Chinese players of the popular World of Warcraft MMORPG, developed by Blizzard, have threatened to leave the game en masse if the level of service provided by Chinese operators The9 Limited does not improve, according to a report by Chinese news agency Interfax.
The Chinese userbase reports widespread delays of over an hour when logging into the game and getting a server list, and the last straw seems to have been complete server outages that disrupted the endgame of a large-scale raid involving nearly 1,000 players.
The9, a Chinese MMORPG publisher, is charged with maintenance and operation of the game due to Blizzard's lack of a presence in China, but is hamstrung by having to rely on Blizzard to resolve technical issues. The game is a major part of the company's revenue, which increased 24 times to $25.3 million USD in the Q4 2005. Some users charge that the company is deliberately providing slow service, since The9 charges by the hour rather than the month, and billing begins once the user enters his or her login data.
Regarding the problems, the9 public relations assistant manager Zhang Heng said "We should first collect relevant data and evidence, and will work together with Blizzard to look into this accident and evaluate the loss," in a statement to Interfax. "We will provide compensation to those players involved based on the result of the investigation."