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Posts with tag chinese

Mists of Pandaria beta: A guide to pandaren pronunciation

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Mists of Pandaria brings us an all-new continent with a ton of brand-new races, quests, storylines, and characters. Along with those characters comes a whole host of names that look a lot easier to pronounce than they actually are. With names commonly found in the troll race, it's a simple matter of navigating your way around all of the apostrophes. Old Gods, for the most part, sound just like they are spelled. But with the names you find in Mists, there's an actual precedent for pronunciation, and most words definitely don't sound like they look.

Simon, one of our readers who also happens to be fluent in Chinese, took some time out of his busy day to drop an email in my inbox detailing just a few of the Chinese words, their meaning, and their actual pronunciations. According to Simon, many of the names you'll encounter in Mists are actually written using the standard PinYin system, which, when accurate, is usually pronounced differently than how it looks.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Wrath of the Lich King: China's version

China is rejoicing at the release of Wrath of the Lich King (finally!), but the game they will be playing looks a little different from the version everyone else is playing now. Chinagame.178.com, a Bejing-based English site for gaming news has posted an interesting article with some screenshots of just what will be changing in Wrath. Included are shots of the before and after purging of skulls from various items in the game, as well as some surprising model changes.

The censorship issue isn't exactly a new one -- changes have been made to the game dating all the way back to when The9 was handling the property. But it's still interesting to see exactly how an expansion like Wrath, which is centered around a storyline involving the Lich King, master of the undead, has been adapted to make it suitable according to China's requirements. It does make me wonder though -- what's Icecrown Citadel and the final fight against the Lich King himself going to look like? Is China going to miss out on Marrowgar's bonestorms? Check out the full article for screenshots and commentary.

[Thanks, Gabriel!]

Filed under: News items, Wrath of the Lich King

China is finally getting Wrath of the Lich King

It's been a long, hard, ridiculous road for Blizzard to get the Chinese government's approval to make Wrath of the Lich King content available to their citizens. So ridiculous, in fact, that it's difficult to nail down just which related stories are the most important. We could tell you about:
And there's a ton more to it. But we might finally be nearing the end of this sordid story, according to the Wall Street Journal. Wrath of the Lich King is set to launch in China next week, barring any more instances of draconian politics, censorship, or mismanagement. Let's just hope that nobody in China wants to play as a death knight.

Filed under: Wrath of the Lich King

Blizzard and The9 fined $212,000 for copyright infringement in China

From Worlds in Motion we've learned that Blizzard has suffered yet another setback in China.

As reported by JLM Pacific Epoch, the Beijing Municipal Higher People's Court has found that The9, Blizzard's onetime partner in China violated the copyrights of five Chinese fonts owned by Founder Technology Group. The9, Blizzard, and two other parties have been ordered to pay a fine of RMB 1.45 million, or approximately US$ 212,000. The9 has appealed the order to the People's Supreme Court. (Lovely place by the way. Just watch the steps.)

To recap, Blizzard had licensed World of Warcraft to The9 to distribute the game in China. Apparently, in localizing the game for China, The9 used five fonts for the Chinese text in game. However, these fonts are owned by Founder Technology Group, who sued The9 and Blizzard for copyright infringement in 2007, requesting damages of RMB 100M, or about US$ 13M. In September 2007, when The Burning Crusade was released in China, all of the Founder Technology Group fonts were replaced with fonts that Blizzard had permission to use "as a gesture of goodwill to the gaming community" "without any admission of liability."

Given the rocky relationship between The9 and Blizzard, it is likely that this fine will be yet another bone of contention between the companies and that responsibility for this fine may end up being decided in yet another court battle. Stay tuned!

Filed under: News items, The Lawbringer

NYT: GAPP and Ministry of Culture clashing over Chinese WoW regulation

The New York Times has brought its journalistic bear to the story earlier this week about China deciding not to approve WoW's release over there under new service provider Netease, and it seems what we thought was confusion between two agencies has turned into a war. On one side, you have the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), who earlier this week said that Netease (WoW's local provider of Blizzard's game in China) could not legally be collecting subscriptions on a game that GAPP hadn't yet approved. But on the other side is the Ministry of Culture, who did approve WoW's content when it was run by The9, and are now saying that GAPP "overstepped its authority" by thinking it could "penalize online gaming" at all.

Which means that the silly game of World of Warcraft has fallen smack dab in between two government agencies lobbying for power. In the past, says the NYT, GAPP has approved games pre-release, and the Ministry of Culture has overseen games once they've started running online. But WoW is a weird exception (it has been online for a few years already, and only went offline when Blizzard switched providers), and it looks like both agencies are grabbing for power and the sizable fees that come along with regulation. If they continue to clash, it'll be up to the State Council, China's cabinet, to determine who's in charge. And the NYT says if that happens, the Ministry of Culture has the edge, with lots of friends in the cabinet already.

Meanwhile, Netease hasn't taken the game offline yet, apparently -- they still haven't been given official notice to do so. There's no word on how long this will take to shake out, but even China's players are tired of the fighting; they just want to get back into Azeroth and play.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Filed under: Realm Status, News items, Economy

Wrath expected in China in mid-November

Because of all the chaos (from switched providers to government approval) on China's version of World of Warcraft, they haven't actually had a chance to release the Wrath expansion over there yet. They were planning to bring it out ASAP, but that obviously never worked out. But we hear now, finally, that the wait is almost over. They are still going through content checks, and Netease (WoW's new provider over there) says it has some more work to do, but at this point they're aiming for a mid-November release.

This doesn't mean much for us in the rest of the world -- and before you commenters mention goldsellers, know that most "Chinese goldfarmers" actually play on NA/EU servers anyway, and have been doing so even with the outage overseas. It does, however, mean that China's guilds and playerbase at large will finally have access to all of the content we've enjoyed for almost a year (the expansion was released in North America and Europe last November 13th -- remember that?), including death knights, the new Naxxramas, and all of the other Northrend content. The release should be a nice bonus for Netease as well -- they've been working hard to try and get the game up to date, and releasing the current expansion should help bring in a nice group of new customers.

Filed under: Patches, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW back online in China


The long wait is finally over -- World of Warcraft's servers are finally back online in China after they went offline all the way back at the beginning of June, due to a switch between former host The9 and current host NetEase. It took a while for the government to approve the move (and some have even suggested that the delay wasn't completely legit), but things are finally back to business as usual, according to a few sources out of China.

A few more interesting facts have arisen with this news as well: apparently NetEase has spent over a million yuan (about $146,000) per day to keep up and maintain the game and its servers during the past month of closed beta and free play. Of course, that includes customer support and all the other costs.

Even with that price, however, the company is still expected to grow. We haven't heard any population numbers worldwide for WoW since this whole deal began, but you have to think that they lost at least a few players due to all of the problems. Of course, the release of Wrath over there may bring back some players, but even though they were planning to have it out before all of this happened, the switchover has delayed it even further. All they need is more government approval, but as the outage proved, that can sometimes be hard to get.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, News items, Wrath of the Lich King, Hardware

Is China's WoW delay politically motivated?


I don't presume to know much about trade policy or international relations, so I'll just pass you this link to a story over on VentureBeat and let you decide for yourself. You probably have already heard that Blizzard has had plenty of trouble trying to bring World of Warcraft back online in China -- they've been waiting on approval from the Chinese government's General Administration of Press and Publication, which has already mandated a few changes to the game. Dean Takahashi at VB suggests that rather than being a technical issue, the delay may actually be political and/or economically motivated: the US and China have been bumping gently lately over exports and imports, and Takahashi suggests that Blizzard's game may have gotten caught in the middle. The GAPP, he says, may be holding the game back, concerned that such a popular foreign game might be released again on their soil.

Fortunately, even Takahashi says it's unsubstantiated -- WoW is likely to go back online in China in a matter of days, and the delays could just as easily have been administrative errors. But I do agree with Takahashi that it's worth watching -- China is cautious about allowing foreign manufacturers to sell to their citizens, and video games are no exception.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Economy, Wrath of the Lich King

Chinese WoW wraps up closed beta, to start charging soon


It looks like the long saga of World of Warcraft's transfer of operatorship in China is almost finally over -- NetEase has announced that the closed beta period is done with, and that they're just about ready to open up normal registration and bring the game back to for-pay status. They're still pending government approval there, so they're not quite online and running yet, but they have closed off registration to new players, and will only bring it back online when they're ready to start charging yet again. Of course, their pay scheme there is different from here in the US and EU -- they often charge per hour to play rather than a constant monthly subscription. But however they decide to charge, NetEase seems sure that by the end of the month, things will finally be back to normal in China's version of Azeroth.

Meanwhile, the former operator of the game, The9, has announced that they are extending by a month the option for former players to get refunds for their prepaid game cards. That option was originally planned to end on September 7th, but players of the game who have unused cards will have another 30 days to redeem them back for cash. All of this back-and-forth originally started back in April of this year, but it seems like, five months later, the game might finally be getting back to normal.

Filed under: Patches, Realm Status, Blizzard, Hardware

Chinese WoW partial relaunch pics, comparison shots of censorship


MMOsite.com has nabbed some pictures of the return to the Chinese World of Warcraft. As you know if you've been paying attention, the game has been offline over there for a few months now, but the game just recently got approved to go back online, and so they're in the middle of a "partial relaunch" (which I believe is taking the form of a closed beta) and the servers are crowding up again. As you can see, there's a stampede (much like ours) going on in Thunder Bluff -- looks like players are happy to be online again.

They also have some comparison images of the censorship found over there. Anything with skulls or bones on it is out, and the offending images have been replaced with piles of dirt and bags and debris. Blood appears as black oil rather than red liquid, and even player corpses are out. As you can see, everywhere players die, there are instead little graves and tombstones around. Very interesting. No idea if this actually "helps" in China (or what the point of the censorship is -- seems as though it's a cultural thing, more like it's a respect for death and dead bodies rather than worrying about whether people will be disturbed by the mention of violence), but of course the government over there has final say on what goes into the game, and apparently this is what they approved. Hopefully Chinese players will be headed back to Northrend before long.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Leveling

China's Ministry of Culture approves WoW content

Blizzard has been having all kinds of issues trying to bring World of Warcraft back online in China, but here's one piece of good news for them: China's Ministry of Culture has gone through the game and approved all of the content in it. They apparently were concerned about some violent content (we know they've already made changes in the past to the Undead models), but that's now been cleared, and the only thing left is final approval by the General Administration of Press and Publication. There's no date on when that might happen, but it seems that will be soon (not soon(tm), just soon).

Blizzard should be extremely happy to see these content checks cleared, as it means that they're not only that much closer to bringing the servers back online, but that they can also finally bring out Wrath of the Lich King there. The whole issue with Netease and The9 backed things up, and then these content checks were a problem, but hopefully most of the obstacles have been cleared by now, and Chinese players can soon start making their way back into the game and up to the snowy shores of Northrend.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

Battle.net registration now online in China

World of Warcraft has, as you have probably heard, been offline in China for a while now. Even though The9 originally said they'd transfer over their servers to NetEase, they later decided to fight it out, leaving WoW offline for a matter of weeks. And it isn't quite up yet, but they're getting there -- this (very roughly) translated article says that Battle.net servers are now up and running, so Chinese players can now at least sign in to Battle.net, if not into the game itself. We already went through the same thing here in the US and the EU, so Azeroth should be back online in China any day now.

Meanwhile, the poor folks at The9 have not been doing so well -- they were on top of the world last year, but when World of Warcraft up and flew the griffon out of there, they lost the majority of their business. A new AP article has them revising their expected earnings down by an "estimated 55 to 75 percent." Ouch.

Let that be a lesson, NetEase. Keep your instances running and your downtime low, because if Blizzard pulls the plug on a game you're running, they'll be taking a ton of money with them.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, Hardware

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a Scribe

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the thirty-sixth in a series of roleplaying guides about how to roleplay various aspects of the lore and gaming elements of WoW.

What is inscription anyways? I mean, we all know that it's the newest profession, added in Wrath of the Lich King, and it lets you make these "glyphs" which allow you to modify or improve your various class abilities in interesting ways. In gaming terms all that makes perfect sense, but when it comes to telling a story with your character, there are a lot of details missing.

Technically, a glyph is a character or symbol, like a heiroglyph or a pictograph, which we can see to a certain extent when we click on the glyph and put it into our in-game glyph interface -- it looks pretty cool with all those circles and lines and stuff. But what does it really mean? Are you pasting these symbols into a book of some sort? Are they getting magically tattooed onto your skin somewhere?

And where did inscription come from to begin with? Has it been around in Azeroth all along somehow, or was it some sort of ancient knowledge only discovered recently, around the time in the Warcraft lore when the Wrath of the Lich King begins? If it was discovered, then who discovered it and how? How exactly does a scribe learn these glyphs? Does he or she pore over ancient tomes that haven't been read in thousands of years, trying to decipher ancient texts? Or is the art and magic of it more in the artistic calligraphy of it rather than any difficulty in discovering or interpreting the symbols themselves?

There are far more questions than answers when it comes to roleplaying a scribe, and to a large extent each roleplayer is free to choose his or her own approach. What follows is the just one suggestion as to how you might work out a plausible solution -- please feel free to read it and improve upon it in whatever way you like.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Guides, RP, Death Knight, Inscription, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

With the game offline in China, others aim to step in

As you may or may not have heard, the World of Warcraft is currently offline in China, thanks to a fight between the game's former licensee, The9, and its current licensee, Netease. Yes, if you think a day or so of downtime is bad here in the US and the EU, that's nothing compared to this: the game has been down since June 7th, and neither Blizzard nor Netease have given an estimate of when the game might be back online. An analyst from China does say that they expect most players to return to the servers once they return, but in the meantime, many players have spread over into Taiwan's WoW server. We don't believe that Blizzard allowed transfers during this time, so they've likely started and leveling brand new characters over there.

And don't think that other games haven't noticed this unique window of opportunity: there are currently millions of MMO players looking for something to do in China, and there are at least three big other games looking to give them something to do. Aion, which is currently in beta here in the US but is apparently up and running in Asia already, is making as much of a play as they can, and there are two local Chinese games, Zhuxian Online and Chibi Online, both developed by a company called Perfect World, that are also aiming to steal some of China's WoW players.

Very interesting situation over there -- imagine how much the MMO world would be thrown off here if WoW just completely disappeared for multiple weeks, if not longer. Blizzard is likely scrambling to get things moving over there as fast as possible.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Realm Status, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions

There could be up to a million Chinese gold farmers

A new report on MMO gold farming claims that there are about 400,000 working in China on gold farming and trading, and that there could be as many as 500,000 to even a full million. Of course there's no way to tell exactly how many people are employed in the business (and the number almost certainly doesn't stay constant for long), but according to interviews and surveys done of business there, that's the number they've come up with. They also claim a $10 billion a year turnover, however, and that number seems way high, though remember that they're talking about all MMOs, not just World of Warcraft. The report has some other interesting information about how China does gold farming: there are a number of brokerages staffed by English speakers in the larger cities that handle the actual transaction, and then the farms themselves are usually outside the cities, where cheaper labor is available. Typical pay in the farms is about $140 a month plus food and board, working in about ten hour shifts, while pay is higher in the city-based brokerages. Most employees are younger guys, who play while drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, and lots of their ingame tasks are automated with custom-made and adapted software.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Making money

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