A Letter to Blizzard

General Discussion
Dear Blizzard,

As a Hong Kong Diablo’s fan, I am excited about the launch of Diablo 3 on May 15.
According to the announcement of Blizzard, there will be no SEA server for Diablo 3 and all SEA server regions can enjoy the FULL CONTENT of Diablo 3 with RMAH through American Server. When the FAQ of RMAH is updated, I am really disappointed about the decision that force Hong Kong and Macau players to use the Asia region RMAH because of the region of Hong Kong and Macau categorized by Blizzard. I suggest Blizzard to re-categorize the region of Hong Kong and Macau just like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

When Starcraft 2 launched in Hong Kong, there are two official versions (Taiwan server and SEA server) on the market. Most of the Hong Kong players adopted the SEA server because the English is one of the official languages in Hong Kong, but not the Mandarin (Chinese). After the long game play period in SEA server, we make friends in the SEA region countries and we are willing to continue the adventure with SEA server’s friend in the coming Diablo 3. However the decision made by you cause Hong Kong players to face the difficult situation. If you want to enjoy the RMAH, you cannot play with friends in original SEA server. At this moment, I really understand how the Australia players feel when they cannot play with the US friend in Starcraft 2 at the beginning. Blizzard has done a good job to allow the Starcraft 2 SEA server players to play in America server. I hope Blizzard to make the similar decision again in Diablo 3.

In addition, the region division in Diablo 3 is not cultural friendly to Hong Kong. In Asia region, there are mainly four regions player. Korea and Taiwan players share the largest proportion and they speak Korean and Mandarin (Chinese). These languages are not the common language used in Hong Kong. Although some Hong Kong player can communicate with Taiwan player on text (Traditional Chinese), some Hong Kong players cannot understand Chinese. That’s why Blizzard you sell both Chinese and English product in Hong Kong. Hong Kong English speaker has no choice but only play in America server without the RMAH.

Thanks for spending the valuable time to read my letter. I hope I can hear the good news from you as soon as possible.

05/04/2012 09:16 AMPosted by Ziltoid
I'm asian and don't want to use the asian auction house, please jump through hoops for me blizzard.

Can you honestly blame him?
I agree with the OP that this issue has to be brought to Blizzard's attention ASAP.

It's closer and closer to the release date of Diablo III and there's an increasing concern about the regional policy among me and my friends who live in HK (all of us have been long time fans of Blizzard's games).

I can see the legal considerations about RMAH Blizzard trying to take into account. However, to be frank, HK's legal structure is similar to SG / Australia's legal structure rather than TW's (in fact, Hong Kong as a member of the common law countries, HK and SG laws (commercial laws in particular) have some striking similarities). From a currency point of view, Hong Kong Dollar is linked to the US dollar and not to the Asia regions. Apart from that, from a consistency point of view, many HK players and people living in SEA regions and US regions have well-established long term friendships (from SEA SC2 and US-WOW for example) and your current policy is giving us no option but to separate these HK players from their friends and throwing them into an alienated situation (not to mention the awkward situation the HK players who have residence in multiple countries are currently facing. They changed their correspondence to their residence in other countries since HK was not eligible for the WoW annual pass subscription. Now you are giving them a free copy of Diablo III, but they have to play separately from us (if they want to have access to RMAH) just because we ordinary HK players can only have limited access to US Diablo III facilities, and therefore got forced to play in the Asia servers).

The policy (and treatment) for HK players so far can hardly be regarded as friendly at all. In fact, when I was trying to create a battle.net account for my friend he was being asked to put in his "NID" which is non-existent in HK. Clearly, when Blizzard was trying to decide the region of HK, Blizzard has overlooked several matters and merely took the geographical proximity into account, which is, sadly, an oversimplification but not quite appropriate to be honest.

Blizzard, please review your policy in relation to the categorization of HK. The language preference, legal and cultural structure in HK are all quite different from the currently assigned Asia regions, and the distress and disappointment of HK players is calling for a proper review of your region policy.
Obliviously, Hong Kong is part of SEA Server.You can find the SEA Server hot line for Hong Kong. (Hong Kong/Macau 001-800-3010-1015)

Please give me the right to access US RMAH like other SEA Server's players.
completely agree

frankly speaking, I cant listen to those "Chinese" in the so called "Chinese version". I would prefer listening to English as only Mainland China / Taiwan use "Mandarin" as their mother tongue.

Prohibiting Hong Kong player to SEA region is rather ridiculous to us.

<- blizzard supporter since diablo 1 and dungeon keeper
I cannot speak for Macau's situation, but in terms of the RMAH for Hong Kong, there are possible legal considerations that may prevent Blizzard from offering a system for Hong Kong players from using a game to make real world currency from playing a game. Under Hong Kong's rather strict Gambling Ordinance (s.2 CAP148) a game of "skill" or "chance" that has the potential for players to "win" money even though there is no possibility to lose money may still be considered "gambling" and is technically illegal unless it falls under one of the statutory exemptions (which require both taxation and licencing). I cannot say for certain that this is why Hong Kong has been put in the Asia Region for Diablo 3, but I know that a similar reason prevented Blizzard from setting up a RMAH in South Korea.

I do agree that English speaking gamers in the Asia region have not been adequate consideration. Even if I can read and speak Traditional Chinese, I still may prefer to play games in their original language. If you set your "Country of Residence" on Bnet as Hong Kong you are limited to only the Traditional Chinese language client for digital purchase. The only way around it is to either to create a Bnet account with your country of residence set as the US or to contact customer service to change your country of residence (this application must be supplemented with a valid proof if ID and address). Otherwise, players must purchase a physical copy of the game in order to gain access to the English language client and are unable to enjoy the midnight release.

Furthermore, the customer service agents for Kong Kong and Macau, only speak Putonghua. I would at least think that a Cantonese speaking representative available since it is the most commonly spoken language in those two regions.

I am fortunate enough to be both a Hong Kong permanent resident and a US citizen. I have been debating whether or not to apply to change my country of residence on Bnet to the United States since I see no disadvantage in doing so. I hope that Blizzard does more to accommodate English speaking players in its Asia Region for Diablo 3 and future titles.
this could be one of the greatest troll posts of all time
With all due respect, who's trolling now?

Just because English speaking players put HK as their country of residence (which have no side-effects whatsoever in Blizzard's products in the past), they will now have to play in the US Diablo III servers in a handicapped manner? Or to play with the Chinese community even though Mandarin / Putunghua is not the mother tongue of Hong Kong residents?

If the reason is because of HK's Gambling Ordinance (Cap. 148) as Zepto has described, I guess HK residents will have to live with this arrangement.

However, if the truth is, Blizzard overlooked several important legal and cultural differences in HK compared to other Asia regions, and dictated HK's region merely based on geographical proximity, then I see no reason why HK residents cannot express our dissatisfaction with Blizzard's current judgement.

The fact that newly created HK Battle.net accounts are required to put in NID, some kind of Taiwan document which is not just non-existent in HK but even confusing for HK residents, seems to suggest that it's matters being overlooked rather than legal hurdles.
I think it is not related to HK's Gambling Ordinance (Cap. 148) because Blizzard TW said the Asia RMAH for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau is coming "soon". The main reason seems to be the population of Asia is low compared to US and EU. There are only four regions (Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong and Macau) in Asia Server.
Well Skyer, that is why we are asking for SEA privileges instead of being categorized directly under the America regions.

For those HK residents who can communicate in Mandarin Chinese perfectly they can still enjoy Diablo III in the Asia region with full regional support.

It's the group of players who can't (which, unfortunately, is not a small portion) are being placed in an awkward situation right now.

Blizzard can easily identify this group of players by looking into their US-WoW subscription data and US-SC2 playerbase. I can safely assume that HK should have the highest number of US-WoW / US-SC2 players which far exceeds those US-WoW / US-SC2 players in the other regions currently assigned to the Diablo III Asia group.
05/13/2012 02:57 AMPosted by Senki
The main reason seems to be the population of Asia is low compared to US and EU

lol, Asia has what? 2/3 of the worlds population? Thats low compared to the US?
He meant population of GAMERS, obviously, not general population.
Hmmm... I guess I'm still confused with the whole server thing... I thought there were only 2 servers but 3 different RMAHs.

I thought there was only an America server and a European server, with Asia and AUS combined into the America server, meaning by default SEA players will get to play with NA players just fine. It's the RMAH that are separated so that an SEA player playing on his default server (America server) will see the SEA RMAH, and a US player will play on his default server (same server) and see the US RMAH.

Global play comes into play when people want to play on the opposite server... being that US player playing on the EU server will not have access to any RMAH while on that server.
The argument that there's a relatively small population in the currently assigned Asia region therefore HK should be assigned to it to boost its numbers cannot stand.

Quoting Blizzard's latest Auction House FAQ:

If I live in Australia/New Zealand/Southeast Asia, what server will I play Diablo III on?
Diablo III players in Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia will, by default, connect to the Americas region. By connecting to this region, players will have a wider pool of people to play with and access to a more vibrant and active auction house marketplace. (emphasis added)

It's Blizzard's own policy to provide alternatives to regions which have a relatively low population to regional groups with similar language preference.
05/13/2012 02:57 AMPosted by Senki
lol, Asia has what? 2/3 of the worlds population? Thats low compared to the US?

I mean the division by Blizzard. There are 3 servers. Asia is the lowest population.

Europe - home game region for players in the European Union, Eastern Europe, Russia, Africa, and Middle Eastern countries such as Israel and the United Arab Emirates

The Americas - home game region for players in North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia

Asia - home game region for players in South Korea and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. Note that the real-money auction house will not be available in this game region at launch.
05/13/2012 03:11 AMPosted by Dranoelzero
It's Blizzard's own policy to provide alternatives to regions which have a relatively low population to regional groups with similar language preference.

It will be great to allow Hong Kong access the US RMAH. Hope Blizzard reconsider their decision.
Morisato, there are currently 3 server groups but 2 different regional RMAH as Skyer has pointed out.

HK currently is being assigned to the Asia region, therefore will not have any RMAH support for now whatsoever.

However, unlike other cities like Singapore which enjoys SEA privileges, when we play in the US servers we do not have access to the RMAH, while SEA regions can access perfectly.

I know there are HK players out there just like me and my friends find it shocking to know that Hong Kong's SEA privileges have been stripped in Diablo III. If we had knew this earlier we would have petitioned Blizzard much earlier. I believe there are still players out there who are confused by the RMAH arrangements and I can foresee that more and more HK players will express their dissatisfaction once the game has been launched and then finding out that they could not access the US RMAH.
I support this also, I am from HK too but dont speak cantonese. I find it surprising, considering for WOW HK falls under NA. I studied and worked in the US for many years, and would like to be grouped with NA as well.

Considering HK was a British colony, they're are a lot of English speaking gamers here, and that official language here is English, you really should change the regional placement for HK.

I am even more surprised that the digital download from Bnet for HK is only available in Chinese. Surprises me considering what a global world we live in now and how many expats are all over the place. Should be standard practice to have English available all the time with an option to include a country's other language as well. And not just Blizzard, but other digital download services too.

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