While console games typically get the brunt end of the notoriously strict Australian ratings board, massively multi-player online games have existed in some sort of ratings purgatory netherworld.

Titles like World of Warcraft have traditionally been released without rating — odd, because Australian law says games must have a rating.

"Blizzard Entertainment has always worked closely with the Classification Board for all its titles," Blizzard told GameSpot AU. "However, back in 2004, we were advised by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) that the online-only nature of World of Warcraft was unclassifiable under its definition of computer games at that time. Recent changes at the Classification Board have led to their ability to classify online only games such as World of Warcraft."

The Classification Board has now rated World of Warcraft and its expansions, giving the games an M rating for "fantasy violence". The game has been sold in Australia since 2004 without classification, reports GameSpot.

When asked why the ratings board now is able to rate online games like World of Warcraft, the body would not comment and instead offered this comment: "The Classification Board has been following developments in online gaming."

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WoW receives belated Aussie rating [GameSpot]