Blizzard bans Hearthstone university team for on-air Hong Kong protest - Dexerto
Hearthstone

Blizzard bans Hearthstone university team for on-air Hong Kong protest

Published: 16/Oct/2019 20:44 Updated: 17/Oct/2019 0:25

by Alan Bernal

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Hearthstone team on October 16 after waving signs to “boycott Blizz” while voicing support for the Hong Kong protests.

During the Collegiate Hearthstone championship stream on October 8, the trio of players covered their face cam with a sign reading “Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz.”

The move was in direct response toward Blizzard’s actions against Chung ‘Blitzchung’ Ng Wai who was banned after voicing his support for Hong Kong during a post-game interview following his Grandmasters Season 2 win.

Blizzard TwitchThe AU students held a sign saying “Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz” in protest of the company.

Even though the players didn’t face actions against them after their protest, Blizzard has now issued a 6-month ban toward Casey ‘Xcelsior’ Chambers and his AU team.

“Happy to announce the AU Hearthstone team received a six month ban from competition,” Xcelsior said. “While delayed I appreciate all players being treated equally and no one being above the rules.”

Citing stipulation 7.1B of the Hearthstone Collegiate Championship Fall 2019 Official Rules, Blizzard found the team in violation of the Sportsmanship and Professionalism rule due to their conduct during the stream.

“Participants may not take any action or perform any gesture directed at another Participant, Tespa Adim, or any other party or incite others to do the same which is abusive, insulting, mocking, or disruptive,” as noted in the rule.

Soon after the AU students flashed their sign on stream, the camera cut away from them in an attempt to keep their message off-screen.

Blizzard TwitchBlitzchung wore a gas mask during his post-game interview in support of the Hong Kong protesters.

No immediate actions were levied against the AU students, except that the stream would not be doing any player interviews for that night.

Following the incident, the tournament organizers had no plans to ban or penalize the AU team, even scheduling them for a match the following week. The AU team responded by forfeiting their season for unequal treatment compared to Blitzchung’s penalties.

Blitzchung was banned on October 6 for his post-game interview in which he donned a gas mask to voice and show support for Hong Kong following the Hearthstone Grandmaster Season 2 event.

His actions resulted in a swift one-year ban from competing in Hearthstone events and forfeiture of prize money earned in the tournament. After heavy backlash, Blizzard reinstated his prize money and reduced the length of his ban to six months.

Business

Sources: Activision Blizzard collegiate partner Tespa closing down

Published: 9/Dec/2020 9:37 Updated: 9/Dec/2020 9:41

by Adam Fitch

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North American collegiate esports organization Tespa is coming to a close and will make way for new university programs from game developer Activision Blizzard, according to sources.

Headquartered in Blizzard’s offices in Irvine, California, the company confirmed to members that the “Tespa name and brand will not continue to exist come 2021” according to documents obtained by Dexerto.

Since their national expansion in 2013, the organization has existed as an “event support network” for colleges who have gaming and esports initiatives. In 2014, they partnered with Blizzard to host collegiate events for Hearthstone, League of Legends, StarCraft II, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch.

Following the closure of Tespa, the developer will continue to host competitive programs for students across North America. At the time of writing, there are programs for Overwatch, Hearthstone, and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

Tespa University
Tespa
Tespa are well-known for hosting Heroes of the Dorm, a tournament that provided fully-paid tuition for the winning team.

The decision was at least partially made due to the restrictions surrounding hosting events in 2020 due to the global health situation. Tespa will “indefinitely” cancel their Chapter Program, a network of officially-recognized gaming clubs for students across Canada and the United States.

“With the rapid amount of change that has been in effect this year, we’ve taken time to reflect and plan for how we want our collegiate programs to grow in the future,” a document reads.

“The Tespa name and brand has been with us since the beginning, and although we are moving on from this brand, we’re excited for the opportunity to integrate more with our game franchises.”

Further solidifying the end for the company, there are plans to close the Tespa Community Discord — a hub for those who take part in the program.

To commemorate the closure, the company will share highlights and milestones from the community on their Twitter from December 9 to the end of the month.