&D against the emulating server. (sorry I don't have more detail, but that's the extent of what the server admin said).
  • If SOE provided any real customer support they would have more customers, not only that but the crap they pump out for expansions is unreal. If you go to the actual boards you see class issues that have been around for a year or longer and with promises that it will be looked into. They hardly ever actually deal with problems but they put out expansions that will cause you to fall ebhind the game if you dont buy them, make you an inferior player because of gear. I played Wintersroar, and it had nothing

1 Sagan = Billions & Billions