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Most of Blizzard Entertainment’s video games will become unavailable in China on January 23, 2023, which marks the end of a partnership with Chinese publisher and developer NetEase that held for 14 years. Hope of a last-minute fix to the relationship were dashes last week, when the word got out that NetEase had already largely dissolved its Blizzard team.

What initially looked like a mere discrepancy between business expectations has now turned into an outright battle fought out in public, with both Blizzard and NetEase firing verbal shrapnel at each other.

The Chinese publisher is especially angry about how things went down behind the scenes, which culminated in tearing down a World of Warcraft statue at its HQ in the city Hangzhou – an event that was live streamed on one of the company’s own channels.

It doesn’t end there, though: Participants in the teardown quashed their thirst with special Blizzard Green Tea, which references a popular insult on Chinese social media, where “Green Tea Bitch” is used as a term for people who act all sweet and innocent while they’re actually manipulative and immoral. Ouch.

Blizzard had previously posted about its games shutting down in China on Chinese social media site Weibo, saying that NetEase did not agree to an extension to their partnership. This prompted a response from NetEase, which accused Blizzard of being “rude and inappropriate” and merely trying to buy time with a six-month extension while negotiating for a three-year contract with a different partner – they used another idiom to describe this, which could be translated as “riding a donkey while looking for a horse” and has exactly the sexual undertones you're thinking about.

Meanwhile Tencent, NetEase’s greatest competitor when it comes to publishing and developing video games in China, has debuted a trailer for its upcoming MMORPG Tarisland just as World of Warcraft is about to go offline.

That trailer raised some eyebrows among Blizzard employees, as a lot of the scenery, creatures, and even game mechanics are very reminiscent of those in their own MMO. Tencent, then, can probably be ruled out to replace NetEase as Blizzard’s next Chinese distribution partner. What an exit.