It’s amazing how much things can change in just eleven days. But in that time, the controversy surrounding Blizzard Entertainment banning Hearthstone player Blitzchung for his support of the democratic protests going on in Hong Kong has soured the reputation of one of the most popular gamemakers.

Barely a day has gone by without the company drawing fresh ire from the gaming community and beyond for some reason or other. One of the biggest instances of controversy fallout came during the broadcast of the Collegiate Hearthstone Championship last week, when the American University team held up a sign reading “Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz,” resulting in them being quickly cut from the broadcast. In the immediate wake of that debacle, Blizzard, feeling the heat for banning Blitzchung, announced that it wouldn’t do the same to the AU team. To reiterate, though, things can change fast, because it turns out that Blizzard has decided to hit the team with a six-month ban from competition after all.

Word of this comes courtesy of AU team member Casey “Xcelsior” Chambers, who took to Twitter to share the letter he received from the CHC’s organizers. Said letter states that the team’s pro-Hong Kong gesture was in violation of one of its “Sportsmanship and Professionalism” rules that forbids any action from Hearthstone players meant to “incite others to do the same which is abusive, insulting, mocking, or disruptive.”

Naturally, this has led to plenty of people being upset over Blizzard punishing these players for supporting what many, including Blizzard's own employees, consider an important cause. But Chambers actually welcomed the ban. Before it hit, it was a great img of frustration for the AU team that Blizzard didn’t ban them like it did Blitzchung. The hypocrisy led to them forfeiting all of their then-upcoming matches for the rest of the CHC’s season.

“While delayed I appreciate all players being treated equally and no one being above the rules,” he wrote. In a follow-up tweet, he went on, “We knew what we were doing and expected the punishment. The problem was Blizzard ignoring our protest for PR reasons but going after Blitzchung.”

Though it seems the AU team was prepared for this outcome and is more-or-less satisfied, it just goes to show how precarious things have gotten for Blizzard in such a short time. We got to see the company choose both options with regards to banning or not banning the team, and both options made people mad. No matter what Blizzard does at the moment, the outrage seems inevitable. Small wonder then that people are planning to bring a pro-Hong Kong protest to BlizzCon next month.

Source: Xcelsior_hs/Twitter