Skip to main content

Why Blizzard suspending a Hearthstone player over Hong Kong support is bad

Image used with permission by copyright holder

On October 6, professional Hearthstone player Chung Ng Wai won a match in the Hearthstone Grandmasters competition and used a postgame interview to voice his support for protestors currently voicing their frustration with Hong Kong and the Chinese government. Shortly thereafter, Blizzard removed him from the competition, revoked his winnings, and suspended him from all Hearthstone esports competitions for a year. The broadcasters who interviewed him were also fired.

It was an immensely controversial punishment that doesn’t seem to fit the crime — if you can even call it that. If anything, it only shows how Blizzard’s current rules can be manipulated to suit the needs of those with their own agenda in the company.

Blizzard cited a line in its official Grandmasters competition rules for the decision:

“Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages [the] Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters competition and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0, in addition to other remedies which may be provided under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms.”

Hong Kong Protests
AFP

The vagueness of this rule means “offending” someone could mean coming into conflict with a government. Blizzard has immense support in China that include professional esports teams. Suspending Chung Ng Wai appears to be a step to appease potential government or regulatory bodies in China than it is to avoid offending anyone. After all, nothing offensive toward a particular person or group was said in the statement.

Hong Kong’s protests are largely driven by people who believe their civil rights are being violated by an increasing police state and assimilation into the rest of China. It has resulted in beatings, deaths, and arrests, and shows no signs of stopping.

Blizzard’s opposition to words condemning the protestors’ mistreatment doesn’t fall in line with the values of its characters, particularly in the game Overwatch — where freedom and the defense of those who cannot defend themselves are key themes.

Should Blizzard move down this path further in the future, it points to a company that does not embrace its own values, and whose games designed with themes that are nothing more than window dressing. It is a depressing prospect and one that could ultimately be the downfall of a company that appears to be struggling internally.

Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
Warframe: 1999 is the Y2K dating sim I didn’t know I needed
Arthur from warframe clashes swords with the excalibur frame.

After over a decade, Warframe continues to grow, evolve, and reinvent itself. The third-person shooter/RPG hybrid has thrived as a free-to-play game thanks to steady updates expanding the story, systems, and weapons. With the upcoming release of Warframe: 1999, Digital Extremes looks to conquer some completely unexpected things: Y2K, chat rooms, and boy bands.

As Rebecca Ford, creative director for Warframe, tells Digital Trends at this year's Tennocon, “The Journey that Warframe has taken is unexpected.” Following the conclusion of the New War storyline, the team was looking for the next narrative direction to take, and Ford credits former art director Michael Brennan, better known as Mynki in the Warframe community, with the suggestion it would be cool to visit other times.

Read more
You can prepare for Dragon Age: The Veilguard for $4 during PlayStation’s Summer Sale
A dragon appears on the ground in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Dragon Age: The Veilguard from BioWare and EA is one of the biggest games set to launch this fall. It will mark the first new game in the fantasy RPG series in a decade and hopefully be a single-player return to form for BioWare after the ill-regarded Anthem. If you're planning to play Dragon Age: The Veilguard when it launches later this year, you should catch up on the series' lore by revisiting some of the older games in it. Thankfully, the PlayStation Store Summer Sale just gave you the perfect opportunity to get Dragon Age: Inquisition for quite a low price.

For the rest of July, Dragon Age: Inquisition -- Game of the Year Edition, which includes the 50+ hour-long RPG and all of its DLC, is discounted to just $4 on the PlayStation Store as part of this Summer Sale. That's a 90% discount from its typical $40 price tag. If you've been wondering what to pick up as part of PlayStation's big summer sale and plan on playing Dragon Age: The Veilguard later this year, then getting Dragon Age: Inquisition and all its DLC for just $4 is clearly the deal to go with.

Read more
Wordle Today: Wordle answer and hints for July 22
Someone playing Wordle on a smartphone.

We have the solution to Wordle on July 16, as well as some helpful hints to help you figure out the answer yourself, right here. We've placed the answer at the bottom of the page, so we don't ruin the surprise before you've had a chance to work through the clues. So let's dive in, starting with a reminder of yesterday's answer.
Yesterday's Wordle answer
Let's start by first reminding ourselves of yesterday's Wordle answer for those new to the game or who don't play it daily, which was "SPECK." So we can say that the Wordle answer today definitely isn't that. Now, with that in mind, perhaps take another stab at it using one of these Wordle starting words and circle back if you have no luck.
Hints for today's Wordle
Still can't figure it out? We have today's Wordle answer right here, below. But first, one more thing: Let's take a look at three hints that could help you find the solution, without giving it away, so there's no need to feel guilty about keeping your streak alive -- you put in some work, after all! Or just keep scrolling for the answer.

Today’s Wordle includes the letter c.
Today’s Wordle uses two vowels.
Today's Wordle means a person in training.

Read more