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Iran Blocks World of Warcraft for “Criminal Offenses”

Travel & Environment Desk
Iran Blocks World of Warcraft for “Criminal Offenses”Iran Blocks World of Warcraft for “Criminal Offenses”

The website of the popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) World of Warcraft has been blocked by Iranian authorities, due to what they cite as “a multitude of criminal offenses.”

The filtering of the game’s website, https://worldofwarcraft.com, came to light following complaints by Iranian users who said they were unable to update the game.

The issue was raised on the game’s forums on Thursday (September 22), where one Iranian user claimed to have been able to update the game by using a VPN software. Other users quickly corroborated the claim, giving rise to fears that either Blizzard had blocked Iranian IPs, or Iran had filtered the game’s servers.

Soon after, players started complaining about getting disconnected from the servers within minutes of logging into the game, with one user saying he or she was unable to access the World of Warcraft website without running a VPN software.

On Friday, the same user said they had submitted a request on Peyvandha.ir, the online portal of the organization that decides on what websites to block, to unblock the website. The next day, the user posted a screenshot of the organization’s response, which read: “Your request to unblock Worldofwarcraft.com has been reviewed and rejected due to the multitude of criminal offenses observed on the website.” The statement did not provide further details.

A request for comment from Blizzard was not immediately returned.

On September 26, users said the disconnection issue was resolved—which could mean that there was a technical error with the game—but the website is still blocked.

World of Warcraft is the most successful online game in history, with millions of subscribers from around the world. It debuted in 2004 and quickly evolved into one of the most popular video games ever.

In 2010, the game hit its highest player count ever with 12 million active subscribers. Even though the numbers fell to 5.5 million by September 2015, experts say the launch of its sixth expansion on August 30 can help boost subscriptions once more.

While Iranians do not make up a significant portion of World of Warcraft players, the game has a dedicated fan base in Iran.

Financialtribune.com