The 2018 Hearthstone All-Star Invitational strikes controversy over two players that were recently found cheating were voted into the tournament. Many fans and professional players are upset that no harsher punishments have been issued to these players.
The Players and Their Actions
The players in question by the Hearthstone community are ahq e-Ssports players Luo “Roger” Shengyuan and “Shaxy”. Both players have made multiple Tour Stop appearances and Seasonal Championship qualifiers.
Both players were representatives for Taiwan’s team in the recent Hearthstone Global Games. The team qualified to attend BlizzCon to participate in the top eight of the tournament. In order to qualify, they played in a tournament that was held online and streamed by Blizzard.
They also streamed their perspective of the online tournament. In doing this, they were caught discussing the fact that they had information on the opponent’s hand. This was due to them viewing the main Blizzard stream to get delayed information on what the opponent had in their hand. This is outlined in the rules for the tournament as cheating.
The team then had their top eight spot revoked and they were replaced. Despite the whole team being disqualified, Roger and Shaxy were specifically mentioned by Blizzard in the offense.
Technically what Blizzard did to the players was as far as what was stated in the rules. They were removed from the remainder of the tournament and disqualified from any sort of cash prize. However, when players are caught cheating in other sports, they usually serve suspensions from play altogether.
As of right now, there isn’t an overall rule system like that in place for cheating. Cheating is an unusual case in competitive Hearthstone, as there are few ways to cheat, and so Blizzard must now take action for a set of rules to cover these issues.
Finding an appropriate length of time for the different levels of severity of cheating can be difficult. One such question is should it be set to a number of months or a number of events? Another question is if cheating persists, should some sort of fine be introduced?
Cheating hasn’t grown to be that big of a problem yet. Another controversy the two players have been caught in is win trading on ladder, another system that contributes to competitive placing. The fact that Shaxy and Roger are appearing in an All-Star tournament so quickly does not reflect well on competitive Hearthstone.
Blizzard should definitely take some sort of action to discourage such behavior instead of just disqualification from the current tournament. Otherwise, maybe it would make a better case for players to simply try to hide the fact they are cheating with such minor consequence.
Of course, Redditors have taken up arms against the inclusion of these players in an invite level tournament. However, they were voted in by the residents of Taiwan. So, despite them being caught cheating, the fans still respect the two players enough to grant them a spot in this tournament.
That might speak to how little of a punishment the players are given. The fans didn’t seem to think it was a big enough deal to punish them themselves.
Many professional players have also come forward with statements about the cheating players being invited to a tournament so quickly after they were caught. For now, there are no plans to remove the players from this tournament. Blizzard’s and more specifically Hearthstone Esports’ public relations have been recently bad, and this continues to spread the rift between players and the developer.
Promoting cheaters, Merry Christmas HS Community
— Justsaiyan (@justsaiyanHS) December 24, 2018
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via the official Hearthstone website.