Blizzard Entertainment's president, J. Allen Brack has responded to outcry over a Hearthstone Grandmaster's banning and confiscation of winnings after they voiced support for the protests in Hong Kong.
In a lengthy letter posted on the publisher's site, Brack stated that Blitzchung would now receive his winnings, and that his ban would be reduced from one year to six months.
"We’ve had a chance to pause, to listen to our community, and to reflect on what we could have done better," Brack wrote. "In hindsight, our process wasn’t adequate, and we reacted too quickly."
Brack went on to note that "the specific views expressed by blitzchung were NOT a factor in the decision we made. I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision."
"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."
Brack continued, saying "playing fair also includes appropriate pre-and post-match conduct, especially when a player accepts recognition for winning in a broadcast [...] There is a consequence for taking the conversation away from the purpose of the event and disrupting or derailing the broadcast."
Blitzchung has now responded to Blizzard's new ruling. "I understand that my act could take the conversation away from the purpose of the event," he wrote in a loosely translated tweet. "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."
While he was grateful for the ban's reduction, Blitzchung noted that he was still unsure if he would return. "To be honest, I think six months is still quite a lot to me [...] I will take this time to relax myself to decide if I am staying in competitive hearthstone scene or not."