Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai, the professional Hearthstone player whose public display of support for the protests in Hong Kong and subsequent punishment by video game developer Blizzard sparked international outrage, has responded to the controversy in a personal statement thanking Blizzard for the reversal on their rulings and noting that the future of his Hearthstone career is uncertain.
On October 11th, at the end of the work week following their initial decision to ban Blitzchung from competing in the Hearthstone Grand Masters and rescind his prize money, Blizzard responded to the outrage surrounding their decision in a blog post titled Regarding Last Weekend’s Hearthstone Grandmasters Tournament.
In the post, Blizzard announced that they would be lowering the time of Blitzchung’s ban and the ban of two casters involved, Virtual and Mr. Yee, from a year to six months, as well as returning Blitzchung’s rightfully earned prize money:
“Over the past few days, many players, casters, esports fans, and employees have expressed concerns about how we determined the penalties. We’ve had a chance to pause, to listen to our community, and to reflect on what we could have done better. In hindsight, our process wasn’t adequate, and we reacted too quickly.
We want to ensure that we maintain a safe and inclusive environment for all our players, and that our rules and processes are clear. All of this is in service of another important Blizzard value—Play Nice; Play Fair.
In the tournament itself blitzchung *played* fair. We now believe he should receive his prizing. We understand that for some this is not about the prize, and perhaps for others it is disrespectful to even discuss it. That is not our intention.
But playing fair also includes appropriate pre-and post-match conduct, especially when a player accepts recognition for winning in a broadcast. When we think about the suspension, six months for blitzchung is more appropriate, after which time he can compete in the Hearthstone pro circuit again if he so chooses. There is a consequence for taking the conversation away from the purpose of the event and disrupting or derailing the broadcast.
With regard to the casters, remember their purpose is to keep the event focused on the tournament. That didn’t happen here, and we are setting their suspension to six months as well.”
Especially noteworthy regarding the statement is the time and date the statement was published. It was published at the end of day in the United States on Friday, October 11th but was dated October 12th.
Internet speculation indicates the statement was most likely intended for Chinese audiences.
i have been keeping quiet out of fear but as an english major and chinese speaker i feel like i really need to point this out since i don’t know how many ppl will know enough to explain
the blizzard post really seems like it was written by a chinese (non-native EN) speaker
— Boo!-bell 🕸 (@SGBluebell) October 12, 2019
On the morning of October 12th, Blitzchung responded to Blizzard in his own statement, posted to his personal Twitter account:
[中/ENG] Personal statement, view on Blizzard’s decision and future planning
— Ng Wai Chung (@blitzchungHS) October 12, 2019
In his statement, posted in both Chinese and English, Blitzchung begins by thanking Blizzard for “reconsidering their position about my ban” before noting that he “will be more careful” and restrict his displays of support for the protestors in Hong Kong to “personal platforms.”
“Thank you for your attention in the past one week, this is a personal statement and my view on Blizzard’s latest decision. First of all, I’m grateful for Blizzard reconsidering their position about my ban. Earlier this week, I told media that I knew I might have penalty or consequence for my act, because I understand that my act could take the conversation away from the purpose of the event. In the future, I will be more careful on that and express my opinions or show my support to Hong Kong on my personal platforms.”
On the topic of his prize money, Blitzchung states that he “really appreciate[s]” Blizzards decision in rightfully awarding him his tournament winnings:
“Many people has been asking me if I accept the latest decision of Blizzard, I will discuss that on two parts. Tournament prizing and suspension. For tournament prizing, I quoted what Blizzard said on the official website, they mention that I played fair in the tournament and they believe I should receive my prizing. This is the part I really appreciate, Blizzard also said they understand for some this is not about the prize, but perhaps for others it is disrespectful to even discuss it. People from Blizzard had explained this to me through a phone call and I really appreciate that and I accept their decision on this part.”
Blitzchung then turns his attention to the six-month bans, which he believes is “still quite a lot” in relation to his personal suspension and wishes that “Blizzard can reconsider about their penalty on the two casters involved.”
He also announced that he is being allowed to “continue to compete in the hearthstone pro circuit which they mean the grandmaster tournament.”
“For second part about the suspension, Blizzard had changed their suspension on me from a year to six months. Once again, I appreciate for their reconsideration on this. To be honest, I think six months is still quite a lot to me. But I also being told that I can continue to compete in the hearthstone pro circuit which they mean the grandmaster tournament. I appreciate for this decision they made because grandmaster is currently the highest level tournament in competitive hearthstone. However, I wish Blizzard can reconsider about their penalty on the two casters involved.”
He concludes his statement by stating that he will be taking time in the months leading up to the Grandmaster Tournament “to relax myself to decide if I am staying in competitive hearthstone scene or not” and giving his blessing to the Hearthstone community:
“Lastly, many people wants to know if i would be competing in hearthstone in the future. Honestly, I have no idea on that yet. Since my next tournament is very likely to be the grandmaster tournament of next season, it’s probably at least a few months from now on. I will take this time to relax myself to decide if I am staying in competitive hearthstone scene or not.
Hearthstone changed my the way I live, I really love this community. Blessing to all the players out there, and blessing to Blizzard.”
What do you make of Blitzchung’s statement?