Slowly, however certainly, Blizzard have opened up about penalising Hearthstone professional participant Ng Wai “Blitzchung” Chung for a pro-Hong Kong protest throughout October’s Grand Championship finals. But after a delivering one more wholly underwhelming public statement, it’s exhausting to say they’ve dealt with the scenario properly.
As it occurs, that opinion isn’t restricted to aggrieved followers. Last Friday, Blizzard vice chairman Jeff “from the Overwatch team” Kaplan criticised the corporate’s rushed response, calling for Chung’s suspension to be “reduced more or eliminated”.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Kaplan expressed disappointment in Blizzard’s rash determination. “I’m obviously a huge supporter of free speech; it’s something that’s very important to me. It got to me personally. I think the punishment was too harsh and I was greatly relieved when they gave his money back. I think that was extremely important.”
He admits the information got here as a shock to him and the remainder of the Overwatch crew. With no inner communication on the matter, it seems he didn’t discover out about Chung’s suspension till information hit the next day.
Like Blizzard president J. Allen Brack earlier than him, Kaplan believes Blizzard moved too quick in bringing the hammer down on Chung. There’s a precedent for a way these items ought to play out, Kaplan claims, drawing on expertise dealing with suspensions and bans within the Overwatch League.
“We had to deal with a few of them in season one in particular, and that process usually takes about four or five days to make the decision,” Kaplan defined. “There was always a group of us involved in deciding what the punishment should be, and we would heavily devil’s-advocate every part of the decision. So I was actually shocked that such a harsh penalty was levied.”
Kaplan does make it clear that his opinion doesn’t signify that of the Overwatch crew, nor Blizzard as an entire.
Blizzard’s dealing with of the Blitzchung scenario put a black mark on what ought to have been a easy run-up to a show-stopping BlizzCon. While their first assertion reinstated Chung’s prize cash, and lower his ban from one yr to 6 months, Blizzard hasn’t fairly managed to stem the criticism.
As Jay Castello wrote at the time, although, they’ve by no means fairly addressed the basis of the issue, as a substitute lamenting that the corporate “reacted too quickly”. Brack’s on-stage apology at BlizzCon earlier this month largely repeated this line. Jay additionally spoke to people protesting the ban at BlizzCon.
Header picture: Ka Hei Mak, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license, cropped.