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Battle set to end for WoW fans
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08:32, July 23, 2009

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World of Warcraft - or WoW - an online game with five million mainland players, will be available to frustrated fans again at the end of the month following a two-month suspension.

The developer of the popular multiplayer game, Blizzard Entertainment, is currently working on changes requested by the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP).

A GAPP official told Xinhua a review of the game was completed on July 19 and it now has preliminary approval.

Netease, Blizzard's mainland operator, is allowed to start testing the game on July 30 while Blizzard continues working on the revisions, which will still need final approval from GAPP.

After the upgraded game gets approval from GAPP, Netease will chose a launch date and the game will be fully accessible once again.

WoW was made unavailable in June after a contract with the original Chinese franchise holder expired.

The GAPP official said only previously registered players will be allowed to participate in the testing of the amended game.

"During the testing, Netease is not allowed to charge or provide registration of new accounts," the official said.

"All necessary measures should be adopted to maintain the rights and interests of previous players. Netease and Blizzard should finish amending the game, according to requirements, as soon as possible and make sure the contents are in line with state laws and regulations," the official added.

WoW was released in 2005 though Blizzard's mainland partner at the time, The9.

The game became hugely popular in China and made $300 million for The9.

But Blizzard switched its operator in China last month to Netease after its contract with The9 expired.

The transition meant the game was suspended on June 7 while the companies and government departments finished re-registration of the game and while it received new official approvals from the Ministry of Culture and GAPP.

Thousands of anxious gamers who have been missing the game are expected to gather at today's opening of Chinajoy, an online game carnival in Shanghai, to demand the game be made available again, the Southern Weekly reported last Saturday.

"As a large consumption group, we at least have the right to know when will the game be re-opened or will it be re-booted," the newspaper quoted a WoW fan, named Laode, as saying.

WoW fans vented their anger by logging on to servers belonging to Netease on July 11. After 5,000 signed on at the same time, they succeeded in paralyzing seven servers.

WoW players also left nearly 3,000 complaints on the official website of China Consumers' Association and some players said they planned to sue.

Source: China Daily

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