Congress sends letter condemning Blizzard for Blitzchung Hong Kong scandal - Dexerto
Hearthstone

Congress sends letter condemning Blizzard for Blitzchung Hong Kong scandal

Published: 18/Oct/2019 21:06 Updated: 18/Oct/2019 21:34

by Bill Cooney

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Several U.S. Representatives and members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter condemning Activision Blizzard’s ban of professional Hearthstone player BlitzChung after his protest during a broadcast in support of protests in Hong Kong, as shown in a tweet from Rod ‘Slasher’ Breslau.

Hearthstone pro Chung ‘Blitzchung’ Ng Wai was been punished by Blizzard Entertainment after an interview in which he expressed support for the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

Blitzchung, who is from Hong Kong, wore a mask and stated: “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” while the casters (who were also fired from the broadcast) ducked behind their desk.

Timestamp at 35:00 for mobile viewers:

Who sent the letter and what does it say?

The letter was signed by both Democrats and Republicans, including Alexandria “AOC” Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

In it, they criticize Blizzard for banning BlitzChung and taking his prize money after his demonstration on stream.

“This decision is particularly concerning in light of the Chinese government’s growing appetite for pressuring American businesses to help stifle free speech,” the letter reads.

Ron Wyden600

“Activision Blizzard benefits from China’s growing market for esports, along with an investment from Tencent, one of China’s largest technology firms,” it continues. “As you and your company are no doubt aware, the Chinese government uses the size and strength of its economy to suppress opinions with which it disagrees.”

The letter brings up Blizzard’s claimed commitment to “one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions,” and how a number of the company’s own employees felt the punishment to BlitzChung went against that.

“Your disappointing decision could have a chilling effect on gamers who seek to use their platform to promote human rights and basic freedoms,” the letter stated. “Many gamers around the world have taken notice of your company’s actions, understandably calling for boycotts of Activision Blizzard gaming sites. 

Esports insider Rod ‘Slasher‘ Breslau brought the letter to the attention of the internet when he tweeted a copy on October 18, but noted that it seemed to be written before Blizzard announced a reduced punishment for the Hearthstone pro.

It’s the first time we’ve seen a Congressional letter concerning esports and the fact it’s bipartisan means neither party seems particularly happy with Blizzard’s actions.

The publisher has yet to respond to the letter at the time of writing. Dexerto has contacted Activision Blizzard for a response and will update the story when/if we hear back.

Hearthstone

Hearthstone finally adding dual-class cards in Scholomance Academy

Published: 15/Jul/2020 5:07 Updated: 15/Jul/2020 7:06

by Isaac McIntyre

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Blizzard has confirmed Hearthstone will finally be adding dual-class cards in its upcoming expansion, Scholomance Academy, which is set to be released in early August according to the collectible card game developers.

Hearthstone has just unveiled its next major expansion, a wizarding school-themed set that evokes the world of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise. The August expansion will be the second to be added in the Year of the Phoenix, following ‘Ashes of Outland.’

There are a few new features Blizzard are planning on bringing to their long-standing online trading-card game in the next expansion, they confirmed on July 14. Chief among them are “dual-class cards,” a first for Hearthstone.

Scholomance Academy feature image for Hearthstone expansion.
Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard just unveiled its next Hearthstone expansion, Scholomance Academy, set to be released in August.

It’s not the first time the base classes have shared limited cards; the title’s fourth expansion ‘Mean Streets of Gadgetzan’ added “tri-class cards” to the pool all the way back in December 2016. There were only nine classes back then, however.

Dual-class “Double Major” cards

With the addition of Demon Hunter at the start of Year of the Phoenix, Blizzard can now split cards into five groups, each with two related classes. There will be ten dual combos all up in the August expansion release:

  • Druid/Hunter
  • Hunter/Demon Hunter
  • Demon Hunter/Warlock
  • Warlock/Priest
  • Priest/Paladin
  • Paladin/Warrior
  • Warrior/Rogue
  • Rogue/Mage
  • Mage/Shaman
  • Shaman/Druid

Each class pairing will be given four of the 40 dual-class cards on the menu in Scholomance Academy, Blizzard revealed. The devs also confirmed each of the ten pairings would also get a Legendary ‘professor’ minion as well.

New mechanic: ‘Spellburst’

The “Double Major” cards won’t be the only new addition for Hearthstone in the upcoming August expansion either. As per usual, the devs will also be slapping a new mechanic on the table; this time, it’s called “Spellburst.”

Basically, it’s a delayed spell power for minions and players alike. The new effect warns that it will “trigger a one-time additional effect when a spell is played.” It’s almost like a trap card from rival series Yu-Gi-Oh!, but built into minions.

Hearthstone mage casts a Spellburst spell at a dummy in Scholomance Academy.
Blizzard Entertainment
Hearthstone fans will be able to pull off tricky spell traps with the new “Spellburst” cards.

New spells: ‘Studies’

The final new Hearthstone change for players to wrap their heads around for Scholomance Academy is a new spell type, “Studies.” These cards have Discover-only effects, but allow you to tutor up a specific type of card, like Demon or Mech.

Once you’ve collected your card, it will reduce the mana cost of the next card you play of that type. It certainly seems like a must-pick card for themed decks. The first that springs to mind is Paladin Murloc, which has run rampant in the Year of the Phoenix so far.

Murlocs charge forward in Hearthstone.
Blizzard Entertainment
The super-aggro Hearthstone deck “Murloc Paladin” will love to get its hand on the new Studies cards.

So there you have it; everything we know about Blizzard’s upcoming Hearthstone expansion Scholomance Academy. Keep your eyes peeled on Dexerto for more details on all 135 new cards set to be released in the August set.

The next Year of the Phoenix release is expected to drop in mid-August. Ahead of the official expansion release, fans can get an “Academy Bundle” for $49.99 USD, or book themselves a whopping 80 packs with the $79.99 “Mega Bundle.”