Hearthstone player Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai recently made waves when, during an official competition, he voiced support for Hong Kong amidst ongoing protests over Chinese rule. He’s since been suspended from competition by Hearthstone developer Blizzard and stripped of his tournament winnings, a move that has been widely criticized. During all this turmoil, the Blizzard forum on Reddit has chosen to close until further notice.
As was first reported by Eurogamer, moderators at the Blizzard subreddit set the forum to be private this afternoon. Naturally, players and fans continued to voice anger and dissatisfaction with Blizzard elsewhere. For now, the Hearthstone subreddit remains active, with much of the discussion focused on how to request refunds for various Blizzard purchases and some saying they are quitting Hearthstone altogether in protest of Wai’s punishment.
(UPDATE 2:15 pm ET: Kotaku reached out to both Blizzard and the r/Blizzard moderators about this topic, but they did not immediately respond to our request for comment.)
“I’ve played Hearthstone since early 2014,” one Reddit user said. “I’ve spent around £200 in the game and countless of hours. Today was my last day playing Hearthstone. You all know it by now. What Blizzard has done, or rather what they have become, is just a straight up tragedy. Vote with your wallet people, it’s the only language they understand.”
The autonomous Chinese city of Hong Kong has been rocked by protests since March as the Chinese government has moved to institute greater control over the region. Wai, a citizen of Hong Kong, used his platform during a mid-tournament interview to call for the “liberation” of his city from Chinese influence, referring to the movement as the “revolution of our age” and donning one of the protective masks that have become synonymous with the pro-Hong Kong protestors and outlawed by the local government. For this, Blizzard handed Wai a year-long suspension from Hearthstone competition and will not be awarding him the $3,000 he earned at the Asia-Pacific Grandmasters.