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Note that Wowpedia does not allow any links to, or naming of, emulated servers. See also WP:DNP.

Emulated servers, also known as sandboxes or private servers, are private environments running the World of Warcraft game client after having reverse-engineered the game's server architecture. This consists in a breach of the World of Warcraft End-User License Agreement, which requires the user to agree not to connect to unauthorized emulated servers. Blizzard has made substantial effort to prevent the authoring, distribution and hosting of third party game servers, with responses including legal action against their developers and sites.


Emulated servers are usually created by writing or using custom emulation software which mimics the behavior of an official game server. For this reason, players are experiencing a third party product that may have new or different features and bugs from the official servers. Some servers offer incentives or advantages to play upon them such as custom or new items, access to cheap or free items and equipment, boosted experience and drop rates, disabled fall damage, access to inaccessible areas, the ability to go to war with your own faction, ability to go past the current level cap, instant max level, or even Game Master powers for certain users. In the majority of cases, the purpose of a private server is to make money off donations or micro-transactions (such as buying special items).

Scripted events, such as boss encounters and many newer quests, are often broken on private servers and must be updated manually. For instance, around the time of Cataclysm's release, private servers were still trying to script bosses in Icecrown Citadel. With the extensive use of phasing in Cataclysm private servers are likely to decline significantly.

Blizzard policy[]

Datamining and Content Creation | 2018-01-31 00:00 | Blizzard Entertainment Ythisens

Hello everyone!

As you can imagine, we’re all extremely excited for the upcoming Battle for Azeroth Alpha, and we’re delighted to see that you’re just as excited as we are. However, we’d like to take a moment to remind everyone on our stance on what methods are acceptable for creating content based on game files and which are not.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that reverse-engineering the WoW server architecture in order to get the WoW client running in a private environment is not allowed. This is not only a violation of the WoW Terms of Service, but also several copyright and intellectual property laws. Content created using these methods may be subject to legal action, including DMCA takedowns and copyright strikes on third-party hosts such as YouTube and Twitch.

We are aware that a few fansites and content creators have been creating custom software that allows them to view WoW models and other visual assets in an environment that is similar to WoW, but does not actually use the WoW client itself in any way. These applications are, at their core, very similar to the third-party model viewers that have been available to the community for quite some time, and in their current form, are not considered a violation. As such, these methods are considered acceptable for content creation.

We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and respect toward copyright laws, and can’t wait to share Battle for Azeroth with you all once it’s ready for public testing.


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  1. EULA Section 4, Subsection B, Paragraph iv, "Responsibilities of End User." World of Warcraft End User License Agreement page. Retrieved on 2007-07-20.
  2. "bnetd", Wikipedia