MTG Arena star escapes ban for Hong Kong support on stage - Dexerto

MTG Arena star escapes ban for Hong Kong support on stage

Published: 21/Oct/2019 23:43 Updated: 22/Oct/2019 0:08

by Isaac McIntyre


Hearthstone pro Chung ‘Blitzchung’ Ng Wai was punished by Blizzard for appearing in a post-match interview wearing a gas mask, demanding liberation for Hong Kong.

The MTG Hall of Famer spoke to Becca Scott following his qualification to the event’s final eight bracket, and spoke out about the ongoing struggles in his home country. He also covered his eye while walking on-stage to replicate a key symbol of the resistance.

Wizards of the CoastTian spoke to Wizards interviewer Becca Scott while wearing a red face mask.

After scoring an unlikely win with his hyper-aggro red deck against the most powerful green-and-blue strategy currently in the meta built around the Field of the Dead — which is expected to land on the ban list chopping block this week — a masked Tian took to the stage.

In his emotion-fuelled interview, the MTGA star said that his achievements on the Championship stage had felt even better because he knew “life has been very tough in my hometown in Hong Kong,” and added that “it feels so good to play as a free man!”

Many assumed Tian’s public protest could lead to a competitive ban similar to Blitzchung’s lock-out, or like the six-month punishment delivered to American University’s collegiate team for holding up a “Boycott Blizz” sign, but Wizards has confirmed it will take no action.

As well as confirmation that Tian would not face any penalties, a moderator of the tournament’s Twitch chat also revealed that WotC had issued instructions to “allow and not touch any and all of those kinds of mentions of HK.”

Following Tian’s defeat in the final eight at the hands of Gabriel Nassif, the Hong Kong star took to social media to thank Wizards and his fans for their support of his “freedom of speech.”

“I saw the Twitch chat, and I heard it. It has been a tough period for me, but it also motivated me to shine brighter,” the MTGA pro said, before adding that Wizard’s stance on the Hong Kong protests should be supported by players and fans.

“I am thankful no one stop (sic) me wearing the mask for HK this weekend. I am sure WotC will receive pressure like the NBA. If you wanna protect me, reward them. Buy their products. Play MTG Arena, especially Hearthstone players.”

Tian’s on-stage support also comes days after several U.S. Representatives and members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to Activision Blizzard, condemning the decision to ban Blitzchung and rescind his prize money.

With Blizzard still caught at the center of the controversy, all eyes are now turning to the upcoming BlizzCon event on November 1, where players and fans may hold protests and boycotts against the game development company.


Riot devs explain why Valorant’s next maps will be like Icebox

Published: 23/Nov/2020 17:01

by Lauren Bergin


Icebox has become one of the most hotly debated maps in Valorant, but Riot Games map developer Joe Ziegler has stated that future map designs are likely to follow in its footsteps. 

Everyone and their Valorant grandmother knows about Icebox, Riot Games’ latest addition to the game. Icebox was released into Future Earth on patch 1.11, however since then it has generated a lot of controversy.

Fans are truly divided on this map, some refer to it as “garbage” while others truly seem to love it. The icy location certainly has left some fans out in the cold due to the vast array of angles on offer to pick off enemies from and the countless routes that the map offers.

However, whether or not Icebox has wowed fans or otherwise, Riot map developer Joe Zeigler has told players to expect more Icebox-style locations.

icebox valorant map
Riot Games
Icebox has quite quickly solidified itself as one of Valorant’s most hated maps.

Riot Ziegler confirms that future maps will be more like Icebox

In a recent instalment of Dev Diaries, Ziegler takes the bull by the horns when it comes to the Icebox discussion.

The segment entitled ‘Icebox and the future of maps’ clarifies that Riot’s vision with every new map is to “bring meaningful new changes that ask you to think about how you approach the space. Our four original maps were designed to introduce you to the complexities of Valorant, especially with so much unique agent utility to play against.”

Ziegler goes on to clarify that “moving forward I hope you can see how we’ll continue challenging the basic concepts of map design in order to promote more diverse, strategic play”. Citing Icebox as an example because it’s more complex design forces players to work on their aim as well as skirmishing ability.

Icebox’s layout allows players to “plan more strategically and perform tactically with guns and character abilities,” something that Riot seek to promote moving forward.

So like it or not, Valorant’s map designers will be using Icebox’s complex design as their blueprint moving forward. Hopefully this decision continues to add an element of difficulty to the game that we perviously haven’t seen before. We’ll keep our eyes out for any further Valorant map news.