55 votes

Hearthstone Player Banned from Grandmasters Tournament for Voicing Support for HK Protestors

39 comments

  1. [6]
    NaraVara
    Link
    Link to the official announcement from Blizzard. This seems like Blizzard is going above and beyond the run of the mill “gotta go along” norms of American companies in China and tipped over into...

    Link to the official announcement from Blizzard. This seems like Blizzard is going above and beyond the run of the mill “gotta go along” norms of American companies in China and tipped over into actively supporting the CCP’s party line. They not only banned the player, but have gone after the casters who just happened to be there too.

    18 votes
    1. Adys
      Link Parent
      Yes, blizzard has a massive presence in China, especially hearthstone. The Chinese market is straight up what's keeping hearthstone alive. This is repulsive and unsurprising.

      Yes, blizzard has a massive presence in China, especially hearthstone. The Chinese market is straight up what's keeping hearthstone alive.

      This is repulsive and unsurprising.

      18 votes
    2. [2]
      TheJorro
      Link Parent
      Rescinding the prize money is probably the most aggressive move from them, that's well beyond any expected response.

      Rescinding the prize money is probably the most aggressive move from them, that's well beyond any expected response.

      8 votes
      1. NaraVara
        Link Parent
        And also firing the casters who were there despite them cutting him off and cutting to commercial immediately. This is definitely beyond just "we're scared to piss off the CCP." This seems...

        And also firing the casters who were there despite them cutting him off and cutting to commercial immediately. This is definitely beyond just "we're scared to piss off the CCP." This seems intended to have a chilling effect on this sort of speech by threatening even being associated with anyone sympathetic to the HK protestors. It's hard not to conclude that Blizzard is actively pushing the CCP line.

        11 votes
    3. [2]
      Bullmaestro
      Link Parent
      I wouldn't necessary say that the casters "just happened to be there." They knew what Blitzchung was going to say, pretty much told him to get on with it and ducked under the desk giggling as he...

      I wouldn't necessary say that the casters "just happened to be there." They knew what Blitzchung was going to say, pretty much told him to get on with it and ducked under the desk giggling as he called out for the liberation of Hong Kong.

      I wouldn't necessarily say Blizzard were just in terminating them with immediate effect, but they were far from an innocent party in all of this.

      4 votes
      1. NaraVara
        Link Parent
        Fair point, though I would quibble with the word choice on "innocent" there as that implies a moral or ethical lapse.

        Fair point, though I would quibble with the word choice on "innocent" there as that implies a moral or ethical lapse.

        1 vote
  2. [5]
    JXM
    Link
    Can you imagine the massive backlash if someone said they supported the recent climate protests around the world and got banned? The backlash here should be no different. And Blizzard should be...

    Can you imagine the massive backlash if someone said they supported the recent climate protests around the world and got banned?

    The backlash here should be no different. And Blizzard should be ashamed (but they won’t be).

    14 votes
    1. [4]
      Grzmot
      Link Parent
      If money ever goes against ethics, money will win. Money always wins, now that I think of it.

      If money ever goes against ethics, money will win.

      Money always wins, now that I think of it.

      11 votes
      1. [3]
        imperialismus
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Blizzard actively promotes Pride, because it doesn't offend anyone they care about. But as soon as supporting human rights activism offends someone in a way that impacts the bottom line, they do...

        Blizzard actively promotes Pride, because it doesn't offend anyone they care about. But as soon as supporting human rights activism offends someone in a way that impacts the bottom line, they do this. That's not to say that insincere support of a good cause can't have positive consequences. But you don't deserve any credit for being "progressive" when that clearly is contingent first and foremost on the question "is it profitable?" rather than "is it good?"

        8 votes
        1. [2]
          Grzmot
          Link Parent
          They do it cause it brings them more cash. Or possibly the employees are happier and it doesn't have an impact on the bottom line. This is a moment where Blizzard could've stepped up as a company,...

          Blizzard actively promotes Pride, because it doesn't offend anyone they care about.

          They do it cause it brings them more cash. Or possibly the employees are happier and it doesn't have an impact on the bottom line.

          This is a moment where Blizzard could've stepped up as a company, instead they valued profits higher. I can understand why, because if they support Blitzchung here, they're most likely going to have to exit the Chinese market, because declaring solidarity is something the PRC takes extremely seriously. It would've tanked their stock incredibly, but hey, that's modern capitalism.

          4 votes
          1. loto
            Link Parent
            I'm not sure it would have if they just did nothing - one of their players said something in a post-tournament interview, if they just let the interview finish instead of semi-publicly...

            I'm not sure it would have if they just did nothing - one of their players said something in a post-tournament interview, if they just let the interview finish instead of semi-publicly banning/firing people and bringing more attention to it (making me wonder if they (either blizz/the PRC) think there's people who could change their views on the HK protests because a famous player supports them? As I type this it sounds more plausible than it did in my head) - but I wonder if they've lost some/any money since the news broke. This shows it's fluctuating around ~$54, and gone down $1ish per share in the last few days, but I'm not sure how significant changes in that order are.

            1 vote
  3. [3]
    Adys
    Link
    Brian Kibler, one of Hearthstone's most respected and long-standing casters (and a MTG professional) has announced he will not be casting the Hearthstone Grandmasters finals at BlizzCon,...

    Brian Kibler, one of Hearthstone's most respected and long-standing casters (and a MTG professional) has announced he will not be casting the Hearthstone Grandmasters finals at BlizzCon, Blizzard's biggest event of the year.

    https://bmkgaming.com/statement-on-blitzchung/

    14 votes
  4. Bullmaestro
    Link
    Blizzard China made a far different statement to users on Weibo regarding Blitzchung. Full translation below:

    Blizzard China made a far different statement to users on Weibo regarding Blitzchung. Full translation below:

    "We are very angered and disappointed in what happened at the event and do not condone it in any way. We also highly object the spreading of personal political beliefs in this manner. Effectively immediately we've banned the contestant from events and terminated work with the broadcasters. We will always respect and defend the pride of our country."

    11 votes
  5. [2]
    Deimos
    Link
    Mark Kern, who was a team lead on World of Warcraft and worked on multiple of Blizzard's other early games (before leaving in 2006) posted this thread on Twitter today:...

    Mark Kern, who was a team lead on World of Warcraft and worked on multiple of Blizzard's other early games (before leaving in 2006) posted this thread on Twitter today: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1181736075775004672.html

    7 votes
    1. Migaloo
      Link Parent
      China's really put their tendrils deep into the western world and our leaders and business elite willing let it happen to line their pockets. At least it seems to be coming to light the last year...

      China's really put their tendrils deep into the western world and our leaders and business elite willing let it happen to line their pockets. At least it seems to be coming to light the last year or so but hopefully it's not to late.

      3 votes
  6. SUD0
    Link
    Some students competing in the Collegiate Hearthstone League followed suit and held up a Pro Hong Kong sign. Here is a link to a clip of the stream:...

    Some students competing in the Collegiate Hearthstone League followed suit and held up a Pro Hong Kong sign. Here is a link to a clip of the stream: https://www.reddit.com/r/LivestreamFail/comments/dfagnj/american_university_hearthstone_team_holds_up/

    Further down in the comments, someone mentions that Blizzard is disabling the team cameras for the rest of the tournament.

    6 votes
  7. [2]
    moocow1452
    (edited )
    Link
    As an avid Hearthstone player, this is a pretty awkward situation for Blizzard to be in, especially with it's midseason event, and Grandmasters ongoing. I'm going to take a bit of time to process...

    As an avid Hearthstone player, this is a pretty awkward situation for Blizzard to be in, especially with it's midseason event, and Grandmasters ongoing. I'm going to take a bit of time to process this before I make any major decisions, but... ick.

    EDIT: As always, Twitter has something fitting to say: As someone who exclusively looks to Netflix cartoons, the NBA, and Blizzard for moral guidance, this has been a really difficult week for me.

    5 votes
    1. ConalFisher
      Link Parent
      If by awkward situation, you mean absolutely disgusting and worthy of a complete boycott, then yes, I'd agree.

      If by awkward situation, you mean absolutely disgusting and worthy of a complete boycott, then yes, I'd agree.

      3 votes
  8. tunneljumper
    Link
    The NBA is going through a similar thing right now -- the Rockets are indisputably the most popular NBA team in China with all-time great Yao Ming popularizing the sport, but GM Daryl Morey...

    The NBA is going through a similar thing right now -- the Rockets are indisputably the most popular NBA team in China with all-time great Yao Ming popularizing the sport, but GM Daryl Morey tweeted in support of HK and the league's front office is scrambling on what to do right now. further reading

    4 votes
  9. [2]
    Autoxidation
    Link
    Surprised no one has brought up #BoycottBlizzard yet. I've been playing Classic WoW since it came out and I am unsubbing because of this. I would encourage others to vote with their wallets. Money...

    Surprised no one has brought up #BoycottBlizzard yet. I've been playing Classic WoW since it came out and I am unsubbing because of this. I would encourage others to vote with their wallets. Money is cleary all Blizzard about in this decision (or Yuans, I guess), so the players should make a statement and hurt their bottom line here.

    4 votes
    1. Migaloo
      Link Parent
      I unssubbed as well. It helped I was starting to get bored of it. But I was going to get the WC3 remake but this the end of blizzard products for me.

      I unssubbed as well. It helped I was starting to get bored of it. But I was going to get the WC3 remake but this the end of blizzard products for me.

      4 votes
  10. [15]
    Neverland
    (edited )
    Link
    About two hours ago, r/Blizzard was full of highly upvoted anti-Blizzard posts. The sub is now set to private. edit: At first I was really happy to see that they were allowing all of those posts...

    About two hours ago, r/Blizzard was full of highly upvoted anti-Blizzard posts.

    The sub is now set to private.

    edit: At first I was really happy to see that they were allowing all of those posts to remain. Does anyone have any insights into how this works?

    Is a sub like that under official 3rd party corporate control?

    Were those anti-Blizzard posts allowed by at least some mods, or is "mods are asleep" actually a real thing?

    8 votes
    1. [3]
      NaraVara
      Link Parent
      I wouldn't jump to assuming malfeasance so quickly. When stuff like this blows up in a community, moderation can become quite impossible and mods/users can start to get a lot of harassing posts,...

      I wouldn't jump to assuming malfeasance so quickly. When stuff like this blows up in a community, moderation can become quite impossible and mods/users can start to get a lot of harassing posts, threats, doxxing, etc. Sometimes it really is the smart move to shut things down for a bit until the worst of it blows over.

      9 votes
      1. [2]
        Neverland
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Oh, I agree on that. I am not trying to. I come from a position of near complete naivete in regards to modding. I am not assuming malfeasance necessarily, I just wondered what kind of control a...

        I wouldn't jump to assuming malfeasance so quickly.

        Oh, I agree on that. I am not trying to. I come from a position of near complete naivete in regards to modding. I am not assuming malfeasance necessarily, I just wondered what kind of control a Blizzard, or Nike, or NBA has of their respective subreddits.

        2 votes
        1. aphoenix
          Link Parent
          Blizzard has a generally hands off approach to Reddit. They try to help out when they can, but they generally don't ask moderators to do things. The only time to my memory that boasts has asked...

          Blizzard has a generally hands off approach to Reddit. They try to help out when they can, but they generally don't ask moderators to do things. The only time to my memory that boasts has asked for something was when someone fully leaked an expansion (accurately) the day before it was being announced.

          4 votes
    2. [5]
      aphoenix
      Link Parent
      r/Blizzard was a tiny subreddit with not enough mods. It's very likely private because they're suddenly inundated with hate and unable to do anything about it. I feel bad for those mods.

      r/Blizzard was a tiny subreddit with not enough mods. It's very likely private because they're suddenly inundated with hate and unable to do anything about it. I feel bad for those mods.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        Neverland
        Link Parent
        Again, from an external POV, I feel bad for most subs' mods. Jeez, what a thankless job!

        I feel bad for those mods.

        Again, from an external POV, I feel bad for most subs' mods. Jeez, what a thankless job!

        3 votes
        1. aphoenix
          Link Parent
          Yeah it sucks. Signed, A mod on blast for things today (r/wow)

          Yeah it sucks.

          Signed,

          A mod on blast for things today (r/wow)

          7 votes
      2. [2]
        Bullmaestro
        Link Parent
        Given the fact that r/Blizzard blamed the lockdown on a rogue mod setting the subreddit to private and deleting his account (despite nobody actually disappearing from their mod list), my theory is...

        Given the fact that r/Blizzard blamed the lockdown on a rogue mod setting the subreddit to private and deleting his account (despite nobody actually disappearing from their mod list), my theory is that they set the subreddit to private purely to stir up more drama against Blizzard. It certainly made headlines.

        There definitely isn't a grand conspiracy about them being pro-China or pro-Blizzard, due to how lax they've otherwise been with posts and memes about the situation.

        2 votes
        1. aphoenix
          Link Parent
          I mean, if you want to believe in a conspiracy you go for it, but PwnBuddy spelled out what happened, and there is no reason to not believe him. The mod list has also changed drastically in the...

          I mean, if you want to believe in a conspiracy you go for it, but PwnBuddy spelled out what happened, and there is no reason to not believe him. The mod list has also changed drastically in the last few days, so I don't know why you think it hasn't.

          2 votes
    3. [7]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [5]
        cfabbro
        Link Parent
        I dont think its necessarily panic. Mods stuck in these positions, where a huge bit of bad news ends up directing a massive hate brigade at their once peaceful subreddit, leads to a damned if you...

        I dont think its necessarily panic. Mods stuck in these positions, where a huge bit of bad news ends up directing a massive hate brigade at their once peaceful subreddit, leads to a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. And since moderation is already an incredibly thankless "job" (AKA unpaid volunteer position) on reddit, where the moderation tools are substandard and neglected, and anti-brigading tools nonexistent, is it any surprise that many simply chose the "shut it down until things calm down" option?

        3 votes
        1. [5]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. [4]
            cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Why should the mods of a small, tightly-knit community like /r/Blizzard (which only had 28k subs) have to worry or care about what the latest fly-by-night, following the latest outrage,...

            Why should the mods of a small, tightly-knit community like /r/Blizzard (which only had 28k subs) have to worry or care about what the latest fly-by-night, following the latest outrage, witch-hunting, conspiratorial-minded, brigading mob of users on reddit thinks of them, or be forced to deal with their bullshit?

            This exact sort of shitty situation is one of the things I hate most about reddit and the primary reasons I am so excited for the trust system on Tildes... which will ideally/hopefully help prevent that sort of brigading from really being an issue here. Not active in a group = 0 trust built up there = significantly less vote weight there = brigaders can be easily counteracted with the high trust users' (AKA actually active community members) collective votes, labels and crowdsourced mod actions.

            1 vote
            1. [4]
              Comment deleted by author
              Link Parent
              1. [3]
                cfabbro
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                No, I wasn't talking about "every Blizzard related subreddit" I was talking about /r/Blizzard specifically, which is a very tiny subreddit that suddenly got flooded with highly upvoted Blizzard...

                No, I wasn't talking about "every Blizzard related subreddit" I was talking about /r/Blizzard specifically, which is a very tiny subreddit that suddenly got flooded with highly upvoted Blizzard hate shitposts clearly posted by outsiders invading it. But yes, in my experience, in most cases where mods are otherwise reasonable on a day to day basis, the active community of a small subreddit like that finds being brigaded in that way just as obnoxious as the mods usually do, and is usually totally understanding of the subreddit being temporarily set to private in response to that.

                Note: This is not to say I agree with Blizzard's actions (because I don't... what they did was cowardly and reprehensible), nor do I think even the active userbase of /r/Blizzard does either (unless they are hardcore fanboys). However being brigaded and allowing it to proceed unabated rarely ends up being productive in any way, and typically only ever serves to increase the toxicity in a community. And IMO at least part of the reason reddit is such a toxic shithole is exactly because they (the company) does nothing to help prevent that sort of thing from regularly occurring and negatively effecting the various communities being targeted by these bridages.

                /rant ;)

                3 votes
                1. [2]
                  Neverland
                  Link Parent
                  Thanks for that pov, that makes a lot more sense. I had no idea of the subscriber count, and scale of that sub, and all of the reasons some poor mods might have a hard time. That makes a lot of...

                  Thanks for that pov, that makes a lot more sense. I had no idea of the subscriber count, and scale of that sub, and all of the reasons some poor mods might have a hard time. That makes a lot of sense in many cases.

                  BTW, they just turned it back to public and wrote this:

                  Finally, a note on the short time the subreddit was private: For some reason, one of our recent mods set the subreddit to private then deleted his account. It was an odd event, but rest assured, us remaining mods have restored it to public. No, we were not contacted by Blizzard, nor are we employees to any extent. We are committed to supporting this community. Thanks!

                  https://old.reddit.com/r/Blizzard/comments/df6v8i/megathread_recent_blitzchung_situation_discussion/
                  It has some pretty low quality comments, but I do understand people's anger having watched some of the recent videos.

                  2 votes
                  1. cfabbro
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    Low quality is an understatement. The fifth highest top-level comment is calling out all the mods by name, asking a "gotcha" about what they think about what's happening in Xinjiang... clearly...

                    Low quality is an understatement. The fifth highest top-level comment is calling out all the mods by name, asking a "gotcha" about what they think about what's happening in Xinjiang... clearly attempting to suggest that if they don't respond (or even worse, now make the mistake of removing that comment or any followups to it) then they support the genocide. And the follow-up comments to that one are even worse, already accusing the mods of "sucking Chinese dick", supporting the genocide, etc. five minutes after the question was asked.

                    That's the sort of toxic garbage that propagates when you don't shut hate fueled brigades down immediately with either heavy-handed moderation (which is risky and can backfire, and is not always even possible on small subreddits with small mod teams) or setting your subreddit to private until the roving bands of witchhunters get distracted with the next rage inducing piece of news they read that is even remotely tangentially related to reddit or a subreddit somehow. I wouldn't even be surprised if some of the mods get doxxed now too, the poor bastards. Which also probably explains why the mod who set the subreddit private deleted their account, hoping to prevent exactly that from happening.

                    This exact same thing (and much much worse) has played out so many times on reddit over the last 12+ years I have been there now that it's entirely predictable and a tired cliche at this point... and it's precisely why I am never going back to reddit, even if Tildes crashes and burns. Fuck that horrible site and all the horrible people still being allowed to do horrible things like that, consequence free, on it.

                    3 votes
      2. Diet_Coke
        Link Parent
        Situations like this really bring out the folks on the wrong end of the bell curve. I wouldn't be shocked if the mods were being harassed, threatened, etc.

        Situations like this really bring out the folks on the wrong end of the bell curve. I wouldn't be shocked if the mods were being harassed, threatened, etc.

        2 votes