Players have been being afflicted by a debuff centric to the Chinese servers that is meant to pressure players away from extended play and to rest away from video games and screens. After a few hours of play, a debuff with the following text is being displayed:
“You have more than 3 hours of online time. You will receive 1/2 money and XP during this period. Your rest state will reset in 5 hours of offline time. Please go rest.”
The icon is not dispellable and serves as a permanent debuff. Players are unable to remove it though, presumably, it would remove after being offline for 5 hours. However, given that it isn’t meant for the majority of the world – specific to the Chinese servers – it may appear and disappear at random.
— Icy Veins (@icyveins) October 15, 2020
To be clear, this isn’t a new thing – this “mechanic” is alive and well on the Chinese servers. These restrictions were put in place fifteen years ago as a result of Chinese mandates that help to limit the time citizens spend on the internet.
However, it’s certainly strange to see it appearing on other servers, as this is only active for Chinese servers. The bug is appearing at random on the Beta for North American and European players, but it’s unclear if the debuff is actually having an effect.
At the moment, this is a rare occurrence, and not something plaguing the entirety of the servers so much as something that’s been popping up. There isn’t a great deal of information available as of now.
Blizzard has been made aware of the issue and is working towards a fix to the bug. Until then, many are calling it an intense reminder of the tribulations of the rest of the world and the gaming community and the extent that censorship extends in other nations.
Regardless, Blizzard shows no sort of sign of applying these restrictions to the rest of the world – this is solely the doing of the government that put these restrictions in place and not an intended issue from the developers themselves. It’s highly unlikely that this bug will exist much longer now that it’s been brought to Blizzard’s attention.