WoW returns to China, but with content changes

Following a nearly two month period of downtime due to the transition from operator The9 to NetEase, World of Warcraft players in China now have access to a one-week closed beta which started on July 29th, reports.

…Though not without subtle (or not) changes. has a number of before and after pictures comparing set pieces in the area, such as sandbags replacing where bones were. Stranger changes included red blood effects being replaced with black blood.

The origin of the content changes stemmed from over a year ago, where an WoW advertisement had scared children. The news picked up on that, and eventually it led to a series of problems and political pressure which forced The9 to modify the game to be more ‘safe’. NetEase is simply continuing the trend with the latest of the changes.

It definitely sucks, and will definitely piss off a lot of WoW players on Chinese servers. But will they stop playing? Given WoW’s crack-like addictiveness, not likely.