World of Warcraft
in China has seen some six weeks of downtime
as government regulators process their approval of the transition to operator NetEase. It's in the midst of a partial return in the form of a free to play closed beta
But an online game-focused consumer site, MMOSite.com, has captured some screenshots
that show that WoW
in China may not be quite the same as it ever was.
An official content review
from Chinese Government entity the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) that concluded on July 22nd resulted in a number of changes to Blizzard's popular MMO to allow it to restart.
According to the MMOSite report, the lack of specific age ratings for games in China make issues like showing bones or the undead a gray area -- especially in light of a Chinese media controversy that occurred over a World Of Warcraft
subway advertisement that included 'undead' characters.
Not only have piles of bones in the NetEase-run Chinese version of World Of Warcraft
been newly replaced with sandbags, but the color of blood from some monsters and opponents has been changed from red to black, leading to community jokes about petroleum running through characters' veins.
In addition, several of World Of Warcraft
's in-game talent tree icons that included skulls, severed heads, and blood have been changed to become boxes. (A previous change
-- that undead in-game characters have had visible skeletal bone structures 'touched up' to remove them -- also endures in the NetEase-run version of the game.)
Gamasutra has contacted Blizzard for comment on the changes, and will update if any official statement is released.
: Added information on previous, less extensive July 2007 changes
to World Of Warcraft