'Hearthstone' caster quits Grandmasters after Blizzard bans player
Brian Kibler, a professional player, streamer, and tournament caster of Activision Blizzard's "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft," has announced that he "will have no involvement" in the game's Grandmasters competitions moving forward. Kibler said he made the decision after pro "Hearthstone" player Ng "Blitzchung" Wai Chung was expelled from Grandmasters and had his prize money revoked after voicing support for protestors in Hong Kong at the end of a stream. "I want to start by saying that I feel what Blitzchung did was very brave," Kibler said. "He knew that his actions would likely have serious consequences, not just for his future in Hearthstone but possibly even for his personal safety, and I commend him for the fortitude that takes." While the tournament caster said he believes Blizzard was "correct" in issuing a penalty for his actions, he thinks the punishment given is "incredibly harsh." "I won't pretend to understand either the intricacies of the geopolitical situation in China and Hong Kong or the full extent of Blizzard's business interests there, but to me this penalty feels like it is deeply rooted in both," Kibler added. "The heavy-handedness of it feels like someone insisted that Blizzard make an example of Blitzchung, not only to discourage others from similar acts in the future but also to appease those upset by the outburst itself. That kind of appeasement is simply not something I can in good conscience be associated with. When I learned about the ruling, I reached out to Blizzard and informed them that I no longer feel comfortable casting the Grandmasters finals at BlizzCon. I will not be a smiling face on camera that tacitly endorses this decision. Unless something changes, I will have no involvement in Grandmasters moving forward."