Instead of quietly and respectfully ending a 14-year-long partnership with Blizzard Entertainment, NetEase decidedly burned the bridge and demolished a Blizzard statue on Jan. 18.
After a fruitless hunt for a new provider, and futile efforts to strike a bargain with NetEase to extend their existing agreement and once again strike a deal with the Chinese provider, Blizzard published an official statement noting the incoming shutdown of the company’s services within the borders of China. As a response to Blizzard’s official statement, NetEase demolished Blizzard’s iconic orc statue on a stream.
As the final nail in the Blizzard-NetEase collaboration, besides this clear statement that Blizzard is no longer welcome in China by NetEase, the Chinese company produced a new drink named Blizzard Green Tea. According to Wowhead, green tea is the modern-day slur for “a manipulative person who tries to appear wholesome, innocent, or traditional, but is decidedly not so.”
The act of tearing down the symbol of World of Warcraft was watched by around 30,000 people and since then has spread across Chinese social media. NetEase explained Blizzard has recently asked NetEase for a six-month extension while being in negotiations with other service-providing companies for a three-year-long deal. Aside from that, NetEase emphasized it never attempted to control Blizzard IP and all actions were authorized.