Blizzard Cuts Off World of Warcraft in Iran

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Blizzard Cuts Off World of Warcraft in Iran

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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 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 eCustoms.com, individuals or companies violating the embargo against Iran face fines of up to $10 million, asset seizure and prison sentences of up to 30 years. In 2010, Iranian-born U.S. citizen Mahmoud Reza Banki 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

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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.

I don't know why, but I was thinking about Arrested Development, but with Blizzard and World of Warcraft.

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.

Nice misleading title you got there.

Hmmm. US? USSR? I don't really see the difference anymore.

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 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!?

Fappy:
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 :)

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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...

dagens24:
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.

They probably didn't because that wouldd require paperwork that could be traced. While it would be the better thing to do, with a lot of American attention being on Iran the corporate side would rather be sure they don't lose money than perform respectable business practices.

Nasrin:
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:
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?

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.

Nasrin:
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.

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.

Canadish:

Nasrin:
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.

I'm a lady, and an Iranian citizen. Please don't try to tell me about my own culture.

Nasrin:

Canadish:

Nasrin:
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.

I'm a lady, and an Iranian citizen. Please don't try to tell me about my own culture.

I like that you've spent over a year on a primarily American message board and think being a resident of a nation makes you an expert on its culture.

DVS BSTrD:
Nice misleading title you got there.

What's misleading?

What the heck is this nonsense? The U.S. government ought to showing appreciation for Blizzard, not denying them business. We want Iranians exposed to the products of American culture, not cut off. I really hope Blizzard can get this appealed and resume connections, or at least get permission to refund their customers.

'Several of you have seen and cited the text in the Terms of Use'

Ha, good one.

GenGenners:
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 not as much as you think, the US doesn't control who makes trade agreements with who, but it does dictate when you can't trade with someone. Trade embargoes are an important part of US foreign policy. I should also note that engaging in trade with a country we are currently at war with is an act of treason, though we aren't currently at war with Iran.

I don't see a problem with the US cutting trade in Iran, mostly because of their current world standing and their outright refusal to play ball. You don't want to talk to America? Well you don't get American trade now.

John the Gamer:
Hmmm. US? USSR? I don't really see the difference anymore.

Well, for one, they have cooler accents. For another, way cooler uniforms. But we've got John Marston. So nyah.

To the article at hand, it is a somewhat misleading title. Blizzard didn't cut off players in Iran as much as Blizzard had to comply with U.S. law.

So does that mean players in Cuba are hosed too? C'est la guerre...

llafnwod:

Nasrin:

Canadish:

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.

I'm a lady, and an Iranian citizen. Please don't try to tell me about my own culture.

I like that you've spent over a year on a primarily American message board and think being a resident of a nation makes you an expert on its culture.

I've spent much more than a year on message boards, and no I don't think residency necessarily makes me an expert.

I think my years of academic study and the time I've spent there make me qualified to state whether or not it is common to have high speed internet in the region.

Jhooud:

John the Gamer:
Hmmm. US? USSR? I don't really see the difference anymore.

Well, for one, they have cooler accents. For another, way cooler uniforms. But we've got John Marston. So nyah.

To the article at hand, it is a somewhat misleading title. Blizzard didn't cut off players in Iran as much as Blizzard had to comply with U.S. law.

So does that mean players in Cuba are hosed too? C'est la guerre...

Actually I do believe the trade embargo with cuba is over.

dagens24:
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.

Its highly likely that either a higher up or a policy mook at Acta-bliz only recently saw that they were violating trade sanctions, crapped their pants and pulled the plug as fast as they could. Plus giving refunds would also be a violation of trade laws, which might have been called out. What Blizzard SHOULD have done, aside from pulling the plug would be to have a little pop-up saying to users with Iranian IP addresses why their service was cut off.

AngryMongoose:
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.

Considering their corporate offices and central servers are in the US, they have to comply.

daibakuha:

Jhooud:

John the Gamer:
Hmmm. US? USSR? I don't really see the difference anymore.

Well, for one, they have cooler accents. For another, way cooler uniforms. But we've got John Marston. So nyah.

To the article at hand, it is a somewhat misleading title. Blizzard didn't cut off players in Iran as much as Blizzard had to comply with U.S. law.

So does that mean players in Cuba are hosed too? C'est la guerre...

Actually I do believe the trade embargo with cuba is over.

Less over, more slowly being relaxed.

Nasrin:

llafnwod:

Nasrin:

I'm a lady, and an Iranian citizen. Please don't try to tell me about my own culture.

I like that you've spent over a year on a primarily American message board and think being a resident of a nation makes you an expert on its culture.

I've spent much more than a year on message boards, and no I don't think residency necessarily makes me an expert.

I think my years of academic study and the time I've spent there make me qualified to state whether or not it is common to have high speed internet in the region.

a) I said this message board,
b) I was referring to the portion in which you claimed 5 people in an entire country had heard of a popular American video game, and
c) I tend to antagonize anyone who makes blanket statements about entire populations, regardless of their nation of residence.
Bonus: WoW is playable, if problematic in areas, on a dial-up connection.

I would have thought it was already banned in Iran.

Anyway, I cannot in any way fathom how World of Warcraft subscriptions would effect the Iranian economy in any positive way.

llafnwod:

Nasrin:

llafnwod:

I like that you've spent over a year on a primarily American message board and think being a resident of a nation makes you an expert on its culture.

I've spent much more than a year on message boards, and no I don't think residency necessarily makes me an expert.

I think my years of academic study and the time I've spent there make me qualified to state whether or not it is common to have high speed internet in the region.

a) I said this message board,
b) I was referring to the portion in which you claimed 5 people in an entire country had heard of a popular American video game, and
c) I tend to antagonize anyone who makes blanket statements about entire populations, regardless of their nation of residence.
Bonus: WoW is playable, if problematic in areas, on a dial-up connection.

It was clear from the context of my post that I didn't mean there were literally 5 people. I was employing hyperbole.

I'm not generalizing by saying high speed internet is very difficult to access in the area, it's just a fact.

Our definitions of "playable" are likely very different.

It's not wise to arbitrarily antagonize the Community Manager.

ITT person taking themself too seriously.

in other news: this just in. Iran in flames/mobs everywhar!

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