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Blizzard partially retracts punishment for Hearthstone champion

Published: 08:56, 12 October 2019
Blizzard
Hearthstone: Journey to Un’Goro

Blizzard found themselves under fire for taking away the prize of Blitzchung, who won Hearthstone Grandmasters and permanently banning him as well as two casters, due to the player spreading a pro-Hong Kong message. The resulting pressure made them partially reverse the decision.

After Blitzchung was interviewed following his triumph during Hearthstone Grandmasters, he uttered eight words that got him and the associated shout casters banned for a year by Blizzard. The exact words were "Free Hong Kong, the revolution of our time" which was support for the currently ongoing protests.

Blizzard subsequently banned Blitzchung, both of the casters and took away his prize money as they apparently didn't want their platform to be used for spreading social and political agendas. The western gamers stood up to the decision and kept the pressure going the entire week, as they wouldn't tolerate repression of free speech.

Considering Blizzard are not the only one in the melting pot of political controversy regarding Hong Kong and China, the news quickly spread to mainstream media , such as BBC, FOX and grabbed the attention of US politicians in the process. Standing against an action such as Blizzard's turned out to be one of those things that immediately gained bipartisan support there.

Following all the pressure, it appears Blizzard relented. In a lengthy message from J. Allan Brack, the company stated the bans for Blitzchung and the casters would be reduced to six months and the champion would get the prize money after all.

Blizzard Fantasy looking chart depicting a Year of the Raven in the game Hearthstone Blizzard: Hearthstone: The Year of the Raven

Considering Blitzchung was well aware he was breaking the rules he agreed on upon entering the tournament, the six-month suspension seems entirely fair. Had Blizzard led with such a punishment instead of going scorched earth on everyone involved, perhaps this entire mess could have been avoided.

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