I know you’ll be shocked to hear it, but people like World of Warcraft enough to try to clone it! Oh, what’s that? We have hundreds of such clones already? And WoW clones long since derailed the genre? Darnit. But how about one launching this year, made by the biggest game company in the world in the biggest country in the world, a country where corporate squabbling and greed is causing the real WoW to sunset there next week? Now you’re listening!
We’re talking here about Tencent’s new MMO Tarisland. Direct news of it first broke in English-language media a week ago, when Bloomberg covered some of the companies most likely to take NetEase’s place as Blizzard’s Chinese licensing partner. But Tarisland’s impending arrival ought to make Tencent a hard sell for that role; why partner with Blizzard and make an apparently tiny sliver of the profit when you could just… make your own WoW?
“The Shenzhen company’s upcoming MMO titled Tarisland is about to start accepting players to test it out this week on both PC and mobile platforms,” Bloomberg writes (that test reportedly began January 12th). “It includes dragon-riding, demon-slaying and more than a passing resemblance to Blizzard’s genre-defining World of Warcraft. Just check out its first trailer and see for yourself. The new game even uses some of the same Chinese voice actors.”
Whether it will ever launch here, of course, is an open question. Either way, it’s not going to make Blizzard’s life any easier.