Following the termination of the licensing agreement between NetEase and Blizzard Entertainment, Chinese World of Warcraft servers were shut down yesterday night after sixteen years of operation. Because Blizzard’s last-minute account preservation mechanism locked players out of their backed-up accounts, the shutdown was a low-key affair without any fanfare from the creators and with scarcely any gamers remained online to lament.
This shutdown affects almost all Blizzard products and services. Along with Classic World of Warcraft and Diablo IV, it is now also unable to play Overwatch, Diablo, StarCraft, and Hearthstone in China. Only Diablo Immortal is remaining, and it is now covered by a different licensing arrangement; however, it is unclear whether it will continue after that.
Earlier this week, Alan Gai, a Chinese esports broadcaster, claims that NetEase demolished the monument on Wednesday while live-streaming the event on its Naraka Bladepoint channel.