The giant panda is native to China, so it makes sense that on the eve of Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard would re-up its deal with NetEase to keep bringing World of Warcraft to China.

OK, that was a bit of a stretch, but it’s a reference we weren’t able to make when Cataclysm was coming out.

The two companies have collaborated to bring WoW to Chinese gamers since 2009, and the new deal ensures that those players will keep adventuring in Azeroth for three more years. With around half of WoW‘s 10+ million players being in Asia (as of 2008), the extension secures continued access to the game for a large chunk of its fan base.

Of course, as with all video games in China, certain guidelines need to be adhered to, such as “covering up” skeletons. Wrath of the Lich King‘s launch in China was delayed by two years, due to similar “objectionable content” that needed to be finessed into something more palatable to Chinese tastes.

Hey, good luck with those pandas!

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Jason Winter has held several positions in the tabletop and video-gaming industry since 1996, including writer, editor, marketing coordinator, and game designer. He's the former editor of Beckett Massive Online Gamer and almost considers himself competent in PvP. In addition to his work with Gamebreaker.tv, he also blogs about video games at http://jasonwinter.wordpress.com.