World of Warcraft Finally Classified in Australia

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World of Warcraft Finally Classified in Australia

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It took them awhile to get around to it, but Australia's Classification Board has finally issued a rating for World of Warcraft, Blizzard's megahit MMOG that was released in 2004.

You didn't even know this was an issue, did you? Amazingly, in classification-happy Australia, the most popular videogame in history has never actually been classified, floating along instead in a kind of limbo in which everyone apparently just pretended not to notice it was there. A report in June that Australia was planning to begin filtering websites that offered game content beyond the MA15+ rating brought to light the fact that MMOGs had an "exemption" from the rating system, although how or why that exemption came about was never made clear.

But it doesn't matter now, because the Classification Board has finally decided that it likes the game, so it's going to put a sticker on it. The board issued a classification for World of Warcraft, The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King yesterday, giving all three games an M rating (recommended for mature audiences) for "fantasy violence" and variable online content.

A Blizzard rep told Gamespot that it has been working at getting this business wrapped up for quite awhile now, but the Australian system just wasn't equipped to handle online games. "Back in 2004, we were advised by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) that the online-only nature of World of Warcraft was unclassifiable under its definition of computer games at that time," he said. "Recent changes at the Classification Board have led to their ability to classify online only games such as World of Warcraft."

The board declined to comment on what those changes might be, however, saying only that it "has been following developments in online gaming."

What could have suddenly "developed" in a half-decade-old MMOG is completely beyond me but a search of the Classification Board database indicates that this may not be a matter of evolving standards so much as sheer randomness. Despite the suggestion that something has changed in the rules, the Classification Board issued a rating for the MMOG World War 2 Online all the way back in 2001. Star Wars Galaxies was rated in 2006, while the Eighth Anniversary edition of Ultima Online was classified in 2005. Other MMOGs, meanwhile, like Age of Conan, Warhammer Online and Planetside, remain unclassified. That's not exactly what I'd call a cohesive and functional rating process at work.

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.......So..... did anything change then? If Yahtzee was able to play WoW then clearly it wasn't banned there before now..

So wait, Does this mean that for the last 5 years people in Australia could not get/play this game cos of its lack of classification? Because that sounds like something Blizz would have been pushing for the Australia Classification Board to do, as they are a bit short on cast at the mo and thous extra few subscribers would really help them out

-M

Malygris:
What could have suddenly "developed" in a half-decade-old MMOG is completely beyond me but a search of the Classification Board database indicates that this may not be a matter of evolving standards so much as sheer randomness. Despite the suggestion that something has changed in the rules, the Classification Board issued a rating for the MMOG World War 2 Online all the way back in 2001. Star Wars Galaxies was rated in 2006, while the Eighth Anniversary edition of Ultima Online was classified in 2005. Other MMOGs, meanwhile, like Age of Conan, Warhammer Online and Planetside, remain unclassified. That's not exactly what I'd call a cohesive and functional rating process at work.

Way to call them on their bullshit, Malygris. ;-)

"A Blizzard rep told Gamespot that it has been working at getting this business wrapped up for quite awhile now, but the Australian system just wasn't equipped to handle online games"

Is it just me or is the Australian censorship system not equipped to handle any games? They seem to ban anything with the slightest inclination of ..content. Any content.

If I'm correct then an "M" is equivalent to an 18 here in Britain... Is this really right?

zagzag:
If I'm correct then an "M" is equivalent to an 18 here in Britain... Is this really right?

No, "M" is actually one step down from "MA15+". I believe that MA15+ cannot legally be sold to anyone under 15, while M games are more, "You probably shouldn't be playing this but we'll leave it up to your parents to decide." Unfortunately, I can't say for sure because the Classification Board website pukes out with a 404 error if you try to access information on what any of the ratings actually mean.

zagzag:
If I'm correct then an "M" is equivalent to an 18 here in Britain... Is this really right?

OFLC scale of classification.

Wow...AU has some weird relations with games (from all the news)

Malygris:
What could have suddenly "developed" in a half-decade-old MMOG is completely beyond me but a search of the Classification Board database indicates that this may not be a matter of evolving standards so much as sheer randomness. Despite the suggestion that something has changed in the rules, the Classification Board issued a rating for the MMOG World War 2 Online all the way back in 2001. Star Wars Galaxies was rated in 2006, while the Eighth Anniversary edition of Ultima Online was classified in 2005. Other MMOGs, meanwhile, like Age of Conan, Warhammer Online and Planetside, remain unclassified. That's not exactly what I'd call a cohesive and functional rating process at work.

Expect nothing less from Australia, they're well known for being douchebags about the games industry.

Wait, What? WoW wasn't classified? Why didn't i hear? Does this make any difference to people in Australia?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I'm glad I don't live in Australia.

Yay. Now Austrailia can become "addicted" to WoW like half the US.
OT: We're one step closer to completely undermining the entire Austrailian PC regime. PC is so freaking useless...

I propose we just hire an assassin to get rid of Michael Atkinson to put an end to this madness.

oppp7:
Yay. Now Austrailia can become "addicted" to WoW like half the US.

Err....WoW has been available in Australia since release. It's only some strange loophole that allows it to be here without classification...or something like that.

oppp7:
Yay. Now Austrailia can become "addicted" to WoW like half the US.

America only has a population of around 6 million? I've been lied to for so long!

yourbeliefs:
.......So..... did anything change then? If Yahtzee was able to play WoW then clearly it wasn't banned there before now..

He might have played it before moving to the land of down under from our Glorious (and wet) land.

Amnestic:

oppp7:
Yay. Now Austrailia can become "addicted" to WoW like half the US.

America only has a population of around 6 million? I've been lied to for so long!

Its all a conspiracy by the government. Of course ;)

Smells like "let's all laugh at Australia again" in here.

Not appreciated. I say one thing about American politics and i'll get torn to shreds, but it's ok to pay out the Aussies, cos we Australians all think everything is a joke, right?

Cind:
Smells like "let's all laugh at Australia again" in here.

Not appreciated. I say one thing about American politics and i'll get torn to shreds, but it's ok to pay out the Aussies, cos we Australians all think everything is a joke, right?

Apparently you haven't checked out the Modern Warfare 2 CSM thread. Feel free to say things about American politics - in their proper thread. Considering how many people who aren't American browse these forums, you may find yourself with more people agreeing with you than you might think. Of course people are going to make comments about Australians in a thread about Australia's gaming classification :P

/Go on, insult Britain's politics.
//I'll one up you on that topic.
///Gordon Brown looks like his face is made out of a scrotum.

Is it just me or are Austrailia trying to become a bad press magnet among us or what?

Ugh. Can America just invade us already?

Cind:
Not appreciated. I say one thing about American politics and i'll get torn to shreds, but it's ok to pay out the Aussies, cos we Australians all think everything is a joke, right?

Oh, don't be angry. Some day, Australia will grow up to be big and strong, and then you can play big people games along with all the rest of us.

There you go. Now run along and play (with your videogames that are suitable for children aged 15 years and under.)

Yay. Even though there's likely at least a hundred thousand already playing it.

welcome to Australian bureaucracy, like american/british bureaucracy but upside-down.

Makes you wonder wether the world would be better off under the old british empire eh? Sure you would have to bow before your bowler hatted masters, but at least we'd rate the frickin game when it was released.

(i'm English btw before i get sniped by angry people)

Malygris:

Cind:
Not appreciated. I say one thing about American politics and i'll get torn to shreds, but it's ok to pay out the Aussies, cos we Australians all think everything is a joke, right?

Oh, don't be angry. Some day, Australia will grow up to be big and strong, and then you can play big people games along with all the rest of us.

There you go. Now run along and play (with your videogames that are suitable for children aged 15 years and under.)

I still don't understand how the original God of War games got in with no problem, yet now there are SO MANY problems with games getting in.

I blame Rudd.

Was there like some loop hole that allowed WoW to be sold anyway? I mean, i've played WoW with Aussies before. I know they like to import, but i don't know...maybe i just need to pay attention more. It sucks that the Australian Board has yet to pull it's head from it's arse, and i's sorry for those who suffer under their retarded rule.

But...
I saw WoW a game store last week!
I know people who play it!
WHAT THE FUCK?!

Wow, that game is T in the States. What's made them think it was so much more violent than other games?

WoW is rated M? Seriously? There isnt even any blood in it, well not that i can remember.

It's going to be hilarious when Catacalysm comes out. Australians will still have the non-altered terrain of Azeroth, while everyone else will see it scorched.

"OH BOY! LOOK AT HOW COLORFUL THIS LANDSCAPE IS! I SURE HOPE THEY DON'T RUIN IT!"

Malygris:

zagzag:
If I'm correct then an "M" is equivalent to an 18 here in Britain... Is this really right?

No, "M" is actually one step down from "MA15+". I believe that MA15+ cannot legally be sold to anyone under 15, while M games are more, "You probably shouldn't be playing this but we'll leave it up to your parents to decide." Unfortunately, I can't say for sure because the Classification Board website pukes out with a 404 error if you try to access information on what any of the ratings actually mean.

M15+ is like Halo. Not ultra violent, but you know... it's there.
MA15+ can't be legally sold to anyone under the age of 15, because of the content within it, but no one checks ID's.
R18+ is... wait... Ah, shit...

Onmi:

Malygris:

Cind:
Not appreciated. I say one thing about American politics and i'll get torn to shreds, but it's ok to pay out the Aussies, cos we Australians all think everything is a joke, right?

Oh, don't be angry. Some day, Australia will grow up to be big and strong, and then you can play big people games along with all the rest of us.

There you go. Now run along and play (with your videogames that are suitable for children aged 15 years and under.)

I still don't understand how the original God of War games got in with no problem, yet now there are SO MANY problems with games getting in.

I blame Rudd.

Not his fault. We didn't have a working classification system while lil' Johnny Howard was in power either.

Marq:
Ugh. Can America just invade us already?

We had a meeting about it. Apparently, the game lobby fears that you'll consume us.

Plus, you have a lot of spiders, bro.

Deleric:
It's going to be hilarious when Catacalysm comes out. Australians will still have the non-altered terrain of Azeroth, while everyone else will see it scorched.

"OH BOY! LOOK AT HOW COLORFUL THIS LANDSCAPE IS! I SURE HOPE THEY DON'T RUIN IT!"

Cataclysm will have altered landscape for everyone, even those who don't have the game.

paragon1:
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I'm glad I don't live in Australia.

And we in Australia are also very glad you don't.

Marq:
Ugh. Can America just invade us already?

America can't afford it. Wait until mid next year (when the Au$ == US$) and then aussies will be able to buy the best bits of the US (as our minimum wage is double theirs and we actually have jobs....).

TechNoFear:

paragon1:
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I'm glad I don't live in Australia.

And we in Australia are also very glad you don't.

HA! Well then, I guess we can all just be happy internet friends and play Left 4 Dead 2 together. Oh wait.

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