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World of Warcraft gets shut down in China cover image

World of Warcraft gets shut down in China

#News

Players in mainland China can no longer play Blizzard games such as World of Warcraft, Overwatch 2, Hearthstone, and more.

World of Warcraft has gone offline in mainland China. The popular MMORPG is among other games that got shut down such as Overwatch 2, Hearthstone, Warcraft 3 Reforged, StarCraft, Diablo 3, and Heroes of the Storm.

Players in China say goodbye to World of Warcraft

Players in mainland China can no longer continue their adventures in Azeroth. This is because of the expired licensing agreements between NetEase and Blizzard. For the past 14 years, the agreements allowed Blizzard's games to be available to the country. However, both NetEase and Blizzard weren't able to reach a renewal deal. The result? World of Warcraft servers going offline in China on Jan. 23.
Blizzard's game services have gone offline in mainland China (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Blizzard's game services have gone offline in mainland China (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Is World of Warcraft allowed in China?

Simon Zhu, the president of global investment and partnership at NetEase, expressed his thoughts on LinkedIn about this when the announcement first arrived back in 2022. He stated how heartbroken he is to no longer have access to his account and memories in World of Warcraft, StarCraft, and Overwatch.
"One day, when what has happened behind the scene could be told, developers and gamers will have a whole new level understanding of how much damage a jerk can make," Zhu added. "Feel terrible for players who lived in those worlds."
NetEase addressed the six-month proposal (Image via NetEase on Weixin)
NetEase addressed the six-month proposal (Image via NetEase on Weixin)
Just last week, NetEase also wrote on Weixin that it had rejected Blizzard's offer to extend the game service agreements by six months. NetEase called the proposal unfair because it involved Blizzard continuing its search for a new partner during that period. NetEase also recently dismantled an orc statue on livestream after these failed negotiations.
Players in China can no longer log in to Overwatch 2 (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Players in China can no longer log in to Overwatch 2 (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

Overwatch 2, Hearthstone, and more go offline

The farewell to World of Warcraft in China arrived in the middle of the game's Dragonflight expansion, Overwatch 2's Lunar New Year event, and Hearthstone's March of the Lich King expansion.
Overwatch 2 player NekoMeowww bids farewell (Image via NekoMeowww on Twitter)
Overwatch 2 player NekoMeowww bids farewell (Image via NekoMeowww on Twitter)
Over on Weibo, various players expressed their thoughts on the matter. One Hearthstone fan wrote that they've played the game for seven years. On Twitter, another player said goodbye to Overwatch 2 through screenshots and playing their final games. Some World of Warcraft players also noted the irony of the game server shutting down right after Lunar New Year.
That's all for now. Stay tuned 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!