Despite having an audience here in China that makes up half of its international player base, Blizzard Inc. has had little luck getting its popular expansion of the World of Warcraft franchise onto Chinese shores… until now! That’s right, Chinese WoW players, you can now FINALLY play the Wrath of the Lich King expansion – almost two years after it first came out everywhere else.
The delays stem from the difficulty Chinese distributor Netease has had retaining operating rights to the massively popular online game. The company had previously gone to the Ministry of Culture for approval of the game, only to be slapped hard with a ban from the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), the organization they apparently should have appealed to instead.
That’s right, even Chinese companies seem to have difficulty figuring out whose approval means what.
GAPP deemed several aspects of the game “unhealthy and violent” – such as the appearance of bones on the Undead race of characters and blood colors being switched from red to black. Nitpicky? Chinese users thought so too and jumped to servers in Taiwan in such numbers that it actually disabled them for a while.
To make “Wrath of the Lich King,” the second expansion, playable, Netease had to do those requisite changes as well. Yesterday,a href=”http://www.pacificepoch.com/newsstories?id=1626081_0_5_0_M”> GAPP’s Shanghai branch confirmed that it had approved whatever Netease cleaned up.
Unfortunately, the wait’s not quite over. The company still needs to allow one week for the expansion’s game number to be released and half a month for the operation permit from the Ministry of Culture (yep, they’re not quite out of the equation yet) – which means that the earliest WoW players here can start leveling up to 80 and playing as Death Knights… or something… is August 18.