Chinese World of Warcraft players are utterly devastated as Blizzard servers have officially shut down all across the region, forcing many of the most popular games offline for good.
At midnight on 24 January, Chinese WoW players took to social media to mourn the shutdown of World of Warcraft in the region. This comes as every single Blizzard title closes down their servers in the region, which includes titles such as Overwatch, Diablo, Starcraft, and Hearthstone, where players from those games too were saddened by the shutdown.
Chinese players have called Azeroth home ever since 2008 as Blizzard and NetEase partnered up to release their titles across the country, but ever since their licensing disagreements, everything has since been shutdown. The relationship between the two has deteriorated to the point that NetEase destroyed a WoW Orc statue that stood in their offices.
“When I woke up, I still didn’t want to accept [it]” one player said on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, as first reported by CNN. “I cried all night because the game went offline. I dreamed that I was crying in the middle of the class.”
Another player posted on Weibo, “The rivers and lakes are far away, looking forward to meeting again.” He continued, “goodbye Azeroth, goodbye World of Warcraft.”
Another Weibo user commented, “World of Warcraft is like a first love, I really can’t forget it.”
Even Simon Zhu, the president of Global investments and Partnerships of NetEase Games said in a Linkedin post, “Only [a] few hours before Blizzard Games Servers shut down in China, and that is a very very big deal for players in China.”
He reminisced, saying, “Blizzard games transformed me into a serious, lifetime gamer from grade 4 when I started to play Warcraft II and Diablo I.” Continuing by saying, “I would use all the money my mother gave to me for lunch to stay in the [internet cage] for two hours [until] noon.”
It’s quite clear the future of Blizzard games is uncertain, as even Zhu, somebody who worked with Blizzard, said, “Today is such a sad moment to witness the server shutdown, and we don’t know how things will play out in the future.” He lamented, “The biggest victim would be players in China who live and breathe in those worlds.”
As of now, Blizzard has not announced any licensing agreements with any other companies, nor any plans on when servers in China will be back up again, if ever.