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Blizzard > WoWJun 27, 2024 4:00 pm CT

WoW (and Blizzard) returns to China, and the details are kind of wild

Back in November 2022, talks broke down between Blizzard and their publishing partner in China, Netease, leading to all of Blizzard’s active services being suspended in the country as of January 2023. Talks were ongoing, and as of April 2024, Netease and Blizzard announced that we could count on a return sometime in “summer of 2024.” In an announcement yesterday, both on the official website and a press conference on video streaming site bilibili, they’ve narrowed down “summer,” declaring the return of Blizzard to China on August 1, 2024, giving Chinese players the ability to participate in the global release of The War Within a few short weeks later on August 26.

Readers who are slightly more skilled in basic elementary arithmetic than I am may be realizing that given Dragonflight‘s release date — November 28, 2022 for those playing at home — this means that players in China will have missed most of that expansion’s playtime. Blizzard is giving those players a ton of perks for the year they missed out on, and to prep for TWW, which is where the “wild” part in the headline comes in. Our friends over at Wowhead have all the details, translated for those of us who aren’t literate in Chinese, bless them. In addition to a typical array of freebies — mounts, pets, you know the drill — they’re also getting 500 extra Trader’s Tenders per month every month for the next year, plus a new vendor only available in China selling all the Trading Post rewards that were available in the past year.

In terms of other avenues of play, players in China will likely able to experience a return of Plunderstorm, though not Remists (yet). They’ll also be able to play their way through WoW Classic: Wrath of the Lich King at a breakneck speed prior to Cataclysm Classic‘s launch at a later date.

Perhaps the most intriguing development is a reward geared toward the most hardcore players China has to offer. Netease is furnishing essentially a bounty for the raiding Race to World First. If a Chinese team nabs the top prize, they win ¥1,000,000, but if Method or Echo win out again, the prize rolls over with a ¥200,000 addition each time. While the prize likely isn’t a large enough incentive for the lead contenders from other parts of the world to rent a house and relocate for a quarter, it’s an intriguing proposition. It also marks the first time an actual prize pool was on the line, rather than mere bragging rights (and individually negotiated sponsorship deals).

Since this announcement was centered around WoW, and it was all of Blizzard’s franchises in limbo, we’re very curious to see how this plays out for the others when they also return.

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