The new expansion to Starcraft II, Blizzard’s wildly popular real-time strategy game, has a release date set for March 12. Heart of the Swarm (HOTS) will add new units and multiplayer changes, and is part 2 of the Starcraft II expansion trilogy (the first being Wings of Liberty). The release date for mainland China hasn’t been set, though this hasn’t stopped the excitement from spreading. Last year the 2012 Battle.net World Championship took place in Shanghai.
In anticipation of the release, here’s what some bloggers have to say:
Today, Weibo user Aribeth wrote (in response to an image of Koreans in Seoul already lined up to buy the game), “I’m still hesitating on whether to buy HOTS. So far there hasn’t been any news on the expansion…”
Xiaoyang-样 posted, “If I want to play HOTS it means I have to lug my heavy computer back to school….. Why don’t guys help each other carry the weight!!! Letting a small woman carry a computer alone would be considered what kind of behavior!!!”
Unlike the US, players in China have to pay a monthly fee of about 20 yuan per month. One user worried: “The opening of Heart of the Swarm is coming quick, I spent all night downloading SC2 planning to come back and play, but just found out that NetEase has canceled their monthly cards, leaving only the ChangYou packages… (I don’t know right now if I’ll be able to play==! )”
On the official Starcraft II forums today, user HeartShiny started a thread titled, “How to play the expansion on the mainland?” and wrote, “Refer to title is just don’t want to wait for the expansions… Heart of the Swarm and what not… Or, how do I fill my battle.net number card with money… QAQ”
A thread asking if the game would be released March 12th had users stating that, in interviews, those responsible at Blizzard had explicitly stated that, because of the need for approval from authorities (eg: the Ministry of Culture), the expansion will most definitely not be released March 12th. In response, a user stated, “So depressed…” Another thread with the title, “When will Heart of the Swarm finally be available?” had responses including, “Well, mainland China isn’t included in the ‘global release’ ╮(╯▽╰)╭” and “Approval requires 3 months. It’s still blocked*”; another user argues it’s release is, “Within around a month. 2 months at the latest.”
*What he actually says is “harmonized”, which is slang for blocked or censored.
My favorite response from that thread, though, is a reference to the nature of “global” release dates:
How can China be on such a lowly planet like Earth? It looks down its nose at Earth; earthly China is merely a strand of reflection from the pinnacle of culture in the whole universe. So, henceforth any official or unofficial remarks about the whole world will definitely not include China.