NetEase Interviewing Chinese Players for Suspected Hall of Fame RMT
We've received reports that NetEase, Blizzard's Chinese publishing partner which manages World of Warcraft in that region, has begun
suspected of engaging in real money transactions in order to earn
. In these interviews, suspected players are being asked details about the encounters to verify whether the kills were earned legitimately, handing out bans to those who fail to answer the questions correctly and removing their Hall of Fame achievements.
We first learned about this from
LichtSpektrum on Twitter
, but have since spoken to players on Chinese realms in order to confirm the story. We'd like to give a
huge thanks to Neo on discord
for helping translate, as well as providing additional insights into the Chinese community CN realms.
Update: Upon further investigation, the player referring to a 30-day ban was commenting on an unrelated suspension. After speaking with several players, the punitive actions taken by Netease appear to range from only deleting the achievement to 3 or 7 day suspensions.
Players are being interviewed via phone calls, with questions appearing to mainly cover aspects of the Sire Denathrius encounter, although players have also been identified multiboxing inside the raid and taking part in other questionable behavior. Players who fail to correctly answer questions correctly are reported to have received month long bans. Purportedly, Chinese boost companies are also scrambling to reach out to their clients in order to prepare them with answers to potential questions.
While actually calling players and interviewing them about aspects of the encounter can certainly be considered invasive, the fact that Netease is making an effort at all is a major development. RMT has been
rampant in China
for years -
a full Mythic clear of Castle Nathria averages around 200 RMB ($30 USD) per player
, going as low as $5 or even given out
as part of deals and promotions, and it's getting cheaper every week. Although there are a lot of reasons for it, RMT has become so ingrained into the culture of gaming in China that it's virtually impossible to eradicate - no amount of hardware, MAC, or IP bans can control it. In 2018, CNBC hosted a great article on the
cultural differences of paying to win
and the gaming analysis network Newzoo went into even more detail examining the differing
motivations between U.S. and Chinese gamers
. These aren't small groups of players who got together to make some money either, these are full fledged companies with massive infrastructure working round the clock - as soon as one group of accounts is banned, there are already new ones taking their place. So while certainly bans are handed out, we don't normally hear about a lot of action taken against these groups, and any effort to stomp them out is akin to stomping on an ant hill - you might get a couple, but there are thousands more beneath the surface.
There's also a common belief that Netease doesn't try very hard to take action against players unless pressured by Blizzard to do so, and even then doesn't take measures quite as far as they do in the west. While many consider it good that Netease is cracking down on RMT, popular belief among Chinese players is that this recent effort is being driven by Blizzard as a response to player perception in the west, such as our article
highlighting Chinese RMT in the Alliance Hall of Fame
; in effect stating that Netease wouldn't be going to such lengths if not for the criticism from the NA and EU playerbase. This theory is further supported by the fact that we haven't heard any reports of Horde guilds being interviewed for RMT, due to their Hall of Fame
closing a month earlier
, even though boosting almost certainly happened there as well - so far it appears that only Alliance players are being targeted, as they were the subject of recent complaints. According to our Chinese sources, most players are shocked that Netease would really call up players to question them about the fight, with some passing blame onto the sellers and others trying to find a way out of the trap.
My friend got called as well
Asking him why his 8 characters are doing raid at the same time
He said I'm just so good with playing 8 characters at once
then he got banned
What this means for the upcoming
Hall of Fame closure and cross-realm Mythic raiding
remains to be seen. Although we have confirmed that players are receiving bans, we don't know if guilds are actually being removed from the Hall of Fame or whether that might cause cross-realm to be delayed, however given that Blizzard has already given a public date, it's likely cross-realm Mythic will still open next week regardless. Ironically, the influx of new customers from cross-realm sales will almost certainly make RMT sales even more accessible, cheaper, and more profitable.
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