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US trade restrictions lead to World of Warcraft sanctions ahead of new patch today

Blizzard blocks WoW in Iran

Activision Blizzard has taken the unusual step of shutting down access to MMO World of Warcraft in Iran.

The firm announced the move in a statement on its forum, saying: 

“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.

“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.

“This also prevents us from providing any refunds, credits, transfers, or other service options to accounts in these countries.”

Iranian players already had to jump through several virtual hoops to access the game, using VPNs, but now even that loophole has gone. Gamers had been complaining of connection problems for several weeks, leading Blizzard to make the statement above to reveal it had indeed taken action.

The game has seen a new patch today in advance of new expansion Mists of Pandaria being released on September 25th.

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