To say that a lot has happened in the world — and especially in China — over the past six months is a bit of an understatement. I won’t go into detail on, well, everything, but I will remind you of one important-at-the-time thing in the gaming world that happened six months ago today.
It was on Oct. 6, 2019 that professional Hearthstone player Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung gave his now-famous “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” post-match speech at the Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament in Taiwan. That led to his hasty removal from the tournament and a one-year ban from professional Hearthstone, which Blizzard later reduced to a six-month sentence. That sentence should expire today, April 6, 2020, meaning Blitzchung is theoretically free to play professional Hearthstone again. (The casters at the event still have six months to go on their suspension.)
While he initially said that he would “take this time to relax myself to decide if I am staying in competitive hearthstone scene or not,” Blitzchung joined a new team, Tempo Storm, the next month, and stated in an interview in January that he plans to resume his professional career once his suspension ended. His last Tweet was actually a retweet of Tempo Storm’s announcement back in November, so we’ll still have to wait for him to formally rejoin the competitive scene.
When he does, he’ll probably leave controversy behind, at least during tournament broadcasts. Despite saying that “some things are more important than gaming” and “Even if I had a chance to go back, I would still do it” in relation to his statements in October, he’s also said that “I will be more careful on that and express my opinions or show my support to Hong Kong on my personal platforms.”
He’ll surely be in the spotlight, though, which leads one to wonder just how forthcoming he’ll be on those personal platforms and whether Blizzard will be monitoring them for pro-Hong Kong messaging. It’s worth noting that one NBA executive got in hot water with his league for expressing similar opinions several months ago — on his own personal social media account — so we’ll see if it Blitzchung’s transgression truly was making a political statement on an official broadcast and whether Blizzard will take action against him if he speaks out on his Twitter. Given his statements on the matter, and his apparent willingness to speak out regardless of the consequences, we might not have to wait too long to find out.