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NetEase destroys World of Warcraft orc statue on livestream cover image

NetEase destroys World of Warcraft orc statue on livestream

#News

NetEase dismantled Blizzard’s World of Warcraft orc statue and the iconic Gorehowl on livestream. Here’s what led up to it.

NetEase destroyed Blizzard's World of Warcraft orc statue on a livestream. The orc statue and Gorehowl were torn down a couple of days following failed negotiations between NetEase and Blizzard.

NetEase dismantles the iconic Gorehowl

In addition to the demolition of China's Blizzard offices and the orc statue, Gorehowl was also dismantled during a livestream. Gorehowl refers to an iconic World of Warcraft weapon that both Grom and Garrosh Hellscream once wielded.
The dismantling of Gorehowl (Image via liliandcandy77 on Weixin)
The dismantling of Gorehowl (Image via liliandcandy77 on Weixin)

NetEase rejects Blizzard's offer

On Jan. 17, NetEase posted on Weixin that it had rejected the offer to extend Blizzard's game service agreements by six months. NetEase noted that the proposal involved Blizzard continuing its search for a new partner during those months as well. NetEase added that the proposal was unfair.
NetEase's first point on Weixin addressed the six-month proposal (Image via NetEase on Weixin)
NetEase's first point on Weixin addressed the six-month proposal (Image via NetEase on Weixin)
The post then addressed the rumors about wanting to control Blizzard's intellectual property. NetEase wrote that it never wanted control over that for the past 14 years. As for the archiving the World of Warcraft progress for players in China, NetEase said that's Blizzard's responsibly.

Blizzard Green Tea served at NetEase Coffee

Another post on Weixin showed that NetEase referred to Blizzard as "green tea." This is a derogatory slang term in Chinese that means someone who only acts sweet and innocent on the outside. The post included an image of the menu item as well. The item is called "Blizzard Green Tea."
A menu item called "Blizzard green tea" was served at NetEase Coffee (Image via liliandcandy77 on Weixin)
A menu item called "Blizzard green tea" was served at NetEase Coffee (Image via liliandcandy77 on Weixin)

What happened between NetEase and Blizzard?

Blizzard and NetEase ended a 14-year deal after both parties weren't able to reach an agreement. Blizzard was able to provide game services in China since 2008 through this deal.
"Certain games will no longer be available at end of license with NetEase on January 23, 2023," according to Blizzard's announcement back in November 2022.
This means most of Blizzard's game services for titles such as World of Warcraft, Overwatch 2, and Hearthstone will soon be suspended in mainland China.
"We have put in a great deal of effort and tried with our utmost sincerity to negotiate with Activision Blizzard so that we could continue our collaboration and serve the many dedicated players in China," NetEase CEO William Ding announced as well.
Nathan Lyons-Smith said he hopes to bring Hearthstone back to players in China one day (Image via Blizzard China on Weibo)
Nathan Lyons-Smith said he hopes to bring Hearthstone back to players in China one day (Image via Blizzard China on Weibo)
In December 2022, Blizzard China posted a video on Weibo for Hearthstone players. In the video, Hearthstone executive producer Nathan Lyons-Smith talked about the upcoming suspension of Hearthstone's service in China.
"Please hang in there," Lyons-Smith said. "We're exploring possibilities to bring the game back to you and the community."
More recently, NetEase reportedly disbanded the majority of its staff members on the Shanghai team responsible for operating Blizzard's titles.
That's all for now. Stay tuned on Esports.gg for more news and updates.
Amy Chen
Amy Chen
Editor | Twitter @AmyChenOfficial
Amy Chen is an esports journalist and enthusiast who specializes in in-depth interviews and breaking news. A University of Toronto and Humber College graduate, she is passionate about building up the Canadian esports industry. Her current favorite games are Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, and she has always had a soft spot for World of Warcraft!