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Blizzard Postpones World of Warcraft 15th Anniversary Event in Taiwan (polygon.com)
387 points by ilamont 31 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 265 comments

I wanted to delete my SC2 account then realize that boycotting a free to play game makes little sense.

Instead I changed my name for "FreedomForHK". I saw another player with a similar name on Asian servers (FreeHongKong). Received several praises for the name, even got someone give me a free victory because of it. Did not receive a single criticism.

Blizzard totally alienated its player base with this decision.

> I wanted to delete my SC2 account then realize that boycotting a free to play game makes little sense.

I think it does make sense to boycott a F2P game: I'm sure active players is a metric they track closely.

Do they have any way to file support tickets? Maybe you could submit one (or several) expressing your dissatisfaction with their actions. Escalate it as high as you can. If enough people do that, I bet it'll get on their executives' radar due to the noise.

> Instead I changed my name for "FreedomForHK". I saw another player with a similar name on Asian servers (FreeHongKong). Received several praises for the name, even got someone give me a free victory because of it. Did not receive a single criticism.

This might feel good, but it's a win for Blizzard. They want you to play and you keep playing.

If you feel the way that you report, the only good reason I can think of for keeping an account around is to actively use it to encourage other players to take action, not just pat each other on the back. Say something like: "I'm going to delete my account in a week because of Blizzard's pro-authoritarian stance, but in the meantime I wanted to spread a message encouraging more players to do so."

Blizzard has support tickets but like almost all companies the people answering the tickets are totally disconnected from the people making the decisions and filing a ticket won't do anything more than get a empty "we're sorry" response

> Blizzard has support tickets but like almost all companies the people answering the tickets are totally disconnected from the people making the decisions and filing a ticket won't do anything more than get a empty "we're sorry" response

I know this, which is why any message you send to these people should be polite and empathize with their situation.

But I disagree that those people are "totally disconnected" from the decision makers. They are in fact weakly connected, and likely need to report up metrics and summaries to the decision makers. The goal is to 1) get them to report up boycott messages (e.g. we're seeing a spike in support tickets protesting the sanctions of the pro-HK player at the tournament) and 2) cost them some money by bogging down their support operations.

3) the people handing the tickets will see that it's an issue and maybe they'll pass the message on.

You move mountains one shovel at a time.

Not if you want to move it in a reasonable amount of time.

Either manpower (many tickets) or big bulldozer (high visibility opinions impossible to ignore by PR).

It is true: free players are a resource that makes the game better for players who are ready to pay for the cosmetic add-ons they give.

I DO like the game though. I feel it is becoming something like chess that is its own thing. I may end up totally boycotting it, but right now I was happy to see the sentiment in the community.

I'd like to see more names (you can change account names every season) and clan tags about it. I am not a high enough level for my game to gain any visibility through contests but I may enter some silly streamers challenges.

You're still contributing to their success by playing. By playing a free to play game you are increasing the enjoyment of the game by serving as a competitor to those who are paying. Which in turn encourages them to pay.

That said, I requested a refund for my War3 pre-purchase (they are updating/re-releasing it) and they refunded it with no questions asked. I think they know why people are asking for refunds and don't want to make a stink about it.

On the other hand, more players means more bandwidth and more server usage for Blizzard, which means higher costs. If everyone plays and doesn't buy anything, then they'll lose money on server costs.

If the cost of hosting a "non-purchasing" player was less than the expected revenue of hosting N non-purchasing players, they wouldn't make a freemium game.

There's no version of "I am gonna stick it to blizzard" that is concordant with "while continuing to enjoy their products." It's just rationalization because people want to minimize the cognitive dissonance that comes with maintaining their routines.

Yes, some don't stand for what they believe but rather try to rationalize why continuing playing Blizzard games isn't supporting Blizzard, or is even damaging Blizzard. Some go even so far as that they attack those that act on their believes and delete their accounts. It is surprising how far people go in their cognitive dissonance just to not do what they know is the right thing to do.

Blizzard does not have free-to-play titles because they are such kind people that want to help others out. They want a community that is engaged in the titles, that talk about it, watch videos, play it. Some of them will pay, and Blizzard wins. The thing that really hurts them is if you, yes, you, delete your account. Stop watching videos about their games, stop talking about them. Everything else is simply still supporting them, no matter how you twist it.

Blizzard loves engagement numbers and makes them feel they are robust against boycotts. You need to leave if you want to make a point.

Bandwidth costs dropped steeply around 10-15 years ago, making video streaming services much more viable. I would be astonished if game bandwidth was more than a drop in the bucket compared to that, or if a F2P gamer cost Activision Blizzard anything significant compared to what they make from the paying gamers who benefit from populated servers.

this is some insane mental gymnastics

I took a break from Overwatch because it didn't feel quite right but it I played a few days ago and found much the same. There was significant support in chat and Names for Hong Kong and much criticism of the Blizzard actions.

I am also a gamedev and find I have a complicated standpoint when it comes to boycotting games. In recent months numerous instances of abuse in the game industry have been publicized. This has resulted in some calling for boycotts of certain games, but in many cases, targets of abuse were working on the exact same games as the abusers. Few games are made by a single person. I wonder if boycotting games becomes a form of collective punishment.

At the same time there are businesses that I do boycott because of their behaviour or due to the positions they hold. I'm not sure if the difference in my attitude towards games is because of my proximity. Perhaps it is because games are a creative work, and I never really feel that they 'belong' to the business entity that owns the legal IP.

This. Really appreciate this view point because as a player boycotts are really double edged.

On the one hand, my money supports blizzard staff. You know, the ones that actually make the games I love. That includes the staff who share my opinion about this HK business. I don't want to starve them, I want to impact the company's behavior.

And the only means I have is my voice really. I think players continuing the play but changing their names to <insert name>HK is great. I think protesting is great, I think refusing Blizzcon attendance also great ...but my voice. Its really the most powerful thing I have.

Wallet power in today's world might be overrated ;)

There is no such thing as an SC2 account. There is a battle.net account, for all blizzard games.

I had most of their library. I had a month before bought the new hearthstone expansion, and was an almost daily hearthstone player.

I deleted my account. The statement is no more doing business with blizzard based on their behaviour, and not even allowing the possibility by deleting the account which costs me something to do.

I'm not really sure continuing to play their game with a different tag counts as anything other than you fooling yourself into continuing to deal with a reprehensible organization against your best interest, in exchange for a video game.

I think deleting your account is similar to removing your ability to vote or protest WITHIN the company’s scope. If they lose your sunk cost into their system, you’re no longer as important as the people teetering on the edge. Changing your name and talking to people in the community about this has a greater effect thuan if you basically disappeared.

I believe even Blizzard understand the immediate bottom line isn’t quite as important as their brand image. Which is why they banned that guy to begin with. One who stops paying for blizzard products is one thing. One person who convinces others that blizzard is not worth supporting is way more significant than the money of one man.

Being critical of Blizzard because of the HK shitshow while still having an active Blizzard account and playing their games makes no sense whatsoever to me.

Sounds like hypocrisy to me.

FreeTibet also works I guess.

I support the right to shout that but I have several problems with the way the Tibetan government in exile is set up and the place it gives to their spiritual leaders.

They are a bit evasive as to the democratic guarantees they would give their people. I'm ok to push back China's authoritarianism, but I don't think it is worth it doing so at the cost of making a new Iran.

You cannot be serios comparing the Dalai Lama, who praises peace and understanding, to Iran's supreme leader Khomeini, the mastermind behind the human bomb.

Most people are looking at this from a consumer perspective but just imagine someone involved in the games competitively or professionally in one way or another. Can't necessarily just stop playing or being involved in Blizzard games. Would be like if the NBA created/owned basketball and a player deciding never to play basketball again. Obviously not a perfect analogy but gives someone an idea of the situation some people find themselves in at the moment. With that in mind, hopefully Blizzard fixes their approach here.

> Instead I changed my name for "FreedomForHK".

Blizzard isn't regulating player's political speech using it's regular game servers, it was only in regards to a professional championship broadcast from which they (way) overreacted.

I get why you're doing it but I don't think they would have had a problem with that either way. Unless you're a pro-level player planning to go into championships with that call sign.

This seems to assume that the only goal here is to piss off Blizzard.

Doesn't it seem likely that GP is also trying to support the hong kong protestors...

Right, I assumed his point was to protest Blizzard, not just the Chinese gov. Which IMO is not the same thing.

Why not FreedomForHawaii? FreedomForPalestine?

Or do you only care about freedom when it furthers western dominance and colonialist interests?

Hawaii has a functioning democracy. If you get arrested, you're entitled to a trial by your peers. You can vote for the President, two Senators, and two Representatives. They have no extradition treaty with China and aren't planning to enact one.

It's a little different than the situation in Hong Kong right now. If the people of Hong Kong voted for Xi Jinping, that would be similar to where Hawaii is.

TL;DR: Hawaii doesn't need to be freed. They are free.

I don't really know what I'd do in a leadership role at Blizzard or the NBA. On one hand, both companies have acted with bounded rationality: China is a huge market that can drive major growth. On the other: the more companies develop market share in China, the more the Chinese government can dictate how they act. In some sense, non-Chinese companies become de-facto arms of the Chinese government.

I think that these corporate responses can only be thought of as "rational" through a _very_ short-term lens due to the nature of _how_ foreign companies are permitted to operate within China.

The CPC explicitly exerts a lot of control over the Chinese market, and they have absolutely no qualms over doing whatever they can to reduce foreign influence and enrich local players (cf. COMAC's C919 development, namely how much of it has been the result of IP theft from foreign partners).

So yeah, you can definitely look at "competing" in China as a way to see quarterly growth, but it feels inevitable that any company that gets _real_ traction would be targeted by the CPC in favor of a domestic company that would more directly enrich them/the country.

While I can understand the financial motivations for wanting to enter this market, I think this is very different from how most other modern nation-states operate and these responses. Blizzard et al.'s responses definitely smack of corporate greed more than they do of rational action, to me.

EDIT: Ah, now that I've posted this I see your comment below where you elucidate a bit on "bounded rationality"; we probably agree, then.

I'll leave this up in case it sparks some more interesting commentary from others :)

Yeah, the whole notion of "the Chinese market is too big to ignore" carries the assumption that China will allow foreign companies to make money off the Chinese market. It's easy to see why multinationals would assume that as there's been plenty of other markets that were unhappy about American companies pushing their way in but were unable to do anything about that, but China does have a successful track record of pushing back.

I'm curious what actions a government would need to take before you think it's irrational to for a company to support them. Between the reported organ harvesting, re-education camps, and massive invasion of privacy, I'd think it would be an easy call at this point. If you're still holding out, where do you personally draw the line? Or at least, where do you think companies should draw the line?

On the other hand....what can you as a hypothetical company leader do about it?

If you were a U.S. citizen who believed that the U.S. government was involved in severely unethical behavior, would you continue to make income and pay taxes?

I have no problem with applying lots of pressure to Blizzard, etc. for siding with China.

I agree with grandparent that I can't say my decision as an executive would necessarily be different though.

So would you do business with North Korea? Iran? Are you evading the question or did you seriously mean to imply that there is literally nothing a country can't do and you'll still go into business with them, no matter how horrendous their actions?

I think you might just not realize, or take time to imagine, what these regimes are actually doing to actual human beings. Maybe imagine it's your family, said the wrong thing, gets shackled up, underground, unable to move, injected with weird drugs for a couple of months--just one personal story I heard from an Iran refugee. I asked about his background, I meant engineering or what did he study, got a bit more background than I bargained for.

If your decision as an executive would be the same, then I suppose you agree you'd deserve that "applying lots of pressure to" just as much right? Why do it then? So you just get to ignore it and do it regardless? BTW this "pressure" from the other side doesn't quite look like "pressure" but utter disgust in the moral depravity of what people will do for money. If this is your choice, then I know exactly what you are worth as a human being to me. Don't forget to tell your kids their college is paid by torture prisons.

oh and IF you were a US citizen who doesn't believe the US government is involved in severely unethical behaviour, gently go fornicate yourself. it's called the CIA Torture Reports, it was a few years ago, and you can't pretend it's optional to believe it exists, because it does. It happened and is happening. I mean seriously, "IF" ??? Are you for real?

Sounds like your solution to this ethical dilemma is basically denial.

Not just that but after having let your morals slide for profit, they will just as easily turn on you when convenient. I can't remember the name of it but there was a substantial Korean grocery store in china that was pushed to shutting down on a whim. I imagine similar stories will happen later as well. It would feel profitable for a few years, it wouldn't last and end up an overall loss eventually.

Don't do business when you lose your soul, and don't do business with those who ask you to, you can't trust them and never could.

I used the term "bounded rationality" deliberately. I think companies, chasing growth, ignore the harsh reality of doing business in China long term. Act as an arm of the Chinese Government or China will block you from competing and will just spawn Chinese competitors in your absence (It doesn't even seem like this is a mutually exclusive outcome).

Additionally, for each company that defies the Chinese Government, there are many who are very willing to comply. In that vein, I don't understand how the west responds. As I mentioned, the more companies that comply to the sensitivities of the Chinese government, the more China dictates speech well outside of its borders.

I'm personally /very/ against the world the Chinese government is building. I worry that their leadership will gradually erode liberalism all across the world. I also feel powerless to do anything other than boycott services and products that don't align with my worldview.

Honestly I think the NBA bungled their immediate response in the hours right after the tweet but has done a good job making up for it. China put direct pressure on the NBA commissioner to fire Morey, but he's refused to punish him at all, even though it will certainly hurt the NBA's bottom line.

Supposedly teams are planning on figuring out how to handle a highly reduced salary cap next year, potentially on the order of 10% less due to lost China revenue

Most people disagree with NBA assuming that players/coaches are explicitly or tactility not allowed by the NBA to support Hong Kong. (Which is why none have, outside the Rockets, manager.)

IDK if that is correct or not though.

I would heavily dispute your claim that their refusal to fire has hurt their bottom line. They had two options: fire or don't fire. In both cases, they were going to lose customers for their choice. I would assert that this choice lost them fewer customers than the other choice.

Firing, sure. But they could have also condemned the comments without firing him which would've helped the Chinese revenues while having less of an impact elsewhere than firing him would have.

NBA acted fine. They did not punish or discipline the Rocket's manager.

On the other hand, Lebron James' statement last week sounded he was reading directly from something written by a CCP propaganda minister.

"When you're misinformed or not educated about something, you never know the ramifications of what can happen."


Is it within the realm of possibility that the vast majority of Americans are in fact uneducated and misinformed about what daily life in China is like? Or even the broad strokes of history there?

What % of Americans could even tell you the names of the last 3 dynasties?

> What % of Americans could even tell you the names of the last 3 dynasties?

What percent of Chinese could name the first 3 American Presidents? Who cares and how does that have anything to do with the modern political climate? The average American does not need to be aware of the country's history to disagree with the actions and posturing of the current government.

I wouldn't say that Chinese should hold strong opinions on how we run our country, either.

But for what it's worth, the average educated Chinese knows far more about America than vice-versa. These threads are great evidence.

You _absolutely_ should have an awareness of culture and history in order to offer meaningful criticism.

Flip it around with gun control.. The rest of the world by-and-large does not agree with American gun policy. But how seriously are Americans going to take the criticism of people who don't have an understanding of American revolutionary history? If you actually care about effecting change you definitely need to understand the context.

Sure, lets flip it around for gun control. The same argument applies. The rest of the developed world is absolutely correct not to agree with American gun policy. It's dangerously antiquated and has failed to adapt to changing times and improvements in technology. Other western countries have experienced revolutions and years of conflict far exceeding that of the US, yet the US is the only one to cling to guns so tightly.

History is meant to be studied so that we do not repeat past mistakes. It is not meant to be used an excuse to continue to make them.

Also, you absolutely do not need to be versed in Chinese history to disagree with forced organ harvesting, forced abortion, "re-education" (read internment) camps for Muslims, mass government surveillance, social credit systems, etc.

what is the rationalization for why that quote is so terrible to you?

I believe you're either misinformed or not really educated on the situation. When you say things or do things, you know people that can be affected by it, and the families of those individuals and everyone that can be affected by it. Sometimes things can be challenging as well.

( see, this works as a nonsense dismissive remark to anyone or anything )

I don't see.. I genuinely believe that people should not be so eager to form opinions, that issues are always more complex than they seem, and that people should be mindful of the consequences. That's what the quote means to me at face value, so I am interested in seeing why it is being singled out as "something written by a CCP propaganda minister."

Additionally, it's the hypocrisy of a global icon. There is a cinematic in the video game NBA2k that truly puts it into light [1]. James' production company helped write and produce it, they're his words.

It hurts, and is terribly disappointing.

[1] https://streamable.com/jxkz0

I guess it comes out so terrible because Lebron has been very vocal on many other civil matters, and has labelled himself as someone who speaks his beliefs.

From his past positions people would have expected him to be pro-HK, instead he’s asking people to basically shut up. Him bringing warnings that all of this could hurt financially is the most unexpected angle to most of his followers.

I recreationally troll the wumao "50 cent army" on social media, and his statement sounds eerily similar to the arguments I often see from them on the subject of Hong Kong: both in content and language choice.

> I don't really know what I'd do in a leadership role at Blizzard or the NBA.


Keep ... your ... mouth ... shut. Do nothing and let it all pass.

Yeah, China gonna China. But if China gets smart, they'll just be quiet and let it pass, too.

The fact that everybody has been so heavyhanded has been a wonderful gift to the Hongkongers.

Are there examples in recent history where China has flipped their stance on something like this? I just feel like they aren't in the business of 'getting smart' in the way you suggest.

> I just feel like they aren't in the business of 'getting smart' in the way you suggest.

The problem is that you don't get into Xi Jingping's good graces by being discreetly circumspect.

You get into his good graces by being "Decisive!" and "Fixing the problem!" This is almost exactly the wrong thing to do when you are garnering negative PR. So, unless Xi Jingping actively intervenes correctly (and he doesn't seem to understand the correct action, either), the situation is simply going to continue to deteriorate.

I've said before, once Xi Jingping took over, I don't fear China as a competitor anymore. China is no longer about "What makes China great." It's about "What make Xi Jingping happy"--those will diverge more and more with time.

The worst thing that could happen to China is he lives a long life.

I uninstalled HS, which was the last blizzard game i had.

The real pain point for me is that i stopped supporting blizzard content creators. Omnislash, Kripp, winter, serral, and others. Streaming is their livelihood and/or competing. Such is the colatteral damage.

You make is sound like they are struggling. Some of those dudes are rich. I wouldn't worry about them. And they have enough fans they could stream other games and still be okay.

"Streaming is their livelihood" is such a weird argument for supporting something.

Maybe I'm an old man, but I really feel like the best thing for the streamers would be for them to get a real job. Streaming is a fragile source of income, and many streamers 'work' 16+ hours a day trying to make enough money to support themselves - with majority of them falling short.

you're right. we should get rid of artists and actors and musicians and everyone should just learn python.

Learn to code, Artsy edition.

Can I ask what you consider a "real job"? Trust me, it becomes progressively less fun to "play" a game because you have to, not because you want to, to keep up your income.

It just makes me sad to see thousands of young people putting in 12+ hour days making less than minimum wage on the hopes they'll someday 'make it big' and will be able to support themselves playing video games.

Very few streamers make a good living from just playing games - many of the profitable channels grew through deceptive marketing dark patterns, allowing their audience to gamble, or being porn-lite.

Streaming does have some value, but it seems like there is disproportionately large amount of wasted productivity being put towards it in the last decade.

That’s an argument as old as time. Playing in a band, sports, acting, etc. Thousands of years of “get a real job”.

For everyone one of those, there are a hundred folks scraping by off Blizzard IP.

There’s no good solution.

Shouldn't we say "Activision-Blizzard"? At least that would make Starcraft 1 look like it was coded by a separate entity...

Starcraft benefits Activision-Blizzard. IMO the full name is better, if only to remind people of the non-classic-Blizzard titles that should be avoided.

Yep. This is a sticking point for me too. I'm excited for the rebooted Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but it's released by Activision (and not mentioning Blizzard in any of their trailers).

I like Blizzard, but fundamentally your business is its values. People come and go, markets change, etc., so who you are as a company -- at least in the long run -- is your core set of values.

I think their leadership has to realize they can't have it both ways. They either need to choose their values, or China. There's no middle ground.

Blizzard Activision execs likely looked at video gaming market growth potential and decided to make their bed where they see the future of their industry. If the current execs hadn’t made this choice they’d be replaced with ones who would. This is the cool rationality of the market turning against western institutions, and everyone is shocked, shocked, that such a thing could happen after so many centuries of dominance.

Am I the only one that thinks Blizzard is in the right here and they are being made into a scapegoat due to the political climate? Blizzard says "don't talk about divisive things using our tournaments and communication channels." Why can't they be allowed to do so? What would happen to someone if they protested similarly at the Olympics?

If you are really upset about what's happening in Hong Kong, why don't you boycott, I don't know, all of China? But that would take too much effort for most airmchair activists.

Edit: several good responses from people, including links to actual olympics protests, and links to blizzard pushing political agendas.

> Blizzard is in the right here

I don't believe this, because their knee-jerk reaction to one party doing this was to fine them for $10,000 and ban them from competition for one year, but to another party (with an objectively worse message from Blizzard's point of view) it was "keep going, you're fine." Oh, and the tweet on the official Hearthstone account to reassure the Chinese government and citizens that they will continue to protect Chinese interests.

Fixing it after the fact doesn't change that their initial reaction was fucked up. Even the "fixed" penalty is completely out of proportion with the offense (when compared to other sporting groups that have similar rules).

> Why can't they be allowed to do so?

My personal opionin: Because they are based out of the US, and the US supports free speech enough to bake it into many of our laws. So long as Blizzard takes advantage of US resources to run their business in China, they should espouse many of the same morals as the the US.

> If you are really upset about what's happening in Hong Kong, why don't you boycott, I don't know, all of China?

Why can't someone justifiably do both? Blizzard is supporting China's policies for the opportunity to take advantage of China's mobile market, and Blizzard's support is one (of many) reasons that the US will not use the amount of force necessary to enact changes against China.

> But that would take too much effort for most airmchair activists.

Ad hominim attacks aside, doing things like talking about the protests in Hong Kong, and encouraging companies with ties to China to allow this free speech is doing something.

> So long as Blizzard takes advantage of US resources to run their business in China, they should espouse many of the same morals as the the US.

They also use Chinese resources to run their business (I.e, all the money they make there), it's a real melting pot of morals here.

> Blizzard says "don't talk about divisive things using our tournaments." Why can't they be allowed to do so?

Because they built their entire empire upon appealing to equality/wokeness/justice.

There is a plaque outside Blizzard HQ that reads "Every Voice Matters". That is the foundation of their success. They don't get to yank it back without blowback when the CCP throws some cash at them.

Huh? The foundation of their success is some excellent video games. I’ve never associated Blizzard with justice or “wokeness,” not that it would be a bad thing to be associated with.

I think people could argue that modern Blizzard does specifically lean into being diverse or "woke". Overwatch got a lot of praise on it's release for having such a diverse cast and they have continued to lean into that over the years since. I also think people could argue they started being more inclusive and diverse with some stuff they did in WoW, but I think they really got attention for it starting with Overwatch.

With that said, I kind of agree with you in that the foundation of their success was making fantastic PC games.

Fair enough. Overwatch and WoW happen to be the two Blizzard games I never really got into, so it makes sense that I missed that connotation. I've kept up with the competitive Starcraft 2 scene (mostly in Korea) and I haven't really noticed any association of Blizzard with being particularly concerned with social justice.

They removed Raynor’s cigar in some situations, and removed some skeletons in WoW, both for Chinese audiences.

Yeah, whenever I read stuff like that I feel like I've been living in a parallel world. I've always grown up around people who played video games and they've never cared about anything other than the games themselves. They might passively agree or disagree with a company's stance on something but they'll still keep that entirely separate from the games being produced.

News flash: Every company that says "Every Voice Matters" is only pandering and never sincere. They just want your money. Right now, touchy-feel-good stuff is in vogue.

Yeah but it's a bit hard to run a PR campaign backing off that when you have it engraved on a fcking plaque outside your HQ.

That plaque has done more damage in light of their recent actions than any directed media campaign ever could.

The reason Blizzard is up shit creek without a paddle is because they simultaneously tried to virtue-signal and pander to developed world sensitivities while selling out to CCP for views opposed to those.

Blizzard knows their core audience doesn't care anything about this stuff. Just a few angry people on the internet. Sure, they did some pandering to sucker more people into liking them, but they know who's paying the bills, and it's not the outrage mob.

Ah yeah. That must be why they're on the front page of HN and stuck between a rock and a hard place with having to cancel Blizzcon after Mei became an international pro-HK meme.

Sure. Just like i suspect a lot of people lie, it isn’t really a surprise. But if you get caught in a terrible lie while being hypocritical in public about it, expect to be called out on it.

Then they need to be called on every instance of hypocrisy in word and deed. If every company lies... maybe there's a learning point there.

>Am I the only one that thinks Blizzard is in the right here and they are being made into a scapegoat due to the political climate?

I feel it'd be one thing if they had just asked for no politics to be brought up on their official channels, but based on events that have happened in the past week, it seems quite obvious to me that they're very cozy with the Chinese authorities.

>Blizzard says "don't talk about divisive things using our tournaments and communication channels." Why can't they be allowed to do so?

Obviously they ARE allowed to ban people if they want to, but I assume you wonder why people are so upset about it?

The issue is simple: Blizzard has repeatedly allowed (and even endorsed) political statements in similar situations in the past yet decided to ban a player and strip their winnings instead of simply telling them "don't do that again or we will need to ban you".

Their enforcement was extremely selective and, importantly, they were allowing China to dictate what could or could not be said in a game interview that took place OUTSIDE of China.

The Olympics have a long history of protest. As an example... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_Olympics_Black_Power_salu...

Using a sport as a platform for protest is very common and has been a positive for the world.

The point wasn't that sport isn't used for protest, but how the people who use their sporting platform to protest are then treated.

The Australian runner on the podium with John Carlos and Tommie Smith in 1968:

> Norman was not selected for the 1972 Summer Olympics, and retired from the sport soon after.

The way Blizzard handled the situation was absolutely tone deaf and seemingly malicious. Of course they are going to be a lightning rod for a greater outrage.

Their PR handling was disastrous (though perhaps forced by the Chinese government [1]), but they're absolutely entitled to not have people hijack their events to spread political messages, regardless of how valid the message may be.

[1] https://twitter.com/Grummz/status/1183215204525412352

Blizzard is perfectly fine with politics if they think it won't hurt their bottom line. They've been fairly supportive of the LTGB movement in their western markets. It's why the statement about China having no influence over their decision is such obvious bullshit.

> Blizzard is perfectly fine with politics if they think it won't hurt their bottom line.

This applies to most business unfortunately.

China probably didn't force them directly. That's the thing about authoritarianism. You learn what you think the government wants, and you enforce it on yourself, potentially going above and beyond what they'd ever even think of demanding upon you. You stop being willing to say things that are critical of the central government out loud, and eventually you even stop THINKING things that are critical of the central government through practice.

They totally have that right, and we totally have our right to call them out on that. So they can ban political speech in their events, and according to the Streisand Effect, that is guaranteed to garner them a lot of negative attention, with plenty of people willing to cross their line to make a point.

At anyrate, Blizzard has done a lot for the HK movement since you can’t have civil disobedience without the disobedience. They’ve conveniently provided the context that such disobedience can exist in (and if it wasn’t them, it would be someone else).

Of course they are. And if everyone wants to protest them because of that, so be it.

This is the thing about the whole "free speech" or "private platform, private rules" debate. You can absolutely do whatever you want, and the entire rest of the world is able to react in whatever way they want. You're allowed to think they're entitled to have a platform they moderate. Other people are allowed to freak the fuck out about the moderation or the behaviors that lead to moderation, or whatever.

This is just a pet peeve discussion point of mine as it feels less about the topic and is often used to just dismiss the discussion outright. "They're allowed to do whatever they want, so please be quiet and sit down" type of thing (not saying you're doing that here).

TL;dr- everything is political to someone, so and common sense is almost always cultural.

I wouldn't want to be responsible for suggesting legitimate protest be quelled, but there's a large, if not super majority proportion of their customerbase that isn't interested in this latest controversy, and would like to see Blizzcon/random eSports tournament without interruption. Blizzard is obligated to that group as much as they are everyone else.

Blizzard isn't obligated to anyone but Blizzard. Isn't that the point of capitalism? They just get to do what they want (assuming it's legal) and "the market" will decide if they're doing the right thing. They could start making pro-nazi propaganda huge part of the WoW experience if they wanted. But the point is that whatever market they choose to service will affect how people feel about them.

Again: they can do whatever they want, but once you've made your bed you need to lie in it. You can't make everyone happy all the time, and that's fine. Some people are always going to think Blizzard is shitty because of this, and will swear off their products. Other people will be pissed for 20 minutes and come back when <dope new game/feature> launches. And other people are just going to be annoyed that corporations are pandering to vocal mobs.

Blizzard don't owe me anything, and I don't owe them anything either. Welcome to capitalism. Good fucking luck, it's terrible out there.

> but they're absolutely entitled

No, they are not entitled to that. No player broke any laws when they did that. It is fully within anyone's legal right to make political statements, and it is fully within consumers legal right to be upset about whatever they want.

I think it is reasonable for them to disallow divisive topics from being discussed. I don't think it is reasonable to take a contestants prize money because they broke that rule, or to fire the interviewers who didn't say anything controversial. And even if it was a perfectly fine thing to do, they are doing it because the Chinese government wants them to, which I don't agree with.

>Blizzard says "don't talk about divisive things using our tournaments and communication channels."

There would probably be less uproar if

a) the rule that he broke was written in a less dumb way or

b) the rule wasn't enforced in an arbitrary and selective fashion

I mentioned this elsewhere, but the guy who said "Free Hong Kong" got a harsher punishment than people who have been caught cheating at Blizzard's tournaments. To me, that says something very sad about Blizzard's priorities. I think if Blizzard had initially given him a more proportionate punishment there would have been much less of an uproar.

You might partly have a point if it wasn't applied so unevenly. If a gamer said "Bernie 2020!" or advocated the free state project, would the same thing happen?

Blizzard wants money and is pandering to the Chinese government. It's not there result of actually caring about that type of rule.

Its hypocritical when they themselves push politicized agenda, (PRIDE month), through the same channels (Overwatch League) that they say need to stay focused on only the games.

> Am I the only one that thinks Blizzard is in the right

No, I think there’s quite a number of people being used to the whole world doing censoring on behalf of China. Status quo is comfy. “It’s been like this for long, nobody is getting hurt, why we should do anything about it”. Heck, I’m sure execs at blizzard are saying right now “everybody has been doing this for so long and nobody cared and now everyone is against us”. But the line has to be put somewhere. “It’s good to be decent”. I wish more people started trying being decent.

And regarding your ending - that must be some kind of a fallacy. Yes, everybody knows it’s impossible to start “boycotting China”. Too much manufacturing being done there etc. But change has to start somewhere.

And the approach “it won’t work anyway so why bother” is simply despicable.

How did you feel about the NFL kneeling situation? I'm not trying to stir anything up, just curious.

Blizzard decided that "free hong kong" was:

"Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image"

I suppose what is offensive is always up for debate, but I don't see any reason there wouldn't be consequences from folks who live in a free society when they see such a light level of speech clamped down on, presumably because on oppressive regime wanted them to.

The internet gaming community is addicted to outrage. This is probably the most substantive outrage of the past few years because there's actual international geopolitics at stake, but the target of ire usually changes month-to-month. Last few months it was Epic, next Month we'll probably be back to EA or Ubisoft, and this saga will fade into the background.

I'm tempted to agree with you, although in the case of Epic it was about stuff like a Chinese company owning a minority stake, or devs choosing Epic as a launch platform (for actual upfront money).

This time someone on a public American stage was shut down to cater to a foreign, Big Brother-like government. It's a little less forgettable.

It's almost like we want the world to be a better place!

> The internet is addicted to outrage.


>"don't talk about divisive things using our tournaments and communication channels."

Turn off the mic and switch cameras.

They responded with one year suspension and clawback of winnings.

> Why can't they be allowed to do so?

They are "allowed" to make whatever dumb policies that they want.

And consumers are also equally "allowed" to be upset, to engage in boycotts ,to protest their conventions, and to generally cause as much economic damage as possible.

They are a private company and have every right to do whatever censoring they want.

Players have every right to protest their games because of that decision.

If Activision/Blizzard thinks they can make more money in China than they can in West, then they have absolutely no obligation to listen to what Western players want. That's just capitalism.

Is it dumb for them to do this? Maybe. But they have every right to make that mistake.

Do many people interact with China on a daily/monthly basis?

How do you justify the statement that came from their Chinese subsidiary that states "We will firmly protect the pride of the country!"

They have a right to do whatever they want but we also have a right to do whatever we want including not buying their games.

China's authoritarian government works. And that scares the shit out of the West. But instead of channeling that fear toward some productive outlet, we decided to bury our heads in the sand. Trump is just a symptom. So we continue to let our infrastructure and cities crumble and use the spectre of China to block any useful reform. Freedom!

I believe you're partially correct. Blizzard does go to an effort to keep politics out of the game, and has a history of being fairly impartial about it. You will be banned for having either Trump or Obama in your name, among most other trademarked names[0].

However, the issue most people have with Blizzard is that they didn't ban someone for bringing politics up in game--they banned someone for bringing it up in a Twitch stream--specifically a post match interview[1], or the tournaments and communication channels as you put it. While I think it's fully within Blizzards rights to moderate whatever goes through its servers, I believe banning someone for the content of an in person interview is outside of their purview, and probably touches on a free speech issue or two.

A similar issue/question to this would be "Can the NFL ban kneeling during the national anthem?" The issue of NFL players kneeling before the (American) football games seems very legally similar to Blizzard players mentioning politics outside of actual games, but on a "company" stream.

I tend to err on the side of always allowing peaceful, non-disruptive protest, regardless of who owns the media channel.

[0] https://www.reddit.com/r/Blizzard/comments/82g25i/having_tru...

[1] https://www.businessinsider.com/blizzard-reduces-pro-hong-ko...

1+ billion people in China vs 17 people on the internet boycotting Blizzard? I know which side I'd choose if I was running the company.

1. China accounts a small fraction of their income

2. The government's demands are only going to get more onerous from here.

3. The Chinese government isn't going to let an American company have open access to their markets for long. I guarantee they have a plan to replace Blizzard (and the NBA and every other foreign company) with domestic companies.

> China accounts a small fraction of their income

100% probability that Blizzard is making more keeping Chinese customers than angering a few angry people on the internet.

> The government's demands are only going to get more onerous from here.


> The Chinese government isn't going to let an American company have open access to their markets for long.

I see. "They" have a "plan." Sure. These are just empty words.

The last 20 years are littered with examples of China allowing foreign companies in, forcing them to share IP with domestic partners, and then shutting out those foreign companies once domestic companies no longer need their foreign partners.

There's even huge knockoff Blizzard theme park in China.

It's not some hypothetical concern, it's standard practice. The Chinese market is not a good bet for foreign companies.

>100% probability that Blizzard is making more keeping Chinese customers than angering a few angry people on the internet.

Even if you're right, so what? Is profit the only thing that should motivate us?

Right, because 1 billion in China uses Blizzard products, while in the US it is only 17 people who are paying customers and are outraged.

If those “17 people” in the US bring more revenue than a billion in China, then Blizzard might want to be concerned.

The reason people won't boycott China or other companies that are doing far worse than upholding rules agreed to by those breaking them is because it will impact them financially. Blizzard is doing the same thing. They are only doing the same thing everyone else does already.

Case in point: where were these people prior to Blizzard banning the player? They weren't up in arms about companies supporting China. And where is the boycott of Apple and their removal of an app amongst other things (giving the keys to iCloud to the Chinese).

The reality is, while some people might have quit, Blizzard isn't do as much because they probably aren't losing as much. The boycott is coming from people who aren't giving them money. Who are subscribe to their games, or playing Hearthstone. Gamers weren't playing the games before, and boycotting them now means nothing happens.

I'm not suggesting that you can't take a stance, and I'm sure someone will post here how they quit Blizzard games and they were actively playing. Great. And I know someone who started playing WoW Classic while this was going on, so whatever.

Point is, Blizzard isn't doing anything more or less than what people are already doing. If anything, we should be ashamed of ourselves first.

IDK man, I only have so many hours in a day. Saying "why weren't you actively engaged in this cause yesterday" isn't really saying much. Some people were pissed with Blizzard before this for <reasons> and this is just the final straw. Other people just found out. Some change is dramatic and immediate, other times it's the slow drip of water cuts the stone.

Most people don't spend their time researching every action and behavior every company has performed ever.

If your point is just that everyone everywhere is terrible and hypocritical, I mean I don't feel like nuking the world or killing myself so I guess I'm just going to try my best to be a good person and do good things?

>>>Case in point: where were these people prior to Blizzard banning the player? They weren't up in arms about companies supporting China.

I think a lot of Blizzard fans were "on edge" after the mobile Diablo game was announced at Blizzcon last year instead of Diablo 4[1][2]. It was considered to be pandering to the Chinese market at the expense of Blizzard's die-hard and long-supporting western fanbase. The "Hong Kong Incident" is just the straw that broke the camel's back.



It's amazing how many people completely misunderstand blizzards decision. Blizzards decision is completely in line with other international sporting events, football body FIFA also disallow political statements and I'm sure the Olympics are the same.

If you allow this for Hong Kong can someone else call out support for other political activities even ones you don't agree with.

>Blizzards decision is completely in line with other international sporting events, football body FIFA also disallow political statements and I'm sure the Olympics are the same.

Blizzard has had plenty of people make political statements about, say, LGBT issues and has NEVER invoked this "rule" before. They even had a US-based team do exactly the same thing and failed to issue any ban until the hypocrisy was repeatedly pointed out to them.

It is the selective enforcement that is the issue, as well as the heavy-handed punishment.

FIFA hasn't done anything like this, have they? Only thing I can remember recently is when Shaqiri and Xhaka had political celebrations after a World Cup game, and they both escaped punishment:


Even then, the potential punishment was a 2-match ban. They wouldn't have stripped Switzerland of the victory,banned them for a year, and taken away all the money they earned throughout the entire season (all things that Blizzard did)

Blizzard could have issued the player a warning about its policy and no one would have batted an eye. Instead it stripped him of prize money, barred him from competition, and fired the two people interviewing him.

> If you allow this for Hong Kong can someone else call out support for other political activities even ones you don't agree with.

That’s the beauty of freedom of speech but also shows rightfully that it is not freedom from speech.

Blizzards decision is completely in line with other international sporting events

Except that Blizzard does make political statements when it thinks it will be profitable.

Olympics is perhaps not the best example considering how their treatment of black power salute incident still remains a black mark on their reputation.

>If you allow this for Hong Kong can someone else call out support for other political activities even ones you don't agree with.

And so what? I'm perfectly able to distinguish somebody's opinion from the official position of Blizzard and wouldn't hold that opinion against them.

i guess this is what it's like when someone you know is in an abusive relationship

It makes sense. In their new Chinese outlook, Taiwan does not exist

I'm surprised they have Taiwan written on their anniversary page (https://goblizzard.tw/wow/2019/15thanniversary/#collection). Maybe they didn't have the time to change it to Chinese Taipei yet.

Hilarious. If rather these guys go out of business that have them enforce Chinese political censorship on the west. I have no use for companies that undermine basic freedoms for money. All while virtue signalling in the west.

Get out of business blizzard. The freedoms that allow you to exist are more valuable than your existence.

Boycotts do nothing. Ranting at companies trying to do business in the world's biggest market does nothing.

A multilateral embargo and military action against China would do something useful. If you destroy the world's biggest market, foreign companies won't be tempted to do business there.

> military action against China

What rational scenario would involve taking direct military action against a nuclear armed superpower?

Military action does not necessarily mean direct conflict. It can include such things as military projection, like placing additional forces in neighboring friendly countries.

The threat of nuclear armaments is another question entirely, one that needs careful evaluation. It's still possible to have a cold war - or even a hot war- with purely conventional weapons.

Now would be a great time for the US to antagonize the Chinese navy - their military is being stretched by being deployed into Kazakhstan and as reinforcements for Hong Kong police. They are weakened already, great opportunity to reassert their lack of sovereignty over some of the south pacific islands they've been gradually calling their own.

> military action against China

What? For what? In case you didn't know "military action" means people die. A lot of countries aren't democracies. You want to bomb them all?

"Military action" here specifically refers to a buildup of precautionary forces in close proximity to China. The mere presence of those forces would give China pause.

Of course, if we wait too long to do so, then a buildup like that would only provoke China, not contain it.

Don't rattle a saber unless you're willing to use it.

Clearly you've never had to intimidate someone who would otherwise harm or kill you.

Sometimes the gamble is worth the risk.

>>>Sometimes the gamble is worth the risk.

When are you enlisting?

I enlisted over a decade ago, when I was in my twenties.

Props to you for walking the walk, then. thumbs up

They can go out of business tomorrow, you just need to stop buying their products. So telling Blizzard to go out of business is useless, you need to tell all the people buying Blizzard products to stop doing so.

Directing messages at these companies is like speaking English to a Senegalese kid who only speaks Wolof and maybe a bit of French. The kid is just not even gonna make out what you're talking about. You affect their quarterly results, that's when you're speaking the language these companies understand.

The fact that they are cancelling these events is proof that you are wrong... Blizzard, a company, is reacting to statements made in English not dollars.

In fact, I'd argue that they basically never react to statements made in dollars, one person can only control a small number of dollars by speaking in dollars, and can control a surprisingly large number of dollars by speaking in English.

Those of us that spend money on Blizzard products are definitely making our statement with dollars. I really want to play this new Priest deck in Hearthstone, but don't have any of the cards. Instead of buying some, I'm just not playing. I really want to play Overwatch with my friends that have a Switch, but I'm not buying Overwatch for the Switch until they make clear what their values are.

I'm giving Blizzard a chance because they have a lot of good will built up, but as time goes on it's becoming clear that they aren't going to do the right thing. Right now, it feels to me like if they could personally take the right to vote away from 8 million Hongkongers, they would. And that is not where I'm going to spend my money.

What I think is interesting about all of this is that China tried to make a power grab. Our market, our rules. But it appears that they like watching basketball more than they like every employee of the NBA to be opposed to reform in Hong Kong. And I'm guessing they like having their Chinese teams competing in the world stage in things like Hearthstone Grandmasters and Overwatch League, so they can't really tell Blizzard to take a hike. So with that in mind, I feel like Blizzard is free to do the right thing here; the last thing China wants is isolation. But it's a game of who blinks first, and corporations are pretty bad at playing that game.

>> In fact, I'd argue that they basically never react to statements made in dollars, one person can only control a small number of dollars by speaking in dollars, and can control a surprisingly large number of dollars by speaking in English.

> Those of us that spend money on Blizzard products are definitely making our statement with dollars. I really want to play this new Priest deck in Hearthstone, but don't have any of the cards. Instead of buying some, I'm just not playing. I really want to play Overwatch with my friends that have a Switch, but I'm not buying Overwatch for the Switch until they make clear what their values are.

You can't make much of a statement with only dollars. There are a million reasons why someone may have chosen not to buy something, so the message sent is highly ambiguous and unlikely to be interpreted correctly.

Every boycott needs to be backed up with a statement outlining its reasons, and the boycott will only be maximally effective if each participant echos these statements to the boycotted company and in the media.

Good thing people are doing both. I am pretty sure Blizzard saw the myriad of messages attached to account deletions.

The question is, are you the majority or the vocal minority?

The former works, the latter will sound extremely convincing (because you see the comments as being entirely one sided in favor of boycott) and achieve nothing.

Let's wait and see.

I spent my money on blizzard products. I had most of their library. I had just bought the last hearthstone expansion.

I deleted the account and I urge you to do the same. Just not spending does nothing.

You can do both. If people do nothing but complain and their bottom line isn't affected at all, it just tells companies they can ignore their audience.

For sure, but you don't cancel events because of people just deleting their accounts. It's not like they were worried that this event would turn into a "let's silently delete our accounts party".

I deleted my account on their service over this, and I know so did others. There was more spoken than just English.

Yeah, my wife and I used to spend $500* per year on Blizzard stuff. We cancelled everything when the news came out.

*Two WoW subscriptions + me buying Hearthstone cards.

Deleting my account was a revealing relief. Not just your account as in some entry in a database gets deleted including the characters stored on their servers, but also every game you paid for and all the purchase you made inside the games. The shock from the revelation of the control the company had about what I thought I bought made me follow through and free myself from the sunken cost fallacy which was trying to stop me from deleting my account. That was a good lesson for me. I'll never again buy any product, be it a game, software, or hardware that any company can that easily take away from me.

Amen, brother

Unfortunately I think that pretty much limits us to TuxRacer so far as the gaming space goes

Thanks for the support.

We have more than Tux Racer. There are a lot of games without DRM and with full offline single-game experience, like for example the excellent Factorio. Factorio isn't without issues either, because it isn't free software. It is only released as a x86-64 binary, so when I get rid of my x86-64 desktop and switch to then hopefully RISC-V or POWER, I won't be able to run Factorio. Still, this is much better than anything Activision Blizzard offers. There are many other games like that.

Also, for many consoles the software works in emulators and are outside of the control of any company.

Yet, we need free software. There is no way around it.

I've seen a lot of people post how they were unable to delete their accounts due to what seemed like obstruction on Blizzard's end.

It was a hassle. If you didn't have two factor set your sucked.

I'm pretty sure that OP didn't actually think Blizzard was going to read the message and decide to go out of business.

I could only hope.

I deleted my account with most of their library. Message received I hope.

The problem is that China is a country of a billion people, many of whom are rapidly entering the global middle class, so many companies depend on those new customers to hit their growth targets.

Companies growing so that they can be worth more when their investors sell them is the whole point of businesses in general. It's the reason we all go to work every day.

I think relying on China is about to become a very risky growth strategy. While China's population is much larger, the US is still large and very rich, and an American company is always going to understand how to develop and market products better for Americans than for China.

China's political censorship abroad, enforced via sheer economic muscle, has received extremely strong bipartisan condemnation in the US during a time of unprecedented partisanship; even AOC and Ted Cruz have blasted Blizzard. What China's trying to do goes against everything Americans have been raised to believe, from the most conservative to the most liberal. Political outrage within the US about domestic US affairs is often ineffective because it's too partisan, and it tends to just energize the other side (e.g., the Chick-fil-A controversy in 2012/2013 actually increased their sales). This is different because everyone agrees and there is no "other side" to energize, not within the US.

many companies depend on those new customers to hit their growth targets

They will never be your customers. You think they will, so you hand over your IP to a local partner, and then they don’t need you anymore and take those customers themselves. I am surprised any Western company still falls for this ruse.

greed is good until it isn't and some people, me included, think the line has been crossed here. or, in other words, if the chinese customers can only be serviced at the expense of following chinese laws everywhere in the world, perhaps they aren't worth servicing?

many companies depend on those new customers to hit their growth targets

That's a choice.

Companies growing so that they can be worth more when their investors sell them is the whole point of businesses

Also a choice.

Companies are accountable for their choices. Accountable to their shareholders and to their customers. When those groups aren't aligned, then you're in a tough spot. You might wind up with a new set of shareholders or a new set of customers.

Or no customers and no shareholders.

Corporations are allowed to exist by the public (via the representatives of their collective will, i.e. government) under the belief that doing so will, overall, result in a net benefit to the public. Making a profit or increasing shareholder value are secondary considerations. They can be motivations for why a corporation exists, but don't have to be (there are plenty of non-profit corporations). They are not the sole raison d'être for the artificial constructs we call corporations.

> Corporations are allowed to exist by the public

I would argue that in America, the public is allowed to exist by corporations.

(Tongue in cheek cynicism, mixed with more truth than I'm comfortable with.)

And here I thought reputation, value exchange, and being a good corporate citizen were what made a company worthwhile and respectable.

Thanks for showing your position on the side of "money first people second, if at all".

This is an uncharitable interpretation of the parent comment.

If I say that male lions kill the cubs of rival males when they take over a pride, I am stating an observation, not making a moral claim that I am "on the side" of lions killing cubs.

It's a fair observation that the structural incentives of modern investment driven capital are that growth is absolutely rewarded and morality is often not. Good citizenship only rewards a company when there are enough consumers aware of that citizenship and who care enough to change their spending habits. At the scale of many corporations, it's very hard for enough people to care enough to affect the company's actions.

I think it's often underestimated just how many people don't care and are just focused on doing their job and feeding their kids. They might passively agree or disagree with something but acting on it is a whole different matter. Walmart's still bustling.

>>Companies growing so that they can be worth more when their investors sell them is the whole point of businesses in general

Eww. I thought it was about trading products and labor for currency and vice versa. The investor class is just a parasite on the whole endeavor.

Yup. Our civilization already pulls a bait-and-switch on children by teaching them (us) that work is about the contribution to society, and not making money while incidentally providing some value; the investor mindset of treating companies as first-class objects to pump up and pass around is making things even worse. I for one, when I go to work, don't give a damn about resale value to investors. I'm there to build maximally useful products to the customers that use them.

> The ways in which most men get their living, that is, live, are mere makeshifts, and a shirking of the real business of life, - chiefly because they do not know, but partly because they do not mean, any better. The rush to California, for instance, and the attitude, not merely of merchants, but of philosophers and prophets, so called, in relation to it, reflect the greatest disgrace on mankind. That so many are ready to live by luck, and so get the means of commanding the labor of others less lucky, without contributing any value to society! And that is called enterprise! I know of no more startling development of the immorality of trade, and all the common modes of getting a living. The philosophy and poetry and religion of such a mankind are not worth the dust of a puffball. The hog that gets his living by rooting, stirring up the soil so, would be ashamed of such company. If I could command the wealth of all the worlds by lifting my finger, I would not pay such a price for it.

-- Henry David Thoreau, "Life Without Principle" http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER2/thoreau/life.html

I think China might be a great market for micro transaction based games. This is why Blizzard is acting like this.

Pedantry is important here, because it's important to point out that the Blizzard that people loved is long gone. It's really Activision Blizzard who are acting like this.

Right. Follow the money.

They follow the laws of countries they operate in. I don't see any problem with companies refusing to judge what is good or bad and just following the law.

They are applying Chinese “laws” to Americans in America

Just so we're all on the same page, they're applying their own pre-stated rules to people all over the world. I'm not advocating that what they're doing is right but lets not make things up.

Just so we’re clear, they are applying these “rules” at the behest of an authoritarian, antidemocratic government.

Nobody is making anything up.

Authoritarian ant antidemocratic government is just as legitimate as any other


We have United Nations to handle the issues like this, and from their point of view you are wrong.

Or rather the UN has hurt their own legitimacy, eh?

No, they are not.

I am not sure why everyone keeps believing this lie.

There was no rule that banned political statements.

Instead the rule was something like "we can ban anyone for doing anything that might make blizzard look bad".

It was absolutely not some specific rule about banning political statements.

Just to be clear, they have no rule about not talking about politics. Just a general "don't say anything that we determine offended someone" rule.

Which they weren't going to enforce against the Americans, until it was pointed out. Then they belatedly enforced it to show they were consistently applying the rules and that it had nothing to do with China.

most of the shitstorm revolves around the fact that no, they aren't doing that.

The pre-stated rules don't talk about politics but about offending users.

So, ok, let's say that political statements are offensive, which is a weird proposition.

This is not being enforced for other political views and statements, nor for all users, so clearly it's not applying a pre-stated rule.

I feel the backtrack blizzard did can be considered a fair excusation, and people could reasonably forgive them, but let's not lie to ourselves by treating this as "just applying the rules".

They are not. Right now, the #1 player on the Hearthstone Asia Wild ladder is named "HKisCHINESE". Meanwhile, you are prohibited from registering a battle.net account named "FreeHK".

That is imposing China's rules. There is nothing illegal or even offensive about naming your gaming account "FreeHK". (Battle.net has plenty of political account names; seems like half the people in my Overwatch games are named Trump2020, and they're probably not talking about the Starcraft/Hearthstone streamer.)

Edit: I did go to actually check, and this account is currently #2 and Asia and North America, and #1 in Europe. Clearly Blizzard is aware of it, though, and has chosen to take no action.

i don't need them to follow chinese law in my country thank you very much

If we all agreed on following the same "law", we wouldn't need flags.

Ah, the days we will be drinking unicorn milk and Santa will start delivering presents again.

Because that's totally going to happen. Countries within themselves barely function without split alliances, different parties and ambitions. Now you want 7 billion people to act as one? I'll faster reach richest guy on the planet before that happens.

Quit pretending that wishful thinking is what you should bank on for better things to happen in the world.

You've missed my point.

Clearly we have flags => different "laws".

Maybe if I can learn to levitate, I can change the lightbulbs in my house.

No, get a ladder.

Because the no country, no flag idea makes people blind to finding practical solutions.

your comment may have been in response to someone else. The practicality of unifying the world has nothing to do with what you responded to.

Sadly that law will be the lowest least permissable set of laws - they will apply some dictators rules to you so they can sell video games to the people he oppresses.

corodra 31 days ago [flagged]

>They follow the laws of countries they operate in.

No comrade asulnatao. Since this is your first ever post with your account, they're an American company imposing Chinese censorship upon Americans and other nations. That's a hard no go. They follow whatever law they need to in their established foreign entities. But none of that spills out to anywhere else.

No comrade corodra, since you're (implicitly) accusing another user of being a shill, I can only conclude that you are the shill who, this being your first deployment on the GRU's shared HN account, is not aware of this forum's rules against accusing someone of being a shill.

corodra 31 days ago [flagged]


Oh my god, that's funny. Especially since I've been posting anti-communist since, well, forever and even today. Good try there homie. Oh, that was funny. I actually laughed out loud.

And also that's fine. Ban me. But remember, when they silence everyone else, there's no one left to speak up for you.

> Especially since I've been posting anti-communist since, well, forever and even today

Which is congruous with you being a GRU operative, or even a CCP shill spreading black propaganda by making poor arguments.

> And also that's fine. Ban me. But remember, when they silence everyone else, there's no one left to speak up for you.

Stop being melodramatic. Somebody disagreed with you on HN, you're not getting sent to a death camp. Plus you weren't exactly "speaking up" for me in the first place.


There's plenty of good arguments against Activision Blizzard's actions without having to resort to Nazis; doing so only weakens the position.

EDIT: No matter the parallels between the CCP and Nazi Germany, bringing up Nazis will make many think "there's Goodwin's law in action again" and move on. Focus your arguments on the problems, not on making superficial comparisons.

> There's plenty of good arguments against Activision Blizzard's actions without having to resort to Nazis; doing so only weakens the position.

No, it doesn't.


The comparison isn't "superficial".

Godwin's law is very clearly dead, have you seen the state of discourse in the US? "Nazi" is thrown around so liberally it has lost all meaning.

>"Nazi" is thrown around [in the US] so liberally it has lost all meaning.

I fail to see how that implies that Godwin's law is dead.

In fact, if true it would just imply... Godwin’s Law.


Dealing with that is CIA business, not Activision Blizzard.

Or maybe it's CBP business. If a foreign regime is turning the trade taps on and off to impose their values, then the counter to that is to turn those taps off yourself and sever that influence.

Would you say the same thing about IBM during 1940s, Germany?

So fire protestors?!

EDIT: reporters of protestors!?!



I love that line of argument.

1) China has done >0 bad things

2) Comparison is whataboutism

3) Therefore China is literally Nazi Germany (actual topic of this subthread, not a strawman).

in a thread about USA crimes asking 'but what about China?' would be whataboutism. with your line of thinking it's valid to derail any discussion.


Context matters. When the only relevant sins are those of our chief geopolitical rival.. at a certain point that says more about us than them.


And as a rough idea how SV's role in this will age:


What seems snazzy and modern today, what is presented with smug sophistry and self-righteous downvotes, will be revised or swept under the rug tomorrow.

And a few years prior, Yeats had written that "The center cannot hold", and that "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity".

Worth remembering, IMO. Lots of passionate people calling for a conflict, and it's not clear that they've thought about ramifications very deeply.

> Brute force plays a much larger part in the government of the world than it did before 1914, and what is especially alarming, force tends increasingly to fall into the hands of those who are enemies of civilisation. The danger is profound and terrible; it cannot be waved aside with easy optimism.

> The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt. Even those of the intelligent who believe that they have a nostrum are too individualistic to combine with other intelligent men from whom they differ on minor points. This was not always the case. A hundred years ago the philosophical radicals formed a school of intelligent men who were just as sure of themselves as the Hitlerites are; the result was that they dominated politics and that the world advanced rapidly both in intelligence and in material well-being.

> It is quite true that the intelligence of the philosophical radicals was very limited. It is, I think, undeniable that the best men of the present day have a wider and truer outlook, but the best men of that day had influence, while the best men of this are impotent spectators. Perhaps we shall have to realise that scepticism and intellectual individualism are luxuries which in our tragic age must be forgone, and if intelligence is to be effective, it will have to be combined with a moral fervour which it usually possessed in the past but now usually lacks.

-- Bertrand Russell, "The Triumph of Stupidity" https://russell-j.com/0583TS.HTM

You have me at a disadvantage here because I'm not sure which sentences you're trying to emphasize or how they relate to the debate.

It sounds like you're saying that you're so right, self-doubt would be an unnecessary encumbrance.

How many words of Chinese do you know? How much Chinese history? Have you ever seen a subsistence farmer?

> It sounds like you're saying that you're so right, self-doubt would be an unnecessary encumbrance.

What sentence gives you that idea?

Why? Places like the USA were perfectly fine with the Nazis until their ally bombed us. We also routinely turned away boats full of Jewish refugees that eventually had to return to Germany.

People hold the Nazis up as this great evil that the world banded together to defeat. But from what I can tell the world mostly didn't care until they were directly attacked. Most people truly don't give a crap about this stuff. Never have. Probably never will.

> Places like the USA were perfectly fine with the Nazis until their ally bombed us.

So I guess all those ships and supplies we sent to the UK and France before Japan hit Pearl Harbor were just for shits and giggles, right? What utter and complete nonsense.

So a random bunch of twats on the internet are allowed to make "laws" that dictate where people are allowed to make historical parallels?

Fuck Goodwin's law and any asshole that hides behind it because they're too scared to deal with reality. Might as well ban scientific literature and evidence to prove the Earth is round too. "There they go! Eratosthenes' law in action! They're trying to prove the Earth is round with science!"

Godwin is alright:


But the people refer to his quip are often wrong -- certainly in context of a bona fide totalitarian regime that has been murdering dissidents for 7 decades -- and are using said quip as a cheap way out, while projecting that on those who made the comparison.

"Never again" and "don't even think of comparing anything with the Nazis, not even mass murdering totalitarian regimes" don't go together.

Isn’t it kind of weird that this isn’t news on the WoW subreddit?

It was on /r/wow several days ago when it was first announced.

Diablo 4 was the only "maybe" and that was a long shot, it will probably suck balls like D3 because they will bend backwards to censor it. I don't get how they can justify censoring a game that depends on its dark content, it's quite obviously going to alienate the original player base that made it big. Why not just create a different IP just for china? So many questions, I really think they just lack technical innovation to solve this properly.

I still can't get over the Cartoon-like art style of Diablo 3. It's not a bad game, but the graphic style is such a massive contradiction with the subject matter, it could have been a much better game. The story was similarly butchered, having a degree of good execution but just full of demon-cliches, if that makes sense, without really ever being interesting.

Diablo 3 was a bad game.

They destroyed the fun of the trading economy by making the auction house the most efficient way to obtain things - even allowing real-money purchases for a while to make it literally pay-to-win until they walked that back.

They entirely removed the concept of "builds" as everything about your character was changeable at whim, so you just had to max out a class and you had access to every build within that class. Made choosing builds feel unimportant.

Then, they didn't add enough interesting unique item effects, so item grinding largely just became "look for the item with a slightly bigger number"

Removing the auction house was one of the first big changes they made to the game. I also get the feeling that it was the same moment where they massively dropped their expectations for how much money they would make off it and cut development way back. Still, Diablo 3 now is light years ahead of what it was at release and is actually a lot of fun. However, it is quite different from Diablo 2 (just like that was quite different from Diablo 1).

Sounds like you played during launch, and didn't play after that

I played a recent season, and got pretty far in the completion checklist with a few characters in hardcore mode. Overall the experience is just mediocre, but the game itself is quite polished, which means the design itself is flawed.

There's something about character progression that seems very shallow. The overall feel and experience of the game is closer to an arcade action game like Gauntlet (3d version) that has repetitive levels as oppose to an ARPG with RNG content that has endless replay value like D2.

Yeah, played 2 characters to 60 at launch, then one more to 60 just after they killed the auction house. May have improved it since then, but I still felt like spirit of Diablo 2 was missing even after the auction house was killed and they revamped the loot system.

There are so many ways that an NLP model would mis-interpret this headline.

Thank you for the link! also I've never seen "blogspam" used before. So fitting.


Thanks for the downvote, Chinese sympathizers.

This breaks more than one of the site guidelines. You've done this so many times that I'm banning your current accounts until we get some indication that you want to use HN as intended. The rules are at https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html. Please review them.

If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email hn@ycombinator.com and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.

Well since Europe started requiring to have "hate" speech, the american progressive "fake news", "harassment" and "abuse" removed it seems that a lot of other factions seem to seized the opportunity to use the existing framework to their own gain. Who could have guessed ...

It is rarely only the "good" guys that get to censor in the end ...

Blizzard is not censoring based on an SJW framework.

Blizzard is trying to satisfy an authoritarian regime that they have gotten financially DEPENDENT on. These are not related.

A rose by any other name ...

Blizzard appeases the SJW when twitter makes a shitstorm not to lose money. Blizzard appeases China when Beijing makes a sting not to lose money. Both the SJW and CCP sincerely believe that history is on their side and they are the future. Both think of due process (as in some title IX cases) as an inconvenience. Both think that ideological conformity is paramount.

I think I can see a vague overlap between the two.

There is overlap between a lot of systems, but meta-relationships (insofar as HN comment votes look like Reddit comment votes) aren't relevant to the topic. That being said, I see the overlap. Blizzard is using the "we know what's best for others". This is not a framework, intrinsically.

> a lot of other factions seem to seized the opportunity to use the existing framework to their own gain

Blizzard is not one of those factions and I'll leave it at that.

I was talking about CCP in the original post as the faction. I thought it was obvious.

Blizzard are just an errand boy send by grocery clerks to colletthe bills.

> It is rarely only the "good" guys that get to censor in the end ...

It’s rarely only the good guys that start with censoring, either.

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