Blizzard Cuts Off World of Warcraft in Iran

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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Blizzard Cuts Off World of Warcraft in Iran


World of Warcraft players in Iran have been left high and dry by U.S. trade sanctions.

Complaints began to pour into the World of Warcraft forums last week from Iranian gamers who, for reasons unknown, could no longer access Blizzard's ultra-popular MMO. The first complainant [http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/5168067998?page=1] said he couldn't connect to either WoW or Battle.net unless he used a VPN, and hundreds of others soon chimed in with the same complaint. It was quickly suggested that the Iranian government had blocked the Battle.net IPs, but another user pointed out that the Iranian internet filter leads to a separate page explaining why websites are blocked, which wasn't happening in this case.

It took awhile for Blizzard to get involved - three days and 97 pages, to be precise - but it did eventually weigh in, saying that while it can't comment on what the Iranian government may or may not be up to, the recent loss of service in Iran is actually Blizzard's responsibility, as it takes steps to ensure that it's in compliance with U.S. trade sanctions against the country.

"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," a Blizzard rep wrote. "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."

Unfortunately, those sanctions also mean that Blizzard can't even offer refunds, credits or anything else to gamers in "affected countries" - they're just cut off and hosed. "We apologize for any inconvenience this causes and will happily lift these restrictions as soon as U.S. law allows," the rep added.

It may seem like a crappy thing to do, but if Blizzard really is at risk of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, it has no choice but to act. The penalties for violating trade sanctions are severe: According to Mahmoud Reza Banki [http://www.ecustoms.com/compliance_solutions/ofac_iransanctions.cfm] was fined $3.4 million and sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for receiving money from his family in Iran, which he had voluntarily declared to the IRS but for which he did not have the proper exemptions; the case was eventually thrown out on appeal but not until Banki had served 22 months in jail. In other words, this is not something Blizzard can afford to screw around with.

Source: Battle.net [http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/5168067998?page=97#1933]


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Agente L

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Apr 4, 2010
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I wonder how many people will misread the article and hate on blizzard for this. When it's obviously not their fault.
 

Hero in a half shell

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Dec 30, 2009
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No Escapist, they didn't say they cut services of people from Iran, it was people that used to be a man.


Also that's completely unfair that they can't offer refunds, trade restrictions or not, surely there are international trade laws for fair service that trump "We can't give your country money because our government says so"... and if there aren't then I've just thought of a way to clear all my countries debts. Hold on, I've got to phone the Prime minister.
 

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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Man, that really sucks for the 5 guys in Iran that have both heard of WoW and can afford enough bandwidth to run it. FYI most people in Iran still use dial up, and that's the ones that are well off enough to even have a computer in the first place.
 

Fappy

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May 1, 2020
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This is dumb. You'd think that spending time killing monsters together with people from another country would make you more sympathetic towards them. What happened to American media indoctrinating foreign populations!?
 

dangoball

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Fappy said:
This is dumb. You'd think that spending time killing monsters together with people from another country would make you more sympathetic towards them. What happened to American media indoctrinating foreign populations!?
Guess there's not enough political advertising space in WoW.

Anyway sucks to be a Blizzard customer in Iran. Lucky for me I neither live there or play WoW, so it's not like I care much :)
 

AngryMongoose

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Jan 18, 2010
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But, you see people, America says it's wrong, and America IS international law. Those fucking punks who claim to be 'players' should have thought about it before they committed the crime of being born fucking Iranian. Godless bastards should have been born American like REAL people.
 

Lunar Templar

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well, the up side is, they didn't loose anything of value, >.> wish they'd shut WoW down every where ....
 

GenGenners

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I'm rather disturbed by how much control the state has over business in the US.
Luckily I live in the UK where no one gives a shit about what our government is currently doing. Watching the political news unravel in this country is like watching a hilarious train wreck get worse and worse as more trains slam into it because everyone is laughing too hard to close the line down.
 

dagens24

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Blizz Boss: Well, I guess it's time we followed the law and stopped providing sevice to Iran.
Blizz Employee: Sir, should we refund them first and THEN stop providing the service?
Blizz Boss: Hmmmm, I'd rather not...

Seriously, if you're being lax on the law already, might as well refund them before you tighten your belt. Shitty man, real fucking shitty.
 

creamy5000

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Nov 23, 2009
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Ah! yes! Blizzard's old "take your money and the block your access" trick. I dont blames Blizzard for the trade sanctions but by the sounds of thing they took the monthly fee knowing that they would be cutting the service. That is wrong in my book.
 

ivc392

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Aug 26, 2010
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I extend my most sincere condolences to all Iranian WoW player, but look on the bright side, now you can have a start having a life...
 

Canadish

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Nasrin said:
Man, that really sucks for the 5 guys in Iran that have both heard of WoW and can afford enough bandwidth to run it. FYI most people in Iran still use dial up, and that's the ones that are well off enough to even have a computer in the first place.
I think you've been watching too many American "news" programs my good sir.

They actually don't all live in huts in the desert, despite what they like to show you on the tv.

GenGenners said:
I'm rather disturbed by how much control the state has over business in the US.
Luckily I live in the UK where no one gives a shit about what our government is currently doing. Watching the political news unravel in this country is like watching a hilarious train wreck get worse and worse as more trains slam into it because everyone is laughing too hard to close the line down.
It's pretty bad in the US, but we're not exactly much better here though, lets face it.


Anyway, game related now, it's pretty shitty of Blizzard to not do ANYTHING to compensate their customers.
But that really is pretty minor compared to the larger scale problem here.
I wonder how many weeks until the US and Israeli governments get their war and start committing genocide on the Iranian people?
 

SlamDunc

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Aug 17, 2012
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I am sorry but I see the solution in the complaint.

"I can only play if I use a proxy server." Well, seems like there is no way to play now. /sarcasm.
 

RJ 17

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Nov 27, 2011
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Nasrin said:
Man, that really sucks for the 5 guys in Iran that have both heard of WoW and can afford enough bandwidth to run it. FYI most people in Iran still use dial up, and that's the ones that are well off enough to even have a computer in the first place.
This (or something like this) was going to be my point as well. When I clicked the article, I wasn't wondering "What'd that bag of dicks over at Blizzard do this time?" But rather I was wondering "Wait....people in Iran actually play WoW?" I know it's still a very popular game world-wide, but with all the sanctions and issues from Iran's own government, I was quite surprised to hear that there's WoW players over there.

Really I do wonder how many people were affected by this.
 

SenseOfTumour

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Jul 11, 2008
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It's sadly not shitty of Blizz to offer refunds or compensation, it's doing what they can to not have the whole company sent to court.

It's heartily crappy for Iranian players, but let's face it, it's not the first time the regular people have been the ones to suffer because the dicks sat at the top have decided to upgrade their dick potential.

TBH, being cut off from WOW is at least preferable to having bits cut off.

A rather dishonest headline in a way, but then would 'US business laws cut off access to WOW in Iran' have the same pull?

A faintly similar thing happend this weekend, (only in terms of blame, I hasten to add, I'm in no way saying the lack of access is like living in Iran.) where there were massive internet outages, tracked down to a certain piece of cable, which blew out all access to battle net and their games for, among others, many UK players.

It was an ISP and infrastructure issue, but nevertheless, Blizz's forums and twitter were flooded with 'FU BLIZZ DO SOMETHING RAWR RAAAGE!' and'I am quitting, blizz obviously don't care, they're not doing anything and haven't even provided an ETA for a fix!', when they'd stated it wasn't under their control.

I understand big corporations are often evil when it comes to chasing the dollar at the expense of the customer, but it doesn't follow that we can pin everything on them.