BlizzCon is fully underway, and while we’re now neck deep in massive game announcements, there’s still the lingering distaste of Blizzard’s decision to suspend Hearthstone pro Blitzchung for his vocal support of protestors in Hong Kong. Now, BlizzCon faces its own protests, and one conflicted Blizzard fan has created a custom Hearthstone deck to support the public opposition.
HarshTone: Every Voice Battered was made by Kirstin Adams-Bimson, and the Hong Kong deck features an array of custom cards like Recruit, which lets you “summon a 1/1 Protestor,” or De-Arrest, which lets you “give a minion immunity.” The cards highlight the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong, but they also function as a fully playable set of Hearthstone cards – on a real tabletop, at least. You can print out a set online.
“For me, this protest feels personal,” Adams-Bimson tells The Loadout. “Blizzard games have played a very large part in my life, and helped me get through a very difficult period in my young adulthood. I’ve always liked the company, and admired their ‘by gamers, for gamers’ approach. Over the years though, I’ve become increasingly concerned with the direction of the company.”
She says that despite her older misgivings, “there has never been anything of grave significance or concern for me that would prompt me to stop playing their games – at least until the Blitzchung ban.”
Blizzard president J. Allen Brack issued an apology for that ban at the opening of BlizzCon earlier today, but the comments came without clear plans for change in the future, and have rung hollow among the protestors at the convention.
“We need an explanation,” protest organiser Dayton Young tells Eurogamer. “Why they did what they did, who was offended by the initial protests and why they’re listening to those people instead of all of these amazing gamers and protesters and fans out here today, and the members of Congress who wrote an open letter to Blizzard expressing their displeasure at their unfair censorship of Blitzchung.”
There’s been plenty of positive BlizzCon news today – at least in comparison to last year’s much-maligned Diablo Immortal reveal. But this year, Blizzard is facing much more serious criticism than a poorly-timed mobile announcement, and the likes of Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV aren’t likely to adequately bandage this year’s much more serious wounds.