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NetEase tears down World of Warcraft statue following rift with Blizzard

NetEase livestreamed it tearing down a World of Warcraft statue outside its headquarters in Hangzhou, China.


Earlier this week, we reported on the upcoming split between NetEase and Blizzard, with the latter placing blame on NetEase for its game services going offline in China later this month. Previously, the two companies had been partnered for 14 years, with Blizzard requiring this partnership to be in place due to how games are published in China.

All games are required to have a Chinese publisher in addition to government licenses to operate within the region, and NetEase served as this publisher for Blizzard for well over a decade. Sadly, back in November of last year, it was revealed that this partnership will soon be coming to an end. As it sought out new, potential partners, Blizzard asked NetEase for a six-month extension of their partnership but NetEase declined this request, describing it as unfair.

Now, game services for Blizzard titles like World of Warcraft are set to end later this month on January 23. That’s not the only aspect of World of Warcraft that’s coming to an end in China either as NetEase recently livestreamed it tearing down a World of Warcraft statue at its headquarters in Hangzhou. 

According to Chinese esports caster Alan Gai and outlets like VGC, NetEase tore the statue that depicts a Gorehowl axe down on Wednesday while streaming the event to its Naraka Bladepoint channel.

The incident was also captured by Chinese TikTok channel ChaikingNDS which showed participants being given “Blizzard Green Tea” drinks as a reward for their efforts, with the tea seemingly being a reference to the “Green Tea Bitch” insult that first originated on Chinese social media. The insult has been used to describe individuals who appear sweet and innocent at first but are later revealed to be fake and manipulative.

It’s clear with actions like these that NetEase feels wronged by Blizzard. And, as a whole, the bad blood between the two companies makes it feel like they’re embattled more in a bitter divorce than a corporate severing of ties.

Adding to this, NetEase also published a lengthy statement to its Weibo page defending itself while mentioning again that Blizzard’s six-month extension proposal was “unequal” and “unfair.” It goes on to describe Blizzard’s treatment of NetEase as “騎驢找馬” which roughly translates to “riding a donkey while looking for a horse.”

For more on this, be sure to read through NetEase’s full statement on Weibo, and check out some of our previous coverage on the matter including Activision Blizzard blaming NetEase for its game services going offline in China next week, and the initial report of the licensing agreement between Blizzard and NetEase expiring in January 2023.

Senior Editor

Morgan is a writer from the frozen wastelands of Maine who enjoys metal music, kpop, horror, and indie games. They're also a Tetris fanatic who's fiercely competitive in games like Tetris 99... and all games in general. But mostly Tetris. You can follow Morgan on Twitter @Author_MShaver.

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