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Old 10-08-2019, 11:27 PM   #1
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Blizzard bans Hearthstone player for supporting Hong Kong because of China

Now political differences start burning gaming industry...

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Blizzard bans Hearthstone player for supporting Hong Kong because China's money is more important

'I think it's my duty to say something'


Blizzard has imposed harsh sanctions against a professional Hearthstone player after he expressed support for Hong Kong protesters in their ongoing fight for liberation from the Chinese government. During a live interview over the weekend, Ng Wai Chung (who plays as Blitzchung) concluded by removing his protester-style goggles and facemask and exclaiming "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our age!"

For his actions, Blizzard has levied a one-year ban that prohibits Blitzchung from competing in Hearthstone esports tournaments. Blizzard has also removed Blitzchung from the Hearthstone Grandmasters circuit and stripped him of all earnings from Grandmasters Season 2. Additionally, the two casters who conducted the interview have both had their contracts terminated.

To justify its ruling, Blizzard is falling back on Grandmasters competition rules which state "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 Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player's prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard's Website Terms."

Of course, Blizzard isn't actually concerned about following the letter of the law to a tee. Blizzard is worried about its good standing with the Chinese government. China is an unfathomably lucrative market from a business perspective. If the Chinese government outlaws anything related to Hearthstone -- essentially scrubbing it from existence throughout the entire country -- Blizzard stands to lose untold profits.

This isn't the only recent example (or even the most high-profile example) of a huge organization kowtowing to the demands of the Chinese government. The National Basketball Association is in the same sticky situation after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted "Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong." Basketball is a constantly growing market in China, and the Rockets are one of the most popular teams ever since Chinese center Yao Ming became an international superstar in the early 2000s.

Everyone involved -- the NBA, the Rockets, Morey himself, and even Rockets players -- have had to apologize and distance themselves from that seven-word tweet. It might not matter. It seems as though the Chinese government has invoked a blackout of anything Rockets-related. Tencent, who is the "official digital partner of the NBA in China" (and an unexpected way to draw this back to video games), has suspended all reporting and streaming of Rockets content. Tencent also owns a five percent stake in Activision-Blizzard.

Blizzard's ruling is taking heat from everywhere outside of China. The Hearthstone subreddit is flooded with people who are vowing to quit the game for good. The Blizzard subreddit was made private because of the beating it was taking. The hashtag #BoycottBlizzard is trending on Twitter. At Blizzard headquarters, anonymous employees have covered up decor that reads "think globally" and "every voice matters."

Despite the repercussions, Blitzchung stands by his actions. In a statement to InvenGlobal, he said "As you know there are serious protests in my country now. I put so much effort in that social movement in the past few months, that I sometimes couldn't focus on preparing my Grandmasters match. I know what my action on stream means. It could cause me lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life. But I think it's my duty to say something about the issue."

At the end of the day, Blizzard is just another company that's hellbent on expanding into the fruitful Chinese market regardless of political blowback. As Vox points out, these sanctions signify that "Blizzard is not merely trying to operate within the confines of Chinese censorship but acting as its agent." Oregon senator Ron Wyden chimed in by saying "Blizzard shows it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party. No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck." Worried that inaction would come off as implicit support for Blitzchung, Blizzard made its allegiances explicitly known by banning a man who voiced his support for individual freedoms and human rights.

As for Blitzchung, some people are looking out for him. Gods Unchained, a Hearthstone competitor in the collectible card game genre, has vowed to restore all of Blitzchung's lost earnings and to give him entry into their upcoming $500,000 tournament. Their rationale is simple and effective: "No player should be punished for their beliefs."


https://www.destructoid.com/blizzard...t-569054.phtml
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Old 10-09-2019, 01:36 AM   #2
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Yeah, i think it's time for a hardball stance on China.

If they want to be a dictatorship. it's their problem, but you can't bring that crap to the rest of the developed world.
If only dumb Trump wasn't such a failure and worked with allies to pressure China even more.

There's people throwing around ideas like "free hong-kong" chants andwinnie the pooh cosplays for this Blizzcon. Blizzard has no idea what they just done. They should have let it alone when they got Blizzcon coming so soon. Now what was a small story that will become a big story at blizzcon wich will be covered around the world.
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Old 10-09-2019, 05:43 AM   #3
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War by proxy/subterfuge, if you want to be more informed this shit has been going on for decades and even longer.

The west is just as bad (not so innocent).
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:37 PM   #4
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Politics ruins everything!

At least you guys don't have a Prime Minister that actually pushed the blame on his blackface racist acts onto it's citizens. He actually blamed society for why he did black face and act like a gorilla.... more than once too!

If there is white male privilege, he has it the worse cause the people who would KILL trump if he did blackface, are defending Trudeau saying it's only a costume, what's the big deal? So I always just say to those people to do black face and walk around the city, see what happens.

Holy fuck people and their double standards piss me off the most. Two faced fucking shit head hypocrites.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:00 PM   #5
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Seems like people from around the world have started ditching the game, good job Blizzard

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Here are some alternatives to Hearthstone

There's a ton of card games out there!


Hearthstone roared onto the scene in 2014, and with the backing of Blizzard's billions, tore up the esports scene and never looked back. It's a giant in the collectible card game (CCG) space, and there's a ton of highs and lows to go with that history.

This past week has been a near-unprecedented low, leading a lot of players to jettison their game of choice and look for alternatives. Thankfully, Hearthstone isn't the only card game on the market. Here's a few more.


Magic: The Gathering Arena

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Magic: Arena is one of the best card games available right now, and pioneered a lot of the systems that Hearthstone used to build its foundation.

Known as one of the most prevalent card games on the planet, Magic helped create the "standard" system that pretty much every active competitive card game uses, keeping the meta fresh while requiring the newest cards. I have my issues with some of Arena's monetization schemes, as detailed in our full comprehensive review, but I still play it nearly every day. It's that good, and if you've ever wanted to learn how to play Magic, this is a great free tutorial.

Arena is currently available as a standalone client and can be launched directly from the Epic Games Store.


Gwent

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Remember, Gwent isn't just a minigame in Witcher 3!

The folks over at CD Projekt Red went above and beyond for the standalone adaptation of the popular lore-leaning card game, and it really shows in this insanely polished and well-balanced project. Although it looks very intimidating, Gwent has a low barrier of entry alongside of a high skill ceiling, which is why it's so popular today.

Gwent is available on GOG, the publisher's own launcher. There's also the Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales project, which is a standalone card-based RPG that's available on Steam and GOG, as well as PS4 and Xbox One.


The Elder Scrolls: Legends


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Bethesda, for better or worse, is taking the Ubisoft approach for a lot of their games.

Whereas some of their launches might be rocky, they end up having a long tail, and Legends is a candidate for the BUG (bring up your grades) award. The publisher has since swapped development houses, overhauled the entire UI, and steadily added a ton of new content to the game. It also completely dunks on Hearthstone from a PVE aspect, supplying solo players with story content that Hearthstone has shied away from in recent years.

You can find The Elder Scrolls: Legends on PC on the Bethesda launcher, as well as mobile devices (Android, iOS). Console versions are coming in the future, but Bethesda wants full cross-play/cross-progression before that happens.


Ascension

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Ascension shares a lot of the same DNA as Hearthstone: it was one of the first iOS card games to market, and used that success to peddle tons of expansions and updates in the years since.

Born out of a physical deck-building game from 2010, Ascension has been refined for years on end through endless amounts of balance toiling and the leadership of multiple Magic Pro Tour players. As a deck-builder it does have a different feel from most of the games on this list, but serves as a perfect intro to the genre.

You can find it on Steam, Android and iOS.


Eternal

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Coming out of nowhere, Eternal basically forced its way onto the scene and hasn't left.

Out of everything it's probably the closest analog to Hearthstone, which makes it a perfect game to move to if you're going on a Blizzard hiatus. Cards slam onto the table, often with Hearthstone (Magic)-like abilities, and your objective is to defeat an enemy commander/hero, who explodes when beaten.

Eternal is available on Steam, Android, iOS, the Microsoft Store, and directly through developer Direwolf. You can find all of the proper links here.


Teppen

Teppen is wild. Just look at that image! It's like a grimdark Mega Man X spinoff!

But Teppen taps into way more than just the Blue Bomber's far-future self, hosting Resident Evil, Monster Hunter, Street Fighter, and more classic IPs. It also aims for a distinctly different feel than most CCGs, focusing on real-time action as opposed to turn-based play. Although there are some aggressive levels of monetization involved, you can play through the story of each character for free, and play with some really competitive decks without spending any money; relying on quick reaction times and tapping instead of rarer cards.

You can find Teppen on Android and iOS.



The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game

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Going for something completely different, Fantasy Flight Interactive's Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game is completely PVE, with concessions for multiplayer co-op. You'll do battle against an enemy AI who's controlling a "Sauron Deck," with a fully featured (voiced) campaign.

For a small outfit FFI has been updating the game steadily since beta, providing tons of new story content, insanely hard challenge missions, and more hero archetypes that completely alter the deck-building experience. Given the PVE feel, it's one I always find myself going back to when I've finished my ladder runs and quests from some of the above games.

The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game is currently available on Steam, and is set for a console launch at some point in the future (it was supposed to have arrived already, but has since been delayed).



https://www.destructoid.com/here-are...e-569145.phtml
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:34 AM   #6
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A north american company supporting a totalitarian regimen by banning a player for disclosing an argument in favour of democracy and rights?

Man! Those mobile games full of microtransactions must pay so well.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:10 PM   #7
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I'm all for supporting MTGA but they screen shot they provided isn't the game.
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Old 10-11-2019, 11:01 PM   #8
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Blizzard trying to save the game from the boarding the hate train

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Blizzard halves banned Hearthstone player's suspension, gives back prize money

Blizzard president speaks up


Blizzard has had a week. After levying a year-long ban and withholding tournament winnings from professional Hearthstone player Blitzchung for his pro-Hong Kong statements during a Blizzard-hosted stream, an overwhelming flood of disapproval came from all angles. From players to enthusiast press to mainstream media to legislators to its own employees -- nearly everyone disagreed with the way Blizzard handled this political firestorm.

After several days, Blizzard has finally relented... sort of. In a lengthy message from Blizzard president J. Allen Brack, it was revealed that Blitzchung's suspension will be reduced to six months and he'll be able to keep the prize money that he was stripped of. Further, the two casters who conducted the interview will also be suspended for six months; originally, their contracts were terminated.

Blizzard essentially fell back on the tried-and-true internet commenter argument of "keep politics out of our video games." Brack says "The official broadcast needs to be about the tournament and to be a place where all are welcome. In support of that, we want to keep the official channels focused on the game." As for the halved suspension, Brack states "There is a consequence for taking the conversation away from the purpose of the event and disrupting or derailing the broadcast."

However, Blizzard insists that the actual sentiment of Blitzchung's message was not a factor. "I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision," Brack says. Following the disciplinary actions, most people came to the logical conclusion that Blizzard was acting as an agent of the Chinese government in helping censor the Hong Kong liberation movement. It's reasonable to assume that Blizzard's inaction would lead to China banning Blizzard products; it's essentially what's happening right now with the NBA and the Houston Rockets.

So, is it good enough? Is anything good enough at this point? Blizzard's initial actions were so ill-advised and reactionary that any subsequent development feels equally reactionary -- just in the other direction. Its harsh punishment of Blitzchung was a means of appeasing an authoritarian regime (although Blizzard denies this up and down). Walking the discipline back is a means of currying favor among the droves of players who swore to boycott Blizzard games.

These waters aren't ever getting unmuddied. This debacle is high-profile and high-stakes and highly embarrassing. It's impossible for everyone to be happy. Blizzard hopes that maybe, with some contrition and transparency and halfhearted statements that every voice matters, someone will be happy. There's no right answer anymore. At least Blitzchung gets his money back.


https://www.destructoid.com/blizzard...y-569369.phtml
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:35 AM   #9
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lol I love the backtracking. But, they should have just completely rehired the two interviewers, they didn't do anything wrong other than wrong place at the wrong time. It's not like they were anti china also.
But, lots of people have been talking about doing a massive protest at blizzcon. I'm wondering if they are hoping this will stop it from happening. But, I don't think it will.
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Old 10-14-2019, 12:41 AM   #10
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lol I love the backtracking. But, they should have just completely rehired the two interviewers, they didn't do anything wrong other than wrong place at the wrong time. It's not like they were anti china also.
But, lots of people have been talking about doing a massive protest at blizzcon. I'm wondering if they are hoping this will stop it from happening. But, I don't think it will.
Yup, while the innocent casters are being punished, i don't buy their BS. Only reason to do that is to make it an intimidation wash. Only dictatorships do that.

But the twist here is that at least one of them was from Taiwan, so, of course China wanted him to go as well. The point was to intimidate not only Hong Kong but Taiwan aswell.

And they say they weren't pressured. Yeah, Brack, we really believe that. If it wasn't, you need to prove it by aquitting the innocent.



Btw about the card games, i'm sure none is a good investment. Magic the gathering is likely the better game. But, it was better with actual physical cards. This digital shizzle is just lootboxes all over again.
I loved gwent in the witcher 3, but the card game is actually quite different and was a disappointment for me. But hey, i got the physical decks that came with the expansions.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:39 AM   #11
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look at it that way Blizzard got free publicity. China dectatorship is exposed and shamed all around the world which serves Hong Kong purpose and also served the protestor purpose. He is probably willing to give up the game for his country anyways. China will get a way with it by denying it and saying this is all an American game to ruin China reputation in the world and they did not ask blizzard to do anything and since blizzard is part of it they gonna punsih it by banning thier games.
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Old 10-16-2019, 01:44 PM   #12
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look at it that way Blizzard got free publicity. China dectatorship is exposed and shamed all around the world which serves Hong Kong purpose and also served the protestor purpose. He is probably willing to give up the game for his country anyways. China will get a way with it by denying it and saying this is all an American game to ruin China reputation in the world and they did not ask blizzard to do anything and since blizzard is part of it they gonna punsih it by banning thier games.
I would really like it if that happened cause it would send a powerful message about the risks of doing business with China.
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:58 AM   #13
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Blizzard Gives 6-Month Ban To College Team That Held Up 'Free Hong Kong' Sign

Wonder how Blizzcon is going to be like this year? Maybe a lot of people will bring protest signs to the conf?

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Blizzard Gives 6-Month Ban To College Team That Held Up 'Free Hong Kong' Sign


American University Hearthstone players who recently held up a sign calling for Hong Kong’s freedom during a livestream have been officially disciplined by Activision-Blizzard. In a Twitter post today, team member Casey Chambers stated that the team has been banned from competitive play for six months.

The situation started last week when pro player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai spoke in support of Hong Kong citizens currently embroiled in months-long protest with the government. During a livestream of the Hearthstone Asia-Pacific Grandmasters, Blitzchung called for a liberated Hong Kong and a “revolution of our age.” As a result, he was initially banned from competitive play for 12 months and had his prize money revoked. The decision sparked immediate outcry against Blizzard, including demonstrations from workers on Blizzard’s campus in Irvine, California. Blitzchung’s suspension has since been reduced to six months and his prize money returned.

Later that week, American University’s three-player Hearthstone demonstrated in their own way, by holding up a sign that said “FREE HONG KONG, BOYCOTT BLIZZ” during a match. When a punishment from Blizzard to similar to Blitzchung’s was not forthcoming, the team voluntarily dropped out of future tournaments. Now, they’ve been officially banned for half a year.
Illustration for article titled Blizzard Gives 6-Month Ban To College Team That Held Up Free Hong Kong Sign

Chambers posted an image of an email from Blizzard on their Twitter today. It reads:

“Every Voice Matters at Blizzard and we strongly encourage everyone in our community to share their viewpoints in the many places available to express themselves. However, the official broadcast needs to be about the game and competition, and to be a place where all are welcome.”


The email goes on to state that Chambers violated a rule regarding sportsmanship and that he is banned from competition for six months from the incident.

“Happy to announce the AU Hearthstone team received a six month ban from competition,” Chambers tweeted. “While delayed I appreciate all players being treated equally and no one being above the rules.”

In the time since Blitzchung’s ban, pressure has mounted against Blizzard from fans disappointed with a slow response to the incident. Eventually, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack released a statement insisting that the content of Blitzchung’s message played no factor in disciplinary decisions, and that it was a result of breaking a general rule that states the company can punish players for “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 Blizzard image.”

https://kotaku.com/blizzard-gives-6-...-up-1839103489
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