World of Warcraft Blocked in Iran: Blizzard (Unexpectedly) Explains Why

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Companies. They’ll tell you next to nothing when the chips are down. Ask them if the sky is blue and if the headline story is “Experts Claim ‘Sky Might Be Blue’,” they’ll invariably reply “no comment.”

Someone at World of Warcraft developer Blizzard must have missed that memo, because instead of waving off rumors relating their 800-pound MMO to an often touchy subject — ongoing U.S. sanctions against Iran — they’re actually talking about the who, what, where and why.

(WATCH: Here’s What World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria’s Opening Looks Like)

Blizzard reportedly severed access to World of Warcraft in Iran last week, blocking anyone within the country from playing. But it all happened unofficially, and the first anyone heard of it was when players in Iran started posting on Blizzard’s Battle.net forums.

“I have same problem … I don’t know what happened to Iran or Battle.net caused this problem!!! So many Iranians are fans of wow,” wrote a player with a level 85 Orc Hunter claiming to be in Iran.

“[I] am talking from all persian gulf … we want to know what happened there really and what shall we do,” wrote another with an 85 Tauren Druid.

The thread goes on for hundreds of posts as players around the world test connections to the game through proxy or VPN servers and speculate whether Blizzard or the Iranian government is responsible for the apparent access block.

Some had alleged elsewhere that the Iranian government was responsible for the shutdown, reporting that Blizzard’s online games as well as others had been blocked because, according to the Iranian government, the games promote “superstition and mythology,” as well as “violence” and “demonstration of inappropriate clothing and slutty outfits for female avatars.”

But by the 1,933rd Battle.net thread post, Blizzard finally stepped in and confirmed that yes, it’s the responsible party for the block:

Our team has been watching this thread closely, and we understand the desire for more information about this situation. Blizzard Entertainment cannot speak to any reports surrounding the Iranian government restricting games from its citizens.

What we can tell you is that United States trade restrictions and economic sanction laws prohibit Blizzard from doing business with residents of certain nations, including Iran. Several of you have seen and cited the text in the Terms of Use which relates to these government-imposed sanctions. This week, Blizzard tightened up its procedures to ensure compliance with these laws, and players connecting from the affected nations are restricted from access to Blizzard games and services.

Worse, Blizzard says U.S. restrictions prevent the company “from providing any refunds, credits, transfers, or other service options to accounts in these countries,” though it apologizes “for any inconvenience this causes” and says it “will happily lift these restrictions as soon as US law allows.”

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18 comments
xandoran
xandoran

just 2 thing wow can be a reason to live for some people and peoples are not Government in whole world if u have nothing to do with government so be friend with that contry people. i feel really bad for your Diplomacy U.S

Ollie Smith
Ollie Smith

Ironic none of you has probably read the post on the site if you have your also see some really strong anti-western sentiments expressed by some of the people who have been banned along with threats and personal attacks. I was subjected to abuse for pointing out to them that they where banned not because they where doing anything personally wrong it was because of the way Iran has conducted itself in such a hostile manner that it cannot be trusted to be allowed access to a whole raft of things.

And never mind we do not know if they are attempting to build nukes. It stands with good reason that with the latest attacks from the administration of that country that the sanctions would and have been made tighter still and it's now starting to effect more openly things like games which I hasten to add they had no legal right to play in the first place.

I like so many WoW players was not impressed with the way in which Blizzard did handle this either it was poorly thought out and the threads on the matter attest to it.

But there is no getting around the point these people know that they should NOT have been playing the game in the first place and since this is case Blizzard is not under obligation to do anything. What happened here was these people took the gamble of playing on borrowed time and they ultimately paid the price for it in the end.

People have to accept international law and it's a hard fact of life I feel for those Iran players who where genuinely nice people it's just a massive shame that some of their compatriots let them down with the way they behaved on the threads.

I came around to the view that the game could be used as a communication tool between terrorist cells masquerading as players. And it's possible that the ban could have been coming from the CIA who probably tapped The Treasury Department on the shoulder and said online games are a communication tool for terrorists inside and outside the US and other countries. And there for they wanted a clamp down on this method of communication it is perfectly plausible that this could well be another reason why the players from Iran got banned I am well aware that most of them are probably completely innocent of any kind of activity mentioned but it gives you reason to pause and think hard about the possible reasons for such a ban.

To me that would seem the most logical conclusion going.

Gary Schaefer
Gary Schaefer

I'm with Kevin. There will probably be more outrage over the game server being cut off than all other sanctions combined.

roy_bx
roy_bx

now, not only the iranian government is pissed off at us, but also their gamers...

Thrall Arash Mehdizadeh
Thrall Arash Mehdizadeh like.author.displayName 1 Like

just one question ... are these laws against people or against goverment ?!!!

cuase its looks to me its against people and there is nothing to do with my goverment ... 

realy if players cant play game would that stop goverment from any thing? or USA goverment just annoy people with thier shit laws day by day ....

i hope at least they think about humanity just abit when they talk about it every day .

ported
ported

screw all those bullshits claiming that the sanctions are aimed. This is how US is with people(youth) of Iran in practice. It scares me when I think they would care just as same about those people lives.

Mike259
Mike259

Sad. It's just a game. Talk about creating bad PR between Iranian citizens that have no opinion on international politics and just want to relax paying a video game.

Sanaz Amadorian
Sanaz Amadorian like.author.displayName 1 Like

hey

I'm playing wow for near 6 years amp; now blizzard did it to us (Iranian players)

there are some Important questions here:

1-  they knew they will BAN us so why they didnt send us an alert amp; didnt tell us?

2- what happends to out Game Times

3- what about our pre-paid or purchased MoP CD keys

my Friend had a issue amp; he sent the in-game ticket amp; here is GM's answer:

Blizzard

Entertainment is legally restricted from doing business in certain

countries, including Iran and Syria.  As a result, our Battle.net

website and games do not permit connection from those countries.  If you

had a recurring subscription, it has been removed.

Blizzard is

required to take these steps to comply with U.S Law.  This also prevents

us from providing any refunds, credits, transfers, or other service

options to accounts in these countries.

We appreciate your

understanding on this matter.  As we have no other information to

provide, additional inquiries related to this matter may not receive a

response.

ARE YOU JOKING, Right?? " If you had a

recurring subscription, it has been removed." ??? they are just STEALING

Players MONEY amp; there is NO ONE to ask them WHY or SOMEONE FROM

THEIR SIDE to answer about it?

I'm just tired.

Paul Matthew Keller
Paul Matthew Keller

Poor nerds, now they have to actually live!  Imaging going from an 85th level Paladin to a 1st level Looser overnight!  Poor poor nerds...

P.S. us REAL nerds can still play Damp;D in the dark... wowzers!

Betheny Neece
Betheny Neece

 not a fan myself but if they want to give blizzard the middle finger just play on a private server, as long as they own the game and didn't download it there isn't jack they can do about it.

Toipster
Toipster

That is just effing disgusting.

Kevin
Kevin

I think it would be funny as hell if this is the tipping point that topples the regime.  Unfortunately WoW players can't fight anything unless they're standing still, so I don't think they'll get very far against the army.

Hooman Homayouni
Hooman Homayouni

Regardless of the purchase, the amount of time/effort that a user invest in an MMO, far surpasses the amount of money spent on the game... I find this a truly brutal move on Blizzard.

The least thing the company could do was to give the users a notice a few months early so they could make peace with it !!!

Athiest
Athiest

Greedy Blizzard, took their money and cut them off. People invest tons of their real life in building a character in an MMO, and then to have it cut off is just evil. I realize the sanctions need to be honored but you shouldn't have allowed them to connect in the first place. Guess you wanted their money bad.

Paul Matthew Keller
Paul Matthew Keller

Didn't you read the article?? US LAW PROHIBITS REFUNDS... hence the term "sanctions."

Ian
Ian

US Law prohibited Blizzard for trading for some time, this is now Blizzard tightening up their terms of service to comply with something they should have been complying with for some time now. What they have done is a little on the unfair side in not doing this much sooner

Alex Galasso
Alex Galasso

Terrible that players can't even get their refunds back.

bzelbub
bzelbub

All right now those damn sanctions are getting in the way of Commerce !! Way to go politicians, you really effed that one up, trying to look tough you screwed up a lot of people with virtual guns wait till the NRA hears about that!!!