World of Warcraft is finally getting back up on its feet in China, but it seems that it didn't do so without making some concessions to China's censorship. We know that when The9 was still in charge, they had to make multiple graphical edits to the game to avoid showing off exposed bones, such as altering the Forsaken models and turning player corpses into gravestones, rather than a skeleton heap.
Now that NetEase is in charge, they've had to make some changes to the game as well, though perhaps not as substantial. Potentially funnier, though. According to this Chinese website, severed heads and skulls have been covered up. Literally. Item icons that would show heads or skulls in other regions of the world are now bags, chests and crates in China. This includes things like Van Cleef's Head, and even spell icons like the ones used by Ruin and Improved Corruption have been replaced by bags.
It makes me curious if these edits include just the icons, or if they tried to justify them in the game world. Are you still looting VanCleef's Head (but placing it in a bag), or are you looting some of his personal effects of proof of the deed? It also makes me wish I had a Chinese account just to see what's all been changed this time around. Is it just spell icons? What's Icecrown going to look like? Did they need to make changes to any instances or raid zones?
It's always unfortunate when this sort of censorship happens, it's really not something you ever like to see, but I really can't help but be intrigued by the idea of the game world I'm playing in being so different for those in other parts of the world. If you happen to be reading us from China (or play on Chinese servers from elsewhere), we'd love to see any other screenshots you might have of what Azeroth looks like from your end.