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World of Warcraft: Lich King finally launches in China

By Alec Meer

Tue 24 Aug 2010 7:28am GMT / 3:28am EDT / 12:28am PDT
Emerging Markets

NetEase releases second WarCraft expansion after two year delay

The second World of WarCraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich king, is to be released in mainland China at last - some two years after its worldwide launch.

The undead-themed add-on had previously struggled to make it past Chinese government censors, who had demanded that overly-morbid imagery be modified. For instance, flesh must be placed over exposed bone on zombie characters.

Having suffered two previous refusals, Chinese licensee Netease has now secured a release date of August 31 this year just as the West gears up for the release of the third expansion, Catacylsm.

Although at one point Netease had submitted a version to the government that did not contain the expansion's new playable class, the Death Knight, the character will be part of this month's release after all.

"World of Warcraft is one of the most popular online games among Chinese players, and we believe that the new content in Wrath of the Lich King will generate even more excitement," said William Ding, CEO of NetEase.

"We are fully prepared on all fronts to provide great service and support to all of the new and returning players throughout China, and we look forward to welcoming them to Northrend."

Added Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime, "We appreciate the continued passion and support that Chinese players have shown for World of Warcraft, and we're working hard to ensure that they have a topnotch gaming experience when Wrath of the Lich King is released."

The Chinese version of Blizzard's MMO has been dogged by problems despite drawing high player numbers - including temporarily shutting down for most of 2009 as licensing transitioned from The9 to Netease. The government's General Administration of Press and Publication had further blocked release following concerns about its effect on younger players.

World of WarCraft finally relaunched this March.

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