As I've said before, being a gamer in China isn't always fun. Chinese publishers' censorship of popular foreign games like World of Warcraft is bad enough, but a new column on Tencent's QQ Games news portal asserts that the worst part about being a Chinese gamer is having to deal with getting your IP blocked in online games because it's based in mainland China.
Of course, mainland IP blockages only happen on overseas game servers like servers based in Korea, Japan, or the US, but there are lots of reasons Chinese players gravitate to those servers. Some games simply don't offer domestic server options in China; other games like WoW are censored for players on domestic servers. Some Chinese gamers want to play on overseas servers to avoid the hackers and for-profit companies they say are ruining domestic game servers. And sometimes Chinese gamers just want to be part of the larger game community rather than segregated in domestic servers. But when they do venture on to overseas servers, they often log in one day to find that their IP has been blocked. Why? The QQ Games column lays out four reasons why foreign servers block mainland IPs:
1. Gold Farmers and Hackers. Most overseas gamers are in it for entertainment only, but there are some Chinese gamers and even companies that work in games to earn in-game currency and then sell it for real-life money. The most famous and well-known example of this is gold farmers in World of Warcraft, but these people exist in all kinds of games, and often, their presence upsets the larger player base. There are also Chinese companies and players that will use hacking and glitching either to procure in-game money or to steal user data that can then be sold; needless to say overseas players don't like this either. As unfair as it is, some overseas game publishers have found the easiest way to cut down on these sorts of "professional" players is simply to block mainland Chinese IP addresses.
2. Character. The QQ Games column asserts that Chinese gamers have made a bad impression on their foreign compatriots, as some of them have been known to behave badly on overseas servers, swearing, maliciously killing other players, destroying the game environment, and even pushing Chinese nationalism. These sort of complaints about Chinese gamers are especially common among Korean and Japanese players, which shouldn't come as a large surprised as generally speaking there's little love lost between the three nations.
3. Attitude. The QQ Games column argues that gamers' differing attitudes are also part of the problem, as foreign gamers tend to prefer to approach games more slowly for fun, whereas Chinese gamers tend to dive in and play at top speed for days on end. The end result is that when Chinese players are on a server, sometimes they've got fully leveled-up characters just days after a game has been released, and that means they're not much fun to play with for anyone who is trying to take things slower. This also ruins the fun of leaderboards for anyone who can't afford to play the game 24 hours a day, because it means they have no chance of ever appearing.
4. Server Space. China likely has more than 200 million online gamers, so when even a small percentage of them move onto the same overseas server, it can cause all kinds of technical problems. Beyond that, it also causes game experience problems: it's frustrating when an American player logs into a US MMO server looking to have a social experience and discovers that everybody on the server is speaking Chinese.
Personally, I suspect the fourth reason is more significant than any of the others in causing mainland Chinese IP blocks, but there are examples of all of these reasons leading to blocks. It's a shame that China's gaming community, like its internet in general, is generally quite segregated from the rest of the world, but game publishers the world over are ultimately in it for the money. If Chinese gamers are crashing their servers and driving away other players, then unfortunately the IP blocks are likely to continue.
(via QQ Games)
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