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Posts with tag the9

Chinese guild heads to Taiwan, kills Mimiron on hard mode


WoW has been in a state of flux in China lately, with the9 failing to gain approval from the government to publish Wrath of the Lich King, which in turn may or may not have lead to Blizzard licensing the operation of WoW in China to Netease instead.

In the midst of all this, it has been the players stuck in the middle, their play availability up in the air, stuck killing Kil'jaedan over and over and over as they wait for Northrend with bated breath. That said, there's still been a few players who have taken matters into their own hands.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances, Expansions, Raiding, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

The9 prepping WoW-clone World of Fight


You have to give Chinese company The9 a bit of credit. The loss of such the publishing rights to World of Warcraft would have destroyed lesser companies, it just made them teeter on the brink of bankruptcy. Now they're back -- with World of Fight.

The teaser site went up earlier in the week and reeks of WoW in a way that only Chinese knock-offs can. At the moment we know next to nothing about the game but we can certainly guess. The domain name (www.wofchina.com) is suspiciously similar to the one for World of Warcraft (www.wowchina.com) but with one letter changed. Just look at that font, remind you of anything?

It's not a stretch to bet that The9 are hoping to attract people who associated them with WoW, but I'm pretty sure Blizzard won't be too happy to see their former publisher in Asia trying to promote a game so similar. We'll certainly keep you updated as I'm quite keen to see what World of Fight looks like.

Filed under: Odds and ends, News items

NetEase to buy all new servers for Chinese WoW


Yes, as you may have noticed in the update on our post the other day, it's confirmed: NetEase will be taking over operating the World of Warcraft in China as of June -- their new homebase over there can be found at wow.163.com. And while we originally reported that The9 would be turning over their software, hardware, and staff to run the game, apparently that's not completely true. IDG News Service is reporting that NetEase will be setting up their own network of servers to run the game. That's a big undertaking -- it likely means that things will be bumpy for the first few days of the transition (though Blizzard is clearly confident that NetEase can handle it, having run a few other games in the market before). And it also means that some of the supercomputers we've reported on before that are owned by The9 will go to... well, we're not sure what.

Not that there aren't plenty of things to use them for -- despite their stock dropping on news of the WoW license loss, The9 also runs a number of other games over there, including Guild Wars, Ragnarok Online, and a few more popular Eastern MMOs (not to mention that EA has a nice stake in them). And at the very least, there's got to be a market for supercomputers with other companies and educational institutions, right? It's unlikely that all that hardware will just sit dark.

But more importantly, it'll be interesting to see how NetEase handles the transition -- we've had a few inventory and other issues here on the Western side of the world, but we've never had a major loss of character information (cue all of the Blizzard engineers knocking on wood). We're sure there are countless backups in place, but if something goes majorly wrong in the transition between hosts, it could be devastating for the WoW audience in China.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Hardware

Rumor: The9 loses WoW license in China to Netease


The9 has been the target of persistent rumors over the last few months that they're on the verge of losing their license from Blizzard to operate World of Warcraft in China. First, we heard about their financial troubles, and then came rumors that Blizzard was going to ditch them. And now we've got WorldofWar.net reporting a rumor that Netease will be the company to take over the reins there. It makes sense -- Netease has been growing a lot during their history, and they successfully operate Fantasy Westward Journey, an MMO with a US value of $761 million, with 400,000 average concurrent users. They're already supposed to take over Blizzard's Warcraft III and Starcraft II in China, so Blizzard will actually be consolidating their properties.

The rumor supposedly comes from a leaked internal memo to The9 employees, which says that an unnamed company (supposedly Netease) is trying to pick up the rights and hardware for the game for a cool $22 million. The9 reportedly paid $73 million for the same capability, so they're losing twice on the deal -- both the license and the money they spent on it.

Not good news for The9 if it all turns out to be true, but maybe this means Chinese players will get their expansions a little sooner. Of course, a lot goes into releasing new content overseas (translation is definitely not a small part of it), but having a more capable operator probably won't hurt.

Update: Confirmed. Thanks for playing, The9. Their stock is down big time since the announcement, and Netease's is up.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Rumor: The9 to lose WoW in China


Trading Markets reports from the Xinhua News Agency that The9, the company that handles World of Warcraft in China, is likely to lose their license as agents of the game. Blizzard and The9 have not yet reached an agreement regarding the extension of their contract, although The9 representatives have repeatedly tried to quell these fears. President Xiaowei Chen has confidently stated that the contract would be renewed in June.

An insider source, however, noted otherwise. Blizzard is said to have been unhappy with The9's performance over the past four years, and posed higher requirements in their renegotiation with the Chinese company. Recent troubles with the Chinese government in securing approval for Wrath of the Lich King hasn't helped matters, and The9 is facing bankruptcy should Wrath fail to get past China's censorship laws and negotiations fall apart. The online game operator gets 90 percent of their profits from managing World of Warcraft in China. The9 has refused to comment, only saying that negotiations have not been finalized.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Wrath of the Lich King

Chinese WoW provider The9 faces bankruptcy in wake of Wrath woes


We told you a few days back that Wrath of the Lich King has had a tough time getting approved in China due to the government's strict censorship laws, but now there's even more bad news for Chinese WoW players. As Sister site Massively reports, The9 has told JLM Pacific Epoch that they will face bankruptcy if the expansion is not green-lighted soon. The Government agency responsible for the decision says that they must balance the needs of the9 with the need to root out "unhealthy" content from the game.

The9 has actually already paid for the game itself, having secured the Chinese licensing rights for a hefty fee back in April 2008. Add to that the upkeep cost of many of the most powerful supercomputers in China, and rumors that many Chinese WoW players have either quit or moved on to Taiwanese accounts for their Wrath fix, and it's easy to see why they're is getting a bit cash starved. If the9 goes under, it's difficult to say whether Wrath can be salvaged in China, but we'll keep you posted whatever happens.

Filed under: News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Chinese release of Wrath of the Lich King still delayed

Around early February, it was reported that Wrath of the Lich King's Chinese release had been delayed. It was suspected that the launch was postponed until after the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) which occurred in the first week of March, but things are starting to look a little bleak.

There are rumors abounds that Blizzard and The9 are having something of a falling out, but it's being reported that things are going much more poorly on The9's end. Specifically, they've hit some trouble with the censorship board. You might recall that China has some very, very strict rules when it comes to things like video games and movies. Many of the models in the base World of Warcraft game needed to be altered to conform to these rules, such as the exposed bones on the Forsaken and the bones left behind when a player dies.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath delayed in China

As excited as the Chinese community may be with the imminence of Wrath of the Lich King -- it was on the covers of most gaming magazines in the past months -- WoW players in China are going to have to wait just a bit longer for the latest expansion. According to a report, World of Warcraft China distributor The9 plan to delay the release of the expansion until March or April after initial plans to launch on February 19.

The delay would be due to a "policy supervision" and it's likely that the launch will come after the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), both of which happen on the first week of March. The report also said that the game's fame -- as well as recent bad press about Blizzard -- was also to blame, subjecting it to greater scrutiny.

Some rumors state that The9 is delaying the release of the game in order to speed up negotiations with Blizzard, who wish to have more control over server groups and other issues. Both companies are also reportedly in disagreement over monetary issues, although The9 denied the news. The9 President Xiaowei Chen has stated in the past that the contract would be renewed in June.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Wrath of the Lich King

The9 may release WotLK to China on February 19th

Rumor has it that The9, the company that runs World of Warcraft in China, will be releasing the game's latest expansion there a week and a day from today, on February 19th, after holding a press conference a day earlier. We just recently got sent a question here at WoW Insider asking why the US and EU kills were often called "world firsts," and this is why: China usually gets expansion content much later than the other regions of the game do.

But recently, Blizzard mentioned that they were aiming to release the content closer together, and this appears to be a result of that: it's still not simultaneous, obviously, but a few months is better than a year or so. Apparently 17173.com has heard that China will be getting Wrath of the Lich King next week, so if that does happen, we can look for the first Chinese level 80 and the first Chinese clears of Naxx and the other endgame raids soon after that.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Wrath of the Lich King

The Queue: Pandamonium


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft.

Welcome! You probably noticed I skipped yesterday. Why? Because I felt like it. Yeah, how do you like them apples? I sure showed you! You got owned, y'all.

Uh, anyway. Alexran asked...

Why exactly did Blizzard skip out on the Pandaren as a playable race? I remember hearing something about racism or that the Chinese government would invade Blizzard's HQ. Whats the deal?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King, The Queue

The9 scores again in Q2 '08


The9, which is the company in China that runs Blizzard's World of Warcraft game there, has released their second quarter financial numbers, and they're rocking yet again -- they pulled in record income and revenue, nabbing about US$66.3 million, a full $60.7 million of which came directly from World of Warcraft and all the deals they have surrounding that property there. And their peak concurrent user total for WoW topped 1 million, which means one million accounts (not necessarily people) were logged on and playing at the same time.

Apparently the company is also running a few other games, but clearly WoW is dominating their income, and, needless to say, doing very well for them. And probably won't be stopping anytime soon -- if Blizzard follows through on their plan to release Wrath asap in China, odds are that The9's biggest game will get even more popular.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Leveling, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW Chinese distributor The9 dominates China's supercomputers

One thing that your average WoW player probably doesn't think about much is the sheer processing power that's needed to play the game. I don't mean your gaming rig personally. WoW's actually pretty forgiving on that front. I mean the server hardware over on Blizzard's end, the stuff that makes us miss some gaming every other Tuesday or so. Do we really stop to think about how powerful it is?

It turns out that it's powerful enough to dominate a list of China's top 100 supercomputers. The Register reports that 5 of the top 10 supercomputers in China are owned by The9, WoW's China distributor. Not only that, it also owns at least 12 of the top 100 overall, and perhaps more. That means that more than 10% of China's best supercomputing power is directed toward MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft.

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Filed under: Odds and ends, News items, Hardware

Mourning for China

Apparently it's natural disaster season in Asia. The massive cyclone that hit Burma () on May 3 has taken an estimated 78,000 lives with an additional 56,000 missing. Last week (May 12) an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale shook parts of china. The death toll for that quake has reached 34,000 with the body count expected to rise. Many of the quake victims have been children, as least 6 schools collapsed while classes were in session. It will take weeks, months, or even years to sort out the amount of damage caused by these events.

The Chinese government has declared a mourning period for three days for those injured, missing, and passed. This includes the closing of movie theaters, web portals and television stations. The9, who services World of Warcraft in is participating in the blackout as is Shanda Interactive Entertainment, host of the World of Legend game.

If you are helping out, there are a number of charitable organizations taking donations to assist in providing relief to victims in Asia. Studies show that making donations to such organizations actually help to boost your own mood in addition to helping those who are in need.

Filed under: News items

Gold farmers arrested in China

Here in the US, you can't really arrest someone for selling gold in-game -- it's against Blizzard's Terms of Service, so they can ban you from the game or even file suit against you, but it's not actually illegal. But in China, under communism, things are apparently a little different. Two gold farmers have actually been arrested by the government for "unfair revenue distribution" -- apparently the two had a disagreement about how to distribute the over $200,000 they had made from selling gold in World of Warcraft.

Word is going around that "unfair revenue distribution" is the actual charge in the arrest, but it sounds like they just had a financial disagreement, so we really have no idea what they'd be charged with. Unfortunately, China isn't exactly forthcoming with how its legal system actually works, so who knows what's really happening here.

Their operation also sounds interesting as well -- they had been going for about seven months, and had a crew of 20 PCs and 20 employees. There's little chance that an arrest like this will make much of an actual difference in the game (and there's no way an arrest in China will set a precedent in the US), but it is an interesting case that we'll follow if we can.

[Via WorldofWar.net]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Economy

WoW China gets all-access pass in Quel'danas


According to our tipster Gwwfps of the blog Potato Skin, World of Warcraft distributor The9 has manually set all the quests in the Isle of Quel'danas to be fully completed -- that is, all quests on the Isle are now open to all players as though Phase 4 had been opened. With the help of Babelfish, as far as I can make it out, this decision was arrived at to "make up several weeks the partial servers to appear returns to the files question for generally to play the loss which the family brings". If my Engrish serves me right, this means that the move was a drastic resolution to having massive downtime for numerous servers which resulted in realms-wide progression rollbacks. Some servers reportedly had their Isle of Quel'danas progress rolled back several times over the course of one day.

Gwwfps explains it better in his blog, noting that Patch 2.4 resulted in poor server performance across the board. Apparently, WoW China has been suffering from performance issues for quite some time and some have suggested that the servers upon which the game runs aren't quite up to par with Blizzard's standards. Others argue -- with good reason -- that the forced unlocking of the phases makes the game "less immersive." The sweeping measure also demonstrates an apparent lack of industriousness on the part of The9, who in theory could simply roll back individual servers to specific progress levels. On the other hand, players can probably get all ecstatic about getting their hands on epic gems so early (blast my slacker server!).

Filed under: Patches, Blizzard, News items

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