Blizzard dropped its banhammer on a Hearthstone collegiate team from American University for voicing out pro-Hong Kong statement. The developer’s decision was made public via the official Twitter account of one player in the team.
Specifically, the collegiate players received a six-month ban after holding a “Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz” sign during the Hearthstone Collegiate Championship. However, it should be noted that Blizzard’s ban didn’t until after the team voluntarily withdrew itself from all future tournaments.
Happy to announce the AU Hearthstone team received a six month ban from competition. While delayed I appreciate all players being treated equally and no one being above the rules. pic.twitter.com/mZStoF0e0t
— Casey Chambers (@Xcelsior_GU) October 16, 2019
Chambers criticised the delay and mentioned that the team was concerned by the hypocrisy of punishing Blitzchung but not them. Soon enough, Blizzard sent them a notice regarding the ban via email.
Just as it did prior, Blizzard’s email spoke on sportsmanship and professionalism rules where “participants may not take actions which is abusive, insulting, mocking or disruptive”. To that end, it accused Chambers and his team for violating that rule.
This isn’t the first time Blizzard has brought down the banhammer on Hearthstone players. Earlier this month, a Hearthstone pro player Chung Ng “Blitzchung” Wai was banned and had his US$10,000 (~RM41889) winnings forfeited for openly supporting the Hong Kong protest. In addition, Blitzchung was also banned from joining any official tournaments for a year.
Unsurprisingly, Blizzard faltered at its decision not too long after. Backlash from fans and the gaming community forced the developer to shorten his suspension to six months and returned his prize money.
J. Allen Brack, Blizzard’s president, addressed Blitzchung’s suspension a few days after he was banned. Stating that it “had no influence” in regards to Blizzard’s relationship in China.