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WOW nearly out of woods in China

Sources say fine agreed, Lich King soon.

Reuters reports that World of Warcraft's operator in China, NetEase, may be close to ending its dispute with regulators over the running of the game.

China's General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), which ordered NetEase to stop taking fees and account registrations in November, told Reuters that a resolution would be announced "very soon".

Sources say that GAPP and the Chinese Ministry of Culture - which disagreed with the regulator on the issue - have reached a consensus to fine NetEase and allow it to continue running the game. Analysts also believe that NetEase is ready to launch the Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack as soon as the dispute is cleared up.

NetEase took over the Chinese WOW operation from The9 last year, and there followed long delays before the game was back online, which were blamed on technical difficulties. Once it was in full operation, GAPP claimed that it had authorised a beta only and that taking money and new account registrations for the game was "illegal behaviour" on NetEase's part.