China Censors World of Warcraft; Blood to Oil
World of Warcraft returns to China.
After a six-week suspension, World of Warcraft is now "partially" up and running in China. The game went on hiatus after Activision switched operators, moving the MMORPG from The9 over to rival NetEase. However, the Chinese government's General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) stepped in before the game could re-open and decided that additional aspects needed to be changed (or censored).
According to this report on MMORPG News, WOW is currently in closed beta for one week while the changes are applied. Current players have noticed that previous piles of bones have now been replaced by bags of sand. In-game talent tree icons, once appearing as severed heads, bones, and blood, are now represented as boxes. Additionally, blood is no longer red, but appears as black oil instead.
The current changes aren't the first revisions made to WOW in China. Undead characters--once sporting exposed bones or bone accessories--were revised in order to cover or remove the bones entirely. The change stemmed from a controversial subway advertisement featuring undead characters from World of Warcraft that supposedly scared children. The Chinese government deemed the initial change was necessary due to the lack of specific age ratings on games sold in Chinese retail shops.