Early this morning, Blizzard issued a suspension to Hearthstone player Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai for his statement supporting the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, given during a post-game interview in the ongoing Hearthstone Grandmasters season. The ruling is now under scrutiny from all angles, including Hearthstone players, the general public, and seemingly within the company itself.
Since the decision, the Hearthstone subreddit, which boasts over 1 million members, has been beset with posts of players saying they're quitting Hearthstone. In one of the top-voted threads, titled "Player since 2014, I quit today," many users are declaring they're leaving the game. Some are simply leaving, while others are uninstalling the game from their PC or mobile devices. "I'd post a video of eating all my dust if people wanted," writes the poster, /u/Poobs87. "But as current I'm so over this that I don't even want to log in to do that."
Hearthstone's official forums have similar sentiments, with one major post declaring "Solidarity with Blitzchung." In it, users are making similar proclamations of canceling preorders for upcoming Blizzard games like Warcraft 3: Reforged.
"All he did was voice his support for the protests in Hong Kong, and he was immediately censored," writes the original poster Yega. "Not by Chinese authorities, but by Blizzard."
Blizzard Employees Silently Protest Decision
Even at Blizzard HQ, there seems to be unrest over the decision. Plaques on campus, placed around statues of famous Blizzard characters, bear phrases like "Think Globally" and "Every Voice Matters." according to reports. Those words are now being covered up by employees in what looks like an act of silent protest.
Not everyone at Blizzard agrees with what happened.- Kevin Hovdestad (@lackofrealism) October 8, 2019
Both the "Think Globally" and "Every Voice Matters" values have been covered up by incensed employees this morning. pic.twitter.com/I7nAYUes6Q
The Blizzard subreddit, /r/Blizzard, also went private today. We reached out to the moderators of the community for official comment, but in a post from a r/wow moderator on the situation, they mention that discussion of the Blitzchung situation made up "nearly the entire frontpage of r/Blizzard."
In fact, posts about the ruling have appeared not just on Hearthstone or Blizzard-related subreddits, but general gaming communities and even world news for a short time, before it was removed for "Misleading Title / Not Appropriate Subreddit."
We have reached out to Blizzard to ask whether the company has any further comment on the matter, as well as whether it is reconsidering its stance on the matter in light of public response. USgamer did not receive a response by the time of publication.