The news of the return of the Chinese version of "World of Warcraft" has been confirmed, as Blizzard has ultimately decided to re-collaborate with NetEase. How should we view this "reunion"?

NetEase and Blizzard have “reunited” after a year. The Chinese version of “World of Warcraft” is making a comeback. | 36Kr Exclusive - 36Kr After a year of separation, it seems that old partners are the most suitable. According to information from multiple independent sources, Blizzard has been in talks with several domestic game companies about the “return of the Chinese version,” and has ultimately chosen to collaborate with NetEase once again. 36Kr has reached out to NetEase for confirmation of this news, but as of the time of writing, there has been no response. It is understood that after the collaboration is finalized, NetEase and Blizzard will need to rebuild the Chinese server operation team and test servers and related systems. Therefore, players looking forward to the game’s return may have to wait for at least six months or longer.

Paragraph 1: “When you initially wanted to separate, we separated. Now you want to use true love to coax me back.”

Paragraph 2: “Love is not something you can buy or sell as you wish. Let me break free and understand, let go of your love.”

Paragraph 3: “Anyway, now in the Asia server, playing chess with zero spending feels like retirement. Whether I come back or not doesn’t make much difference.

“I cannot disclose too much detail at this point, but what I can say is:

  1. Last Friday, a draft regulation caused a sharp drop in the stock prices of many gaming companies, including NetEase. Although there has been some moderation in the tone of the regulation since then, there is still a need for some substantial positive news to boost the stock prices.

  2. It wasn’t Blizzard that parted ways with NetEase initially; it was a capital game played by “Roasted Dick” and its confidants before leaving the position, trying to make one last profit before departing. Yes, it was them. With Roasted Dick gone, the gap between NetEase and Blizzard isn’t that significant.

  3. Apart from Blizzard, NetEase has had a relatively good working relationship with Microsoft over the years. In recent years, senior executives from Microsoft have dined with senior executives from NetEase due to activities related to “Minecraft.”

  4. As far as I know, NetEase has not started a large-scale recruitment drive for the Blizzard team. Some of the previous members actually transferred to other positions within NetEase. However, it’s hard to say whether they would be willing to return after adapting to the new department if NetEase were to represent Blizzard again.

On the contrary, a small group of entrepreneurs who left their jobs have started their own businesses as grassroots service providers for domestic Blizzard players. One example I can mention is WarCraft III custom maps. If they can return as the first party, it might be their top choice.

  1. I didn’t say it’s definitely NetEase representing Blizzard again. But in any case, the recruitment process has not started on a large scale, and the formal launch will certainly not be that fast (if it happens).

  2. I’ll say it again; I didn’t say it’s definitely NetEase representing Blizzard again. However, as a long-time Blizzard player, deep down, I also hope it’s NetEase. Because, even if we don’t consider the issue of licenses, there are very few companies in China that are willing to wholeheartedly operate Blizzard games, run Blizzard esports, and have the capability to do it well. NetEase is truly one of the few.

Most other companies have a background in mobile and web games, and it’s inevitable that they will approach games like WoW, Overwatch, and Hearthstone with a mobile and web game mindset. They also lack the experience of dealing with top foreign companies (in fact, it’s very, very difficult to work with them overseas) and can’t gain the trust of Microsoft and Blizzard. So, if they represent Blizzard, they won’t do well, let alone invest their own money in building the domestic esports ecosystem for Blizzard…

Only NetEase, with its extensive experience in operating client-based games, and a wealth of experience in dealing with Microsoft and Blizzard, is capable of creating a thriving esports ecosystem for Blizzard, even WarCraft III saw a resurgence thanks to NetEase.

Microsoft has taken over everything, except for Blizzard; it should rightfully be NetEase. NetEase deserves it.

PS: I didn’t say it’s definitely NetEase representing Blizzard, oh…

There is really no reason not to consider a reunion with NetEase.

For other companies to take over, the first challenge they would face is the issue of a comprehensive license. Not to mention the legal complexities associated with license transactions, from a financial perspective, NetEase isn’t exactly in need of the money that selling licenses would bring. Even if they were willing to sell, would the new company be willing to meet the price, especially after paying a hefty licensing fee?

Another issue to consider is the return of players. If a new company takes over and requires players to repurchase the game, I don’t believe many people would be willing to do so. It’s important to understand that the players who are still dedicated to Blizzard games today are die-hard fans like myself. Expanding to a new player base would be extremely challenging. If even the loyal players are hesitant, the player base would be significantly reduced.

Then there’s the issue of player account data, especially rare and exclusive World of Warcraft achievements, Overwatch skins, and Hearthstone cards. These items are not something you can simply regain by paying. If it’s a completely new account, it’s unlikely that old players would be interested. It’s better to stick with the Asia server where you can still play Heroes of the Storm with your buddies, Diablo 4, and more.

When you put these issues on the table, it becomes clear that options other than NetEase are quite limited.

Moreover, Blizzard players have always been known for being frugal and demanding. Given this temperament, I doubt Tencent would be the first to step forward.

The reunion was confirmed several weeks ago, and there was no shortage of competition from other major players during the same period. In the end, it was decided to renew the contract based on past collaborative experience. Although the renewal has not been officially announced, it seems that there is a plan to boost the stock price at the right time or give players a pleasant surprise once preparations are more or less in place.

However, last Friday, a certain entity caused a disturbance, and NetEase’s stock plummeted by 24%. I heard that Mr. Ding, the CEO, made an urgent call to the top management on Saturday night to clarify the situation. This news was probably one of the positive factors brought forward in response to the events on Friday.

After all, the individual most affected by NetEase’s stock price fluctuations is Mr. Ding, the CEO.

The wording in that message makes it sound like choosing NetEase is akin to selecting a queen for Blizzard. Being able to make a choice for an entire year without any other company showing interest is quite remarkable.

Just a couple of days ago, I came across a video on Bilibili where Tai Liya, a content creator, mentioned “NetEase’s restoration of World of Warcraft content.” Given the recent regulatory opinions, I initially viewed it as one of NetEase’s strategies to stabilize their stock price after the release of the opinions. However, it now seems more likely that they had already settled the general framework in advance and intended to announce it after things had settled down. Unfortunately, the unexpected stock price drop disrupted their plans.

In the context of the annual review earlier, I highlighted the complex relationship between NetEase and Blizzard as one of the most memorable gaming events of 2023. However, at that time, I couldn’t have imagined that this grand drama might come to a conclusion even before New Year’s Day.

What were the most memorable gaming events for you in 2023?

Nevertheless, if the Chinese server does make a comeback and ends up with NetEase, it’s also the most logical outcome. Ever since Microsoft successfully acquired Blizzard and the confirmation of Kodick’s departure, I believe many World of Warcraft players have been eagerly anticipating the return of the Chinese server. As for the game’s distributor, it naturally makes sense for “former” NetEase, who still retains the license and server data. This approach would save them from the hassle of reapplying for licenses and ensure a seamless transition for the Chinese server. However, after the series of lawsuits and the “Blizzard Green Tea” controversy earlier this year, discussing the reunion might be a bit awkward. Nevertheless, both sides have something to say: “All the responsibility lies with Kodick!” Once Microsoft acquires it, and Kodick departs, it should pave the way for the return of the Chinese server.

However, even though it’s been just a year, the situation between Blizzard and NetEase might be completely different from before the “breakup.” How many of the team members that NetEase disbanded in the past are still available? How many of the World of Warcraft Chinese server players who reluctantly left and might have found new interests within the past year are willing to return? Although my last departure from the game was during the ancient version of “Warlords of Draenor,” making a comeback is beyond my capabilities now. Nevertheless, I still would like to see a large-scale documentary film titled “The Chronicles of the Chinese World of Warcraft Server” from the perspectives of NetEase, players, Blizzard, Microsoft, and all other parties involved. If you were the five-star critic Michael Arthur, how would you sharply review the intricate and complex drama of love and enmity among the parties over the past year?

I don’t believe…

NetEase doesn’t need this mess…

Laughable. If they don’t come back soon, the new policy will take aim at Blizzard’s lifeless body. The new policy stipulates that licenses for games with operations exceeding 30 days will be revoked. If they don’t return to NetEase immediately, they will lose their license altogether.

Blizzard: Here’s an old CD for you. Listen to it and reminisce about our love back then.

NetEase: I can’t sing those songs anymore. Hearing them makes me blush and hide.

Players: Unsubscribe.

I don’t want to say anything.

As someone who has been a loyal fan of Blizzard for 20 years, a true devotee.

From now on, I will most likely do my best to refrain from playing Blizzard games.

From now on, I have no connection with Blizzard.

You know, there has not been a single game in my life that has had such a long-lasting connection with me.

I won’t even watch TI for Dota 2 anymore because of match-fixing scandals.

Blizzard and NetEase, you dare to lose my account, and I won’t forgive any of you.

All of you, remember this.

I’m saying this to people who have had such a long history with Blizzard games, just like me.

There’s no blame on Blizzard without blaming NetEase for this. I don’t want to see you, misled by advertisements and public opinion, let NetEase off the hook.

I won’t use NetEase products or play any NetEase games in the future.

Unless I have no other choice.

What’s the most valuable thing for a person?

Defining your own life choices, anything you choose first creates a purposeful self.

If you don’t dare to make choices, no matter how great your achievements are in life, you’re just a follower.

But if you make choices, these choices will shape you.

Every tiny choice gives you character.

NetEase and Blizzard are indifferent to gamers in this matter, which is almost as bad as “[Dog City].”

The Blizzard brand is indeed special.

With zombie-like management and development, it has accumulated so many loyal players, yet it repeatedly slaps players in the face.

Diablo 4 turned out to be so unpleasant and unplayable, yet they dare to pop champagne and celebrate fooling a bunch of idiots into pre-ordering.

I genuinely hope that you all won’t play Blizzard games in the future.


Is it possible to pause for the stock market? If it’s true, they’ve been fooling players for a year, I heard that NetEase dissolved, and planners are now working as delivery drivers. It’s unbelievable that some people still praise NetEase for its integrity.

I think NetEase needs to consider two points:

  1. Whether WOW still has the same dominance as it did in the past. When they left, they treated players like monkeys. Nowadays, most of the players still in WOW are around 30 years old, and you’ve pretty much turned their youthful memories into ashes. Whether you can still convince them to come back and spend money is a question.

    After all, Warcraft is a team game, and many people have been playing it for so many years because of the sense of camaraderie. If you break up the teams, and expect them to come back in a coordinated manner, isn’t that a bit…

  2. When Blizzard and NetEase had their falling out, in China, NetEase was seen as the hero. How many players cheered for NetEase with their ID cards when that happened?

    If they reconcile as if nothing happened and happily remarry, then their supporters might look quite foolish. Whether this counts as good news, well, that’s up for debate.

    As for whether you ask me if I support it… I support it! I don’t play NetEase games anyway. I abandoned WOW after Wrath of the Lich King (WLK).

    Watching the drama doesn’t matter if the stage is high, right? Give it a kiss! Give it a kiss!

It may seem like big news, but in reality, it doesn’t have much impact. Even if they do reunite, it won’t save either of them.

First, Blizzard’s suite of games didn’t contribute significantly to NetEase’s revenue in the first place. While the new regulations that haven’t been implemented yet won’t greatly affect these Blizzard games, they weren’t big money-makers to begin with.

Second, Blizzard’s actions in the past were too reprehensible and hurtful to players. After a year has passed, why would players who have found other games to play still choose Blizzard? Is it because of their age? Is it because their games are old?

Third, even though the NetEase reunion makes sense from a business perspective, it does leave a somewhat bitter taste for players. Initially, they showed some integrity by not becoming sycophants, and now they’ve gone back on it.

However, this factor is not the most significant. All in all, NetEase seems to be quite attentive to the operation of these Blizzard games, and when it comes to licensing issues, a return to NetEase is indeed the best choice.

It’s impossible to come back now. NetEase, in the first place, cut all ties decisively, even live-streamed the dismantling of the house. It’s obvious they wanted to get rid of this burden. It was already an extremely old game, relying purely on nostalgia for support and not making much money. After the last shutdown, a large wave of players quit, and if veteran players aren’t willing to return, can they guarantee that new players will play these old games?

The return is definite, with such a large user base, only a fool would reject it.

The initial “breakup” was more about personalities than the actual issues. Now that the individuals are gone, they could have sat down to talk a long time ago.

However, this isn’t really groundbreaking news. Blizzard’s return to the Chinese market was inevitable, and there weren’t many better options than NetEase.

All the initial fuss was about safeguarding their respective user bases. No one is superior to anyone else in this regard. From a profit perspective, NetEase didn’t lose out; they improved user sentiment, directed traffic to their own games. As long as they can sit down and negotiate, there’s nothing they can’t accept.

As for releasing this news now, it’s probably because the stock price has taken quite a hit.

However, whether the return is negotiated before or after the new regulations come into effect will be interesting to see. If it’s after, there might be some fun in store.

You were the one who wanted to break up initially, so we did. Now you want to use true love to coax me back. [Wang Chai]

Blizzard and NetEase, this pair of antagonists, really have a taste of the Baiyun-Heitu couple. One always carries an air of superiority, often misbehaving, and always touting how great they are. The other spends most of the time in a muddle, occasionally showing some backbone, but still prone to mishaps.

Blizzard: Ah, NetEase, we will never apologize! Before settling the national service, please pay more attention, and ensure the data is intact! How can we repeat yesterday’s story today? Can my old ticket still board your dilapidated ship?

Player: What happened after Kotick left?

NetEase: The waves are still the same…

Player: What’s your relationship like?

Together: We make do with it, what else can we do?

It’s already cooled down quite a bit, played Hearthstone for a long time, can’t go back now. If only I had known earlier, why bother in the first place? Blizzard is trash.

Where did this news come from?

Multiple independent sources, such as Huang Xudong, Xiaose, Poison Milk Color, Magicterran, Color, Fully Automatic Shanghai Person, and Zigong Superman, right?

Unless Blizzard faces a major setback, it’s difficult to say whether this is a wise move.

Both NetEase and Blizzard have previously taken decisive actions. While the internet is generally considered to have no memory, this “good stuff” behavior undoubtedly reflects the chaos within NetEase’s decision-making team. If they had planned to go back on their initial decision, they wouldn’t have taken such drastic measures.

Moreover, Blizzard was exposed during its previous conflicts with NetEase, shedding the fig leaf of being a “foreign game giant.” The sores on its body left everyone shaking their heads, its popularity plummeted, the league system and game environment it had built were completely destroyed, and many Blizzard game streamers turned to delivering food. This inevitably makes it even more difficult to attract new players, and even if they come back, they’ll still rely on their old products.