Blizzard Drops the Hammer on Popular Vanilla World of Warcraft Nostalrius Private Servers

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Blizzard Drops the Hammer on Popular Vanilla World of Warcraft Nostalrius Private Servers

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One of the most popular private World of Warcraft vanilla servers is shutting down after receiving a cease and desist from Blizzard.

World of Warcraft may be headed for its sixth expansion, but there are a lot of players who yearn for the days of the game as it was at launch, known as "vanilla" WoW.Since Blizzard doesn't offer an option to play on these types of servers, pirated versions of the vanilla servers often show up.

One of the most popular of these servers was Nostalrius Begins, a private server run by a group of volunteers. The group has 800,000 registered users and over 150,000 active users, according to their own statements.

The Nostalrius servers offered players a chance to play WoW as it was in the the beginning, and the team behind it was in the process of adding progression just as the original game did, with the 40-player Ahn'Qiraj raid.

The Nostalrius team received a cease and desist notice from Blizzard earlier this week, and in response, the group announced that the servers will close down as of 23:00 server time, April 10, 2016.

This isn't surprising, as private servers have always been illegal under Blizzard's rules. But this may not be the end for the server, at least not entirely. In the announcement that the servers were closing, the team also announced plans to release all their work for others.

"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."

Of course, anyone else who starts up a project like this will be likely to receive the same response from Blizzard. That's why the team at Nostalrius also penned a petition letter to Mike Morhaime, the President of Blizzard Entertainment. In that letter, they urge the company to consider creating legacy servers of its own.

The company has been asked for years to create such servers, and has always stated that it would not do so. Tom Chilton, WoW's lead designer, had this to say about private servers in a 2010 interview with WoWHead.

Currently, my answer would be probably not. The reason I say that is because any massively multiplayer game that has pretty much ever existed and has ever done any expansions has always gotten the nostalgia of, "Oh God, wouldn't it be great if we could have classic servers!" and more than anything else that generally proves to be nostalgia. In most cases - in almost all cases - the way it ends up playing out is that the game wasn't as good back then as people remember it being and then when those servers become available, they go play there for a little bit and quickly remember that it wasn't quite as good as what they remembered in their minds and they don't play there anymore and you set up all these servers and you dedicated all this hardware to it and it really doesn't get much use. So, for me, the historical lesson is that it's not a very good idea to do *laughs* - it's a great idea to talk about.

What do you think? Should Blizzard pull the plug on these servers, offer their own, or just ignore them entirely? Tell us what you think in the forums!

Permalink

Legality aside, I'm surprised this exists. Level 60 WoW was ludicrously flawed, and the game got infinitely better with BC and Wrath (after which I stopped playing, so I can't comment on later content). There were seriously 150,000 people still interested in 40-man raiding content from a decade ago? Yikes.

There is a reason I run DOSBox and a Windows XP virtual machine: sometimes, the old games are just what you want.
Such is the case with World of Warcraft. The fact that they had 150K active users shows that the classic days before blood elves and worgen and whatever bus the plot took to Twin Peaks are still viable.

Blizzard should just let them have it. It's not like they're gonna be rolling out vanilla servers and making oodles of money off of it.

If someone purchased Vanilla WoW they should be able to play Vanilla WoW. It's not like they're hurting anyone by doing so.

Blizzard could offer the option, why not if it's got 800,000 registered users? Then they could claim harm.

150000 times 14(?) euros a month...
Answer seems pretty easy to me.
These players KNOW what they are getting themselves into, so let them! Geez...

5 man content in vanilla was the most fun I've ever had in an online game. I want it back.

it's not a matter of IF Blizzard will enable legacy servers, but WHEN. that kind of division of the player base has larger consequences to the economy of the game as a whole, so this will be end-game plans for WoW.

after they've announced their final expansion, and the pending death of WoW, they'll open up legacy servers trying to reel in all the old subs for one last gangbang. business-wise, i get it, but it sucks waiting for.

ffronw:

One of the most popular of these servers was Nostalrius Begins, a private server run by a group of volunteers. The group has 800,000 registered users and over 150,000 active users, according to their own statements.

ffronw:
according to their own statements.

Right.

In any case they were already having some issues with paying for the servers http://forum.nostalrius.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=37403

I'll never really understand the vanilla fascination, it was my favorite time in the game but it had nothing to do with the game and all to do with the people, which is why I've enjoyed Warlords significantly more than Wrath, Cata, or MoP, the latter two of which I barely even touched. I'd agree that the game forced you to be more social back then, but there's nothing preventing that at this point in the game.

For those who actually want the facts;

They were already going to shut down on April 10th due to the bills. Last month they decided to stop taking donations and instead if you want to donate you have to go directly to the Server Host, who forces you to pay in bulk, in other words the whole bill or nothing. The bill wasn't paid. It was going down anyway but this is a convenient out for shitposters so they can blame Blizzard despite the fact that in this one instance they did everything by the book.

SOURCE:
http://forum.nostalrius.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=37403

Thanks to Paula Deen on the MMO-Champion forums.

Yojoo:
Legality aside, I'm surprised this exists. Level 60 WoW was ludicrously flawed, and the game got infinitely better with BC and Wrath (after which I stopped playing, so I can't comment on later content). There were seriously 150,000 people still interested in 40-man raiding content from a decade ago? Yikes.

I played until the end of BC and played for a short time in wrath, personally I feel the game started it's decline somewhere around the first two addons, mostly through additions that were designed to make things easier or more convenient for the players. I felt like teamwork got less and less necessary, at the end of bc the groups
I ended up in became more like a bunch of npcs, at least concerning the amount of communication that those people engaged in. But I agree that vanilla was flawed.

Last december I got a craving to play wow again, to see how it is today. I certainly can understand why people would want legacy servers compared to that. Dungeons are mind-numbingly easy, you are just moving from enemy to enemy without pause. Thanks to crossrealm play and the dungeonfinder tool you have no problem to find quickly a group. While that is certainly positive compared to looking for hours after partymembers in vanilla, it means a single player doesn't have to worry about a bad reputation, so they don't have to try their best.
Personally I feel that those things are bad for the sense of community among the players, I felt quite alone even when I was playing with others.

Another thing I would beg the developers from earlier versions would be the old talentsystem. The thing the game has today is awful, I was more flexible as a shadowpriest in vanilla than today with the stupid dualskillsystem.

tl.dr.
The private server certainly shows that legacy servers could be profitable, it would also be nice to preserve the old game, since there are probably a lot of players who never experienced the game before cataclysm and might be curious about it.
As a player who experienced the game today and during vanilla I can understand why people would want the old version and I can't say that it's only due to nostalgia.

Neonsilver:

Last december I got a craving to play wow again, to see how it is today. I certainly can understand why people would want legacy servers compared to that. Dungeons are mind-numbingly easy, you are just moving from enemy to enemy without pause.

I take pretty big issue with this complaint when people bring it up, as the game has fundamentally changed so much. Play Heroics at the beginning of an expansion and they're generally still harder than level 60 five mans were in vanilla. Gear distribution has massively improved (gotten worse?) so the average player now has much better gear than they ever did in vanilla. Coming in right now and saying ah it's all a joke is like getting 15 people in AQ40/Naxx gear in vanilla and crushing UBRS. Sure things were hard right at 60 and only wearing dungeon gear, but by the time I got Thunderfury in vanilla and had even just a mix of MC/BWL gear, five mans with a group of similarly geared people were a complete joke. Yes I mostly just mentioned that last bit to get a nostalgic brag about my TF. Also ZG tiger. JT out. /mic drop

Neonsilver:

tl.dr.
The private server certainly shows that legacy servers could be profitable,

So profitable that Nostralius went bust because of it's finances.

It's not surprising, when this private server is offering a better game than the official product. I dropped out about halfway through Cataclysm, long after Blizzard had irrevocably damaged the game's sense of community with cross-realm PvP and Dungeons that had no incentive for communication or building any kind of lasting bond with other players.

Justank:

I take pretty big issue with this complaint when people bring it up, as the game has fundamentally changed so much. Play Heroics at the beginning of an expansion and they're generally still harder than level 60 five mans were in vanilla. Gear distribution has massively improved (gotten worse?) so the average player now has much better gear than they ever did in vanilla. Coming in right now and saying ah it's all a joke is like getting 15 people in AQ40/Naxx gear in vanilla and crushing UBRS. Sure things were hard right at 60 and only wearing dungeon gear, but by the time I got Thunderfury in vanilla and had even just a mix of MC/BWL gear, five mans with a group of similarly geared people were a complete joke. Yes I mostly just mentioned that last bit to get a nostalgic brag about my TF. Also ZG tiger. JT out. /mic drop

Allow me to give a short description about my first run in a dungeon in the current version of WoW.
I just startet playing again, had mostly green equipment with some blues from questing. I started with asking the group for things I have to look out for in the dungeon, specifically during the boss fights. I didn't get an answer and while I was still writing the question my group had already killed the first few enemies without me. Since I was the healer I was surprised that they didn't even lose half of their health.
Anyway back to my question, I never received an answer and considering how the group was playing I can only assume that they knew about it as much as I did.
There wasn't a hint of actual strategy and I actually couldn't determine who was actually the tank in the group. They were running from enemy to enemy without breaks to discuss a plan. During the bossfights they were running around like headless chickens and didn't seem to avoid the ao attacks of the bosses, considering the amount of groupheals I had to throw around.
Maybe it's my nostalgia googles, but I'm certain this kind of group wouldn't survive in vanilla, maybe with tier2 gear or better, definitely not with the kind of equipment I had. I admit I didn't look at the equipment of the group and not that I actually had the time to do that.

My measurement for the difficulty is the amount of strategy necessary to make a run through a dungeon playable. In vanilla the dungeons were very easy as well, if everyone was working together even if the group wasn't well equipped. Good equipment could make up for bad strategy, but wasn't a complete replacement. Compare that to the described run, no strategy at all and while I had a lot to do as a healer, it was still easier than some runs in vanilla with just one moron unable to follow a strategy.

Vedrenne:

Neonsilver:

tl.dr.
The private server certainly shows that legacy servers could be profitable,

So profitable that Nostralius went bust because of it's finances.

The server demonstrates that there is a considerable demand for legacy servers. They couldn't actually ask for fees, otherwise they would have gotten a lot more than a cease and desist from blizzard.

Neonsilver:

Allow me to give a short description about my first run in a dungeon in the current version of WoW.

So in other words you're basing your experience of current WoW's dungeons on the ones that are usually done by people clad in Heirlooms (aka. Items that are specifically meant to make levelling up as quick & easy as possible?)

At least two of my friends are going to be super angry, they were wow "purists" who were regulars on Nostalrius because they really hated how the expansions changed the base game.

They tried to rope me along, so played WoW for the first time on Nostalrius and....honestly it just proved to me mmos aren't my thing xD Though the fun I did have with my friends, was all about them hard dungeons (in particular that underground place in the NE starter area that is absolutely infested with monsters and is supposed to be a notorious noob trap, it had skeletons from dead players EVERYWHERE). Still I can at least say i tried Wow now, but as my friends kept on playing to high levels on this server, they are gonna be right pissed by this news.

Update: My friends are going to "Khronos" (dunno if it's spelt with a C or K in this case) private server instead. Hopefully for them blizz won't be sending them a c and d there any time soon.

Aeshi:

Neonsilver:

Allow me to give a short description about my first run in a dungeon in the current version of WoW.

So in other words you're basing your experience of current WoW's dungeons on the ones that are usually done by people clad in Heirlooms (aka. Items that are specifically meant to make levelling up as quick & easy as possible?)

I didn't look at their equipment as I didn't have the time to do that. It wasn't my only experience, but I felt it showed best why I feel the dungeons are to easy.

My point is, that in my opinion that group would have wiped several times, even with very good equipment in vanilla, with bad equipment it would have been nearly impossible to clear a dungeon with that kind of group. My complaint is not that it's to easy to get equipment that allows you to curb stomp the trashmobs.

Seriously I had a harder time in normal dungeons with just one bad partymember in burning crusade with complete epic equipment than this.

Is it just me, or does this smell ever-so-faintly of the same situation with YouTube and fair use? Granted I don't think this would be covered by fair use, but to me at least, it has a similar "feel" to the situation with companies trying to lay claim to let's-play videos and stamp out critical reviews that use clips of gameplay or, in the case of movies, footage.

Neonsilver:
snip

That's my point though, a couple people in full AQ40 gear could have easily steamrolled a 5 man in vanilla and the average player now can get 700 iLvl through Tanaan or PvP gear with much less effort than anything in vanilla, which is equivalent to Mythic BRF or normal/early Heroic HFC. So roughly AQ40 in vanilla. At 742 on my Prot Warrior right now I can solo all but a couple Mythic dungeons (due to specific boss mechanics), while Heroics are laughable. Get a group of people around 670 or 680 iLvl and do Mythic dungeons. You'll have to care about mechanics, and I daresay you'll wipe a few times. Or try some Challenge mode dungeons, not shooting for gold timer or anything, just for fun. It's likely much more of what you're looking for.

Now if you want to debate the tier skipping catch up mechanics that allow people to maintain relatively current gear levels without nearly the time and effort it took in vanilla, that's a whole different animal. The difficulty of dungeons/mob mechanics themselves is not the issue though. Honestly they're much more engaging now than they ever were in vanilla.

Yojoo:
Legality aside, I'm surprised this exists. Level 60 WoW was ludicrously flawed, and the game got infinitely better with BC and Wrath (after which I stopped playing, so I can't comment on later content). There were seriously 150,000 people still interested in 40-man raiding content from a decade ago? Yikes.

There's people who refuse to play Pokemon outside of RBY because they don't consider the other gens true games. Not even the GBA remakes.

If Blizzard announces Legacy servers at BlizCon, as of this story, I'm not biting.

't was a sad day for me indeed, Nostalrius did the vanilla thing for well over a year, proving that there is indeed a community for it.

The appeal of Vanilla probably is that it's hard work to get anywhere, getting full epic gear is a hard won achievement and time investment, despite it's flaws, it's the version I enjoy the most.

Yojoo:
Legality aside, I'm surprised this exists. Level 60 WoW was ludicrously flawed, and the game got infinitely better with BC and Wrath (after which I stopped playing, so I can't comment on later content). There were seriously 150,000 people still interested in 40-man raiding content from a decade ago? Yikes.

There will always be a committed chunk who believe the original was better. A game this size, I'm not really surprised there were this many people.

So are they offering a way to play 1.0 wow on their servers because I don't see how this hurts their bottom line at all.

The funny bit is, a Vanilla server might actually get me to resub to WoW. Especially if they'd roll out the content at a reasonable pace, more or less replicating how it went originally. I quit WoW in half way through TBC and didn't come back until the end of Pandaria. I missed all the good bits. And I just couldn't get back into it at that point. It also bugged me that I didn't get to properly experience a lot of the content during leveling, as it was basically obsolete. Getting to do it all over again might just be worth $15 a month from me.

image

OK. Now they do this? After how many years?

Yep, it's clear. WoW is starting to bleed more and more of its players. This is the act of a desperate publisher. They went for the private servers in the hope of leeching players off of them. Yeah, they let them emulate classic WoW before and do their dirty work for them, but now their own cash cow is beginning to run dry, guess it's time to pay up.

BTW, fun fact. Gif I posted is ironically from Make Love, Not Warcraft.

What's the matter, Blizzard-ACTIVISION? Afraid that private server are gonna surpass your regular player base?

This is another reason for me not to trust online only games. If the publisher decides they want to change the game and you don't get to play the old version anymore than you are out of luck. Some games allow me to play older versions if I want and some games apparently send me cease and desist orders if I try to play the old version. If you are asking for 60 bucks up front I think that I should be entitled to play with what I bought, not with something else that you claim is just as good. That stops being your call to make after you sold the thing. It might not work that way legally but it should.

Arnoxthe1:
image

OK. Now they do this? After how many years?

Yep, it's clear. WoW is starting to bleed more and more of its players. This is the act of a desperate publisher. They went for the private servers in the hope of leeching players off of them. Yeah, they let them emulate classic WoW before and do their dirty work for them, but now their own cash cow is beginning to run dry, guess it's time to pay up.

BTW, fun fact. Gif I posted is ironically from Make Love, Not Warcraft.

Have you played Vanilla WOW? At all?

Have you gotten to level 60 and raidied in Blackrock Moutain? Or did a PVP raid on a capital city?

Did you know that many classes were not viable for raiding at all? So playing a certain class was pointless for progression. Did you know that Naxrammas required EIGHT Warrior Tanks to kill a certain boss?

Vanilla WOW may had its great moments and at times is better then live, but godamn it the game can be increadibly frustrating, depressing, grindy.

Samtemdo8:
Have you played Vanilla WOW? At all?

Have you gotten to level 60 and raidied in Blackrock Moutain? Or did a PVP raid on a capital city?

Did you know that many classes were not viable for raiding at all? So playing a certain class was pointless for progression. Did you know that Naxrammas required EIGHT Warrior Tanks to kill a certain boss?

Vanilla WOW may had its great moments and at times is better then live, but godamn it the game can be increadibly frustrating, depressing, grindy.

Well, they've got a 150,000 user playerbase, so I think that says a lot. :P Maybe they don't play it for the raids?

But really, none of that has anything to do with Blizzard being douches here.

I've been a long term player of WoW, started late Vanilla and only quit in Warlords. People always like to put words in the mouths of others and assume that nobody wants to play Vanilla because it's a 'grindfest' etc. Lots of us LOVE Vanilla because of these features. WoW before Wotlk felt a lot more like a 'traditional' RPG as opposed to the more mechanical based raiding of the later expansions (this started with Wrath, in my opinion). As someone who has raided heroic in every single expansion (including AQ etc in Vanilla, only sections I missed out on were Throne of Thunder in Mists and Firelands), I can see why people would prefer the newer content. This doesn't excuse the fact that MANY people simply prefer the simpler gameplay in Vanilla/TBC. It's certainly much less of an action-RPG approach and while the game is a lot slower in general, it's so, SO much more satisfying to reach your goals.

WoW has become a themepark MMO. There's exclusively a focus on the endgame, and the levelingis far too streamlined to reach that point (you can simply queue your way to 100 if that's what you desire, with fully loomed groups able to pull multiple rooms at once etc). The lack of importance placed upon the leveling is also demonstrated by the ability to purchase a max level character ("b-but you don't HAVE to purchase it!" lmao). The beauty of Vanilla is that it's less about the destination, and more about the journey. The times I had on Nostalrius (and yes, I did reach 60 which people who zealously defend retail will dispute to the bitter end) were among the most memorable times I've had in WoW (or even video games for that matter) in the past ~8 years. You're actually forced to think about what you're doing when you level, and you're encouraged to actually group up/socialize. Dungeons are a lot more difficult, and to the previous poster who stated that heroics at the start of an expansion are harder than Vanilla 60 5 mans? Not true. The only time this has been the case has been initial Burning Crusade heroics when finally hitting 70, and the overtuned Cataclysm 5 man heroics (which I absolutely loved until Blizzard nerfed them to the ground).

Raiding in Vanilla was never the end goal. Sure, you can turn up to raids and earn some gear, but on those off days you'd utilize the gear you earned to carry out your standard tasks more efficiently out in the world. You actually do out and do stuff. In Warlords (and Mists, to a lesser extent), gear obtained from raids is utilized mainly for efficient raiding. You're hardly out in the world doing anything and this is the key pitfall. Maybe Legion will fix these problems, maybe not. But Blizzard are shooting themselves in the foot for not supporting legacy servers (I'd personally gladly pay a subscription fee for them). When a bunch of devs only relying on donations for server upkeep can do it, it's hard to believe that Blizzard's official stance on legacy servers have any merit, when you consider the fact that subscription fees would most likely cover the costs.

Bradmaster Flash:
Dungeons are a lot more difficult, and to the previous poster who stated that heroics at the start of an expansion are harder than Vanilla 60 5 mans? Not true. The only time this has been the case has been initial Burning Crusade heroics when finally hitting 70, and the overtuned Cataclysm 5 man heroics (which I absolutely loved until Blizzard nerfed them to the ground).

That's why Mythic dungeons exist. Not that any of the "WoW has become too easy!" crowd ever seem to acknowledge that those exist, because apparently they can play the same "boring" Heroic 500 times but playing the Mythic version once would just be treading old ground.

Aeshi:
That's why Mythic dungeons exist. Not that any of the "WoW has become too easy!" crowd ever seem to acknowledge that those exist, because apparently they can play the same "boring" Heroic 500 times but playing the Mythic version once would just be treading old ground.

I never said that there aren't any redeeming aspects in WoD. Mythic dungeons are a step in the right direction, and apparently HFC is a great raid (if you're going to focus on the endgame in an expansion though, how about having more than TWO whole tiers?).

There's a clear decline in the amount of content WoW is pushing per expansion. Let me break it down for you:
Vanilla 23 dungeons, 7 raids (assuming UBRS is a raid and not a dungeon, Stratholme considered 2 instances and Dire Maul considered 3), 8 of these dungeons considered 'endgame'.
TBC 16 dungeons, 9 Raids. All dungeons considered endgame because of heroic level.
Wotlk 16 dungeons, 8 raids. All dungeons considered endgame because of heroic level.
Cataclysm 14 dungeons, 6 raids. All dungeons considered endgame because of heroic level.
Mists of Pandaria 9 dungeons, 5 raids. All dungeons considered endgame because of heroic level.
WoD 8 Dungeons, 3 Raids. All dungeons considered endgame because of heroic level.

I'm not necessarily saying that WoD's content is bad. The dungeon design was pretty nice, and the raids were decent (although I thought Highmaul was awful and that's one third of the entire raid content). There's just a lack of content overall.

Are you actually going to deny that WoW as a general (not talking mythic endgame) has become a lot easier over time though? Pretty much every other aspect of it has become easier and that's not the direction us private server players want it to take. Give us challenges outside of raiding!

There were more aspects to the game than just the dungeons and raiding. One of the things that I miss most from the early days of Vanilla and BC was honestly crafting. It is what kept me playing, knowing I had a skill that was actually interesting and it required me a good deal of work to actually make the high level items that were actually useful.

I enjoyed jumping through hoops to be an armor and weaponsmith, I enjoyed having to make choices when playing a leather worker. Tailoring had it's rewards and so did engineering. Enchanting and alchemy were in demand and even when they added jewelers, it gave at least something to keep coming back to.

WotLK and later expansions slowly stripped away the sense of accomplishment that came from high level crafting as many top tier dungeons for each expansion made what ever you actually worked hard to craft almost immediately worthless and the general high speed of leveling that now exists in the game makes even crafting feel like a worthless endeavor... outside of cooking (for buffs), enchanting (for buffs), alchemy (for buffs), gem cutting (for those slots), and inscribing... any of the actual real crafting professions that produced wearable items just seemed to fall to the wayside as late WotLK, Cata, and later came rolling down the pipe.

Having come from a background of games like EVE Online or the old Star Wars Galaxies and other similar MMOs where there was a viable crafting community that keeps the world rolling, the slow but complete murder of crafting by Blizzard in WoW just detracted more and more from the appeal of the game... obviously focusing more and more on just raiding, instant gratification dungeons, battlegrounds, and their failed attempt at the PvP E-Sport scene with Arena that also detrimentally to the greater feel of the game during the Vanilla/BC era.

Yes, it was grindy but it was not a terrible form of grindy for those who were willing to put in the work for it.

Honestly, the point where they started handing out 'welfare' epics via their badge system introduced at the tail end of BC... handing out items for little real effort that pretty much made sure that anything you actually crafted or worked for was negated with the next major content update was really the first nail in the coffin of the game.

So yeah, if they actually would roll out an official Vanilla/BC era set of servers, that would be wonderful. It would be nice to revist the game back when it was actually interesting and even slightly engaging. Perhaps provide some standard of living improvements but let people go back and have a bit of fun before the writing went down hill and the badges ruined the appeal.

Hmm. I'm impressed they could even do this on a technical level, but I'm not surprised they got shut down.

This kind of thing is important from a long-term historical point of view (that is, the technical ability for people other than the creator to run servers of some kind), in that this will at some point be the only way anyone could possibly experience most MMO's.

That aside, doing this while the game's official servers are still up and running seems like you're just asking for problems.
Even if your motivation is doing something the official servers do not, it still seems like you'll get taken down sooner or later.

Pity.

Hmmh.
Remind me to look for a Matrix online server at some point. XD

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