Players on the Chinese mainland will continue to get their World of Warcraft fix: Blizzard Entertainment and have renewed their existing licensing arrangement for an additional three years.

Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, said this deal paves the way for the international blockbuster’s fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria, which is due to open for beta players in the very near future.

The companies’ cooperation began in 2009 and already has resulted in Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm, the second and third World of Warcraft expansion sets, launching in mainland China. The Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase partnership also covers Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft III and StarCraft II, as well as the international gaming platform.

Existing members of will be the first to get access to Mists of Pandaria.

Mists of Pandaria incorporates many elements influenced by Eastern culture, and introduces a new playable race (the pandaren, pictured), a new class (the monk), a new continent to explore, an all-new pet battle system and more.

“We’re grateful for the tremendous enthusiasm Chinese gamers have shown for World of Warcraft over the years, and we’re pleased to be renewing our agreement for the game in China,” Morhaime said. “We look forward to working with NetEase to deliver all of the new features and content of Mists of Pandaria to Chinese players as soon as possible.”

William Ding, CEO of NetEase, said: “Both companies have complementary business strategies and share a similar corporate culture. I am confident that with Blizzard Entertainment’s expertise in developing world-class games and NetEase’s experience in local game operation, we will be able to provide the best gaming experiences for players in China.”

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