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China Blocks WoW: Lich King Release

| 11 Mar 2009 19:15
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MMO giant World of Warcraft has hit a stumbling block in China over the release of its second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King - with the Chinese government preventing its release due to some objectionable content.

As China-based JLM Pacific Epoch reports, the government has twice rejected applications by The9, the Chinese company responsible for licensing and distributing the game. Both applications, submitted after the Chinese Spring Festival ending on February 1, were denied on the basis of content that did not meet requirements - whatever that means.

According to an insider, two specific shortcomings included the presence of skeleton characters and a "city raid." Nor did the submitted version contain the starting area for the game's new Death Knight class, the insider continued. For whatever reason, it seems that China simply doesn't like skeletons in their games - it wouldn't be the first time WoW has been edited in mainland China due to skeleton-related concerns.

The city raid in question is almost certainly the epic mid-expansion event, "Battle for the Undercity," as the ability to just raid the opposing faction's capitals has been in the game since release. One wonders why, exactly, said event would be objectionable - perhaps it's simply an offshoot of the Chinese government's severe phobia of skeletons, what with all the Undead running around the place?

Despite smashing sales records in the West, Blizzard ought to be chomping at the bit to get to the lucrative Chinese market, which makes up a large portion of their playerbase. One can't help but feel slightly sorry for Chinese WoW players - the Death Knight starting area and the Battle for the Undercity are two of the coolest events in the game. Even if the game can pass muster with minimal censoring, they won't be getting the real deal.

(JLM Pacific Epoch, via Massively and GamePolitics)

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