Hearthstone has been promoting its fan meet-up events known as Fireside Gatherings by offering an exclusive new Hearthstone skin for attendees. However, after reports that fake Fireside Gatherings are popping-up—with one Redditor reporting being put in physical danger— Blizzard has issued a statement and some new safety guidelines.
Fireside Gatherings are community-hosted events where players who have won three Casual, Ranked, or Arena match in Hearthstone can apply to set up a local public space as a Fireside Gathering. These Gatherings are Blizzard's version of local hobby shop tournaments that card game companies typically sponsor with rare cards.
Likewise, official Fireside Gatherings can offer the exclusive, Warlock-class Nemsy Necrofizzel skin which is a cool incentive for Hearthstone fan. However, only established taverns (with custom portraits) can offer the rare skin.
Due to the ease in which players can apply to set up a Gathering and Tavern there have been reports of shady encounters or bogus invitations. Blizzard warns against attending any Gathering not hosted by an official Tavern, or even Gatherings located in private addresses, even if it's hosted by an official Tavern.
Keganbe, a Hearthstone community manager, wrote in the official forums:
With the surge of interest in Fireside Gatherings and Taverns, we've seen a rise in events created with inappropriate, false, or misleading information. We want the Fireside Gathering online submissions process to be easy and accessible for our innkeepers, but unfortunately, the degree of accessibility has also enabled an increase of illegitimate events[.]
Blizzard announced that the company will be allocating additional resources to vet and review Fireside Gatherings and Taverns. However, Blizzard also requested players to report suspicious Gatherings and potential Gathering hosts to submit applications with as much information as possible.
So despite warnings from Blizzard of account penalties it's still mostly up to players to keep vigilant about suspicious Gatherings. So please report any suspicious activities in your nearby area and be careful.
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