As promised, on January 23, 2023, after 14 years of cooperation between Blizzard and NetEase, in China stopped working Games from an American developer, including World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Diablo (excluding Diablo Immortal) and Overwatch 2.
A VPN does not help in this case: a private network allows Chinese players to access Blizzard games in other regions, but local servers are disabled – all the money spent on projects actually disappeared along with the characters.
As one might expect, the mood in the Chinese segment is characterized by pessimism. Millions of users (Chinese World of Warcraft audience was 3 million people) said goodbye to your favorite games.
portal noob club reported that some players gave a massive farewell to World of Warcraft and other projects (see screenshot above), and the release The guard quotes frustrated users of the Chinese social network Weibo:
- “This is the end”— one player wrote, accompanying his message with a crying emoji;
- “It wasn’t just a game, it was the memory of an entire generation [юных китайцев]»– said another user;
- “Two companies have taken the players hostage”,- counted the 30-year-old U.
China’s own microblogging of Blizzard games too commented former Hearthstone development lead Ben Brode, who now runs Marvel Snap: “God, how sad”.
Speaking to The Guardian, a Blizzard China representative assured that Chinese servers will be shut down “not the end”but only “temporary suspension”. User data will be restored when (if) the games return to China.
It is reported that Blizzard Entertainment is already in talks with several new potential partners. Among the candidates called even The9, which released World of Warcraft in China before NetEase.