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Chinese Addon Manager Adds Paywalls and Download Speed Caps - No Alternatives Support Localization
08/3/2021 em 02:25
With little to no language localization for third party addon managers, Chinese players are having trouble finding and downloading addons after the commonly used manager
instituted premium features - limiting download speeds and UI sharing by a pay wall.
Downloading addons isn't something that's normally thought of as a problem for the rest of us. Whatever your feelings toward Twitch, Curseforge, or Overwolf, there are a wealth of options available through various third party addon managers, and virtually limitless competing addon options to allow users to find something that matches their preferences. In China however, most of these things are restricted by a language barrier, alongside governmental ones - Twitch was
banned nation-wide in 2018
, restricting access to both the website and addon manager without the use of a VPN, which are also illegal in China. Since that time, the most widely used addon manager in China is
(Tao Le Dou), an addon manager which pulls addons from the Curseforge repository, translates them, and rehosts them for the Chinese player base to download.
Browsing addons and Sharing user interfaces on 桃乐豆
Click to enlarge
As of yesterday, 桃乐豆 instituted new premium features in three tiers. Free users still have access to all addons, but are limited to backing up/sharing only one user interface of ~30MB and downloads are restricted to an "okay" speed of around 500 KBps, while the premium plans incrementally raise these limitations. While this doesn't sound too restrictive, keep in mind that many Chinese players don't play from home computers, instead using shared computers like internet cafes to do their gaming, which means features like UI sharing becomes extremely important when they're not constantly using the same machine the way the rest of us do. This highly incentivizes the premium subscriptions when using larger and more complicated UIs (bigger "known addons" are excluded from that limit, but it includes downloading some "lesser known" addons used in that UI), or when using multiple UIs with different addons, characters, or game types such as PvP.
The "Cloud" refers to their rehost service, allowing Chinese players to download addons locally, much faster than through Curseforge servers.
Although this setup still allows free access to addons and UIs, several threads have appeared on the gaming community
, with hundreds replies as to whether 桃乐豆 should remove their subscriptions, and the results are surprisingly split. The price is also very cheap and 桃乐豆 provides a near invaluable service not found anywhere else in China, although as the only reliable manager, it also means users don't have a choice and could be the start of a slippery slope, with detractors arguing: "Who knows if 桃乐豆 will start charging people to download and update addons one day." Other posts share instructions for using alternative addon managers such as Wowup, but the convenience and accessibility of 桃乐豆 is hard to deny.
888 Agree, 1210 Disagree
While there are
other addon managers available
to the rest of us, most Chinese players aren't familiar with Ajour, WoWup, or Instawow, and they don't support Chinese localization either, so even figuring out basic features can be a major hurdle. The Curseforge website can also be used directly or through the Overwolf app, though they too lack language support, which further complicates the extra steps of installing a more comprehensive platform like Overwolf. Most of these managers also use Curseforge's repository without rehosting, which results in slow download even browsing due to not having servers in China. On the other hand, Overwolf has recently spoken out about
3rd party tools scrapping it's repository
, and the fact that 桃乐豆 is now charging for some level of its services adds yet another wrinkle.
Still, the language barrier is the most important issue. Estimates place the English speaking population of China (excluding Hong Kong & Macau) at around 1%, representing a significant barrier against the majority of their players. While some bigger addons such as Deadly Boss Mods support multiple languages, it's hard to actually get to them when the managers don't. Even figuring out simple functions like "update all" can be difficult, much less navigating all the untranslated addons or setting up external applications. That said, it would seem that if an addon manager could set up proper localization and user support for Chinese players, it would stand to gain a
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