Overcoming previous disagreements about World of Warcraft's online presence in China, a sizable expansion pack for the massively multiplayer roleplay game has been given the go-ahead for a nationwide release on August 31.

Wrath of the Lich King expands the core game with extra missions, areas, characters and items, and was first made available in North American and European regions back in November 2008.

Since then, it has been further augmented with additional material as players await the next expansion pack, Cataclysm, expected sometime before the end of 2010.

The subscription-based World of Warcraft draws on tropes of Western fantasy fiction and represents a huge amount of income for the Activision-owned US company, Blizzard Interactive.

Activision posted nearly $1 billion in net revenue for the quarter ending June 30, while earlier in the month CEO Robert Kotick had said that "probably 70 percent of our operating profit comes from non-console-based video games."

China, meanwhile, is interested in nurturing a homegrown video game industry that generates revenue for the country rather than acting as an economic and cultural drain.

The government has expressed a marked preference for the use of Chinese history, legend, and of course a respect for social norms as opposed to the appropriation of foreign origin stories.

For this reason, Blizzard and its Chinese licensee NetEase have been introducing modifications that improve the game's acceptability.

NetEase also runs the wildly popular Fantasy Westward Journey and Westward Journey II, both of which are based on the 16th century epic Journey to the West.

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