Blizzard’s fall from grace continues: update on banned Hearthstone players
In one of the biggest controversies in gaming history, Blizzard caused a huge uproar when the company punished and banned a gamer from a Hearthstone tournament for supporting the Hong Kong protests. Chung ‘Blitzchung’ Ng Wai was banned from the entire rest of the Grand Masters competition for participating in protests and wearing one of the masks that the Chinese government banned.
Blizzard’s reputation at risk after their many bad decisions
Prior to this scandal, Blizzard had quite a good reputation as one of the ‘better’ game developers out there, next to companies like EA. Now things aren’t quite the same anymore – Blizzard did huge damage to their reputation, and their feeble claims about the incidents didn’t help things either.
Blizzard, after several days, decided to respond to the incident and broke its silence in order to say that China didn’t influence their decision to ban Blitzchung. Naturally, players didn’t buy it for a second and instead claimed that Blizzard cared too much about their profits to be willing to stand up for what’s right.
Of course, it didn’t stop there – a little after Blitzchung, more players got banned – the rest of his team. They showed a sign in reaction to the original ban during a stream of a match… and a few days later, the players were banned.
Nobody was happy about it – not even Blizzard’s own employees. Several employees at the main Blizzard campus in Irvine, California staged a walk-out and assembled around a famous Orc statue on said campus on Tuesday afternoon.
It was a protest against the company’s actions – the protest lasted the entire day, with fluctuating attendance numbers of about 12 to 30 employees. Blizzard declined to comment on the protest, even though executive offices were aware of the protest while it was happening.
In an unrelated issue, Blizzard recently changed the names of WoW guilds against the owners’ will – both the guilds ‘Gay Boys’ and ‘Make Azeroth Great Again’ had their names changed multiple times, prompting players to quit the game entirely.
The reaction of disappointed blizzard fans
It’s the latest in a series of really awful decisions Blizzard has made, as we can read from multiple esports news around. The reaction from players was certainly huge – so many asked to delete their Blizzard accounts and cancel their subscriptions to various content that the functionality for it either crashed or was disabled – in what is lately their favourite move, Blizzard didn’t actually respond to that.
Lifelong Blizzard fans deleted their games and vowed never to touch their games again in social media post after social media post. In fact, memes made fun of the fact that Blizzard is for once viewed as worse than the company everyone loves to hate – EA.
Apparently, there’s nothing like human rights issues to break people’s loyalty to a game developer. It doesn’t help that every step of the way, Blizzard seems to have gone with the wrong reaction. The reason for this remains a mystery – though cynical minds claim Blizzard’s earnings in China, as well as the stock Tencent has in the company, are probably somehow connected to it, despite Blizzard’s denial of a financial or political motive.