Netease, the publishing company which distributes Activision Blizzard games including World of Warcraft, Overwatch 2, and Diablo 3 in China has destroyed the WoW Orc statue outside its offices, in protest against a proposed extension of its current partnership deal. Broadcast live, the footage apparently shows volunteers smashing the statue from the MMORPG apart with sledgehammers, and being offered a free drink from Netease in return.
Previously, Activision Blizzard announced that its partnership with Netease would end on January 23, rendering games including World of Warcraft, Diablo 3, and Heroes of the Storm inaccessible in China from January 24. Activision Blizzard then proposed to temporarily extend its contract with Netease by six months, as it sought a new long-term publishing partner in China.
Netease rejected this deal, calling it “rude and unreasonable, inappropriate and commercially illogical.” Netease further claimed that Activision Blizzard was making “endless, exorbitant demands, taking free rides, and taking all advantages without responsibilities.”
Now, in an apparent further protest of Activision Blizzard’s proposals, volunteers allegedly associated with Netease have destroyed the statue of a World of Warcraft Orc that previously stood outside its main offices.
Footage captured by TikTok channel ChaijingNDS, and initially reported by WoWHead, shows people smashing the statue apart with hammers and being handed drinks with Netease branding. The drinks appear to be a variation of green tea, apparently relating to a phrase associated with a slur in China to describe a young, manipulative woman.
Responding to Netease’s rejection, Blizzard China issued a statement saying “it is a pity that NetEase is not willing to extend services of our game for another six months on the basis of existing terms as we look for a new partner.”
Elsewhere, the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft is facing opposition from the US Federal Trade Commission, while managers at Proletariat, a co-development studio on World of Warcraft, have refused to voluntarily recognise a new employee union.