An open letter to the Blizzard team, from a loyal fan

hearthstone 2 - An open letter to the Blizzard team, from a loyal fan

Dear Blizzard,

I've been a huge fan for decades, stating with Diablo. I still remember the terrifying moment I met The Butcher for the first time! I think I was 11 at the time, and I definitely didn't sleep that night! From there, it was on to D2, and hundreds of hours spent alone and with friends, doing Baal runs and hunting for runes. D3 brought a different challenge, with a game that has grown so much since it's launch, that I still play each season.

Then came Hearthstone. As a player since launch, I've been playing almost every day since then, and have been happy to spend money on each expansion. This was to support the company that brought out, in my eyes, brilliant games, and for me to maintain a semi competitive edge (multiple 'Dad legend', still aiming for actual legend!).

But the main reason I was happy to spend money was because Hearthstone was a game that brought me joy. I loved the challenge of learning a new card game, building stupid combo decks, and slowly progressing up the ladder, and building a collection. Hearthstone is a beautifully refined card game, and in my eyes, fully deserves the huge player base and profit it had generated. It's obvious that so many players, in so many countries, feel the same as me.

Even through this recent event, I have (selfishly) wanted to keep playing Hearthstone. That is, until the recent statement. I think the recent statement you made was unacceptable, and in no way demonstrated compassion or an understanding of the impact you've had on those involved in the recent 'incident'. Your actions, or lack thereof, are not simply hurting your reputation, your business and your stock value, but your players, and the love they had for your games.

Now, I just cannot bring myself to open the game. The guilt I feel when playing now, knowing that you seemingly support the agenda of a country causing so much pain to others simply to continue turning a profit, actually makes me sick.

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In my eyes, you are caught between a rock and a hard place, for sure. On one hand, you could take action, apologise, admit fault, and discuss the reasons for this reaction. But this, I assume, would mean losing a huge amount of money through China, and have massive ramifications for your company, with partial ownership through Tencent. Doing this, from what I can tell, would be really tough, and would also be politically charged, aligning yourselves away from China.

But on the other hand, you could do nothing, and hope things blow over. You risk alienating a huge portion of your player base, having a really, really rough Blizzcon, but maybe things stabilise and you stay chummy with China and their market. Doing nothing is also aligning yourselves politically, towards China.

Both of these options have ramifications. You're upsetting a huge number of people either way, and I'm sure my writing will not affect your decision in the slightest. What I implore you to do is to embrace your own company value, wholeheartedly, rather than decide, or allow a decision to be made for you, based on money.

Every Voice Matters. I think you should look within yourselves as humans, creatives, and gamers, and consider starting a discourse around what is happening in Hong Kong and China, even if it means affecting your bottom line. As industry leaders, you should take the same passion you have for creating beautiful games and support all of the players, especially those in hardship. Right now, all that might mean, is taking an active role in listening, and showing the world you care about basic human rights.

This is not from a person wanting to jump on the #boycottblizzard bandwagon. This is from a person who now feels guilt playing your games, because of what you have become. This is from a person who feels you, as an industry leader, have some power, and therefore responsibility, to voice concern over human rights issues, especially if it concerns your players. Even your staff feel this way.

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Every. Voice. Matters. Even if those voices are hard to listen to.


A hopeful fan.

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