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JasonZhou Calls Out Blizzard's Unfair Treatment of Chinese Players at HCT

Update 7/12: Hearthstone's Production Director, Jason Chayes, has responded to the issues at HCT, saying, "On behalf of Blizzard and the Hearthstone team, I want to personally apologize for the limited advance notice we provided you regarding our deck list submission deadline for the 2017 HCT Spring Championship... Blizzard takes competitive integrity seriously, and we are making changes to our processes to help ensure communication issues like this do not happen again." You can read the message in whole at the bottom of this post. JasonZhou posted the apology to his Weibo, saying, "Actually, I don't really care about this stuff, I wish good luck to those of you competing after this, this is how it is."
JasonZhou, one of the other Chinese Hearthstone players at HCT, wrote a response to Dogggg's post, supporting the details he had given, and even suggesting that Blizzard failed to inform them of the format in a timely manner on purpose as a means of shutt…
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Chinese Hearthstone Players Were Not Told Tournament Format in Advance

The Hearthstone Championship Tour Spring 2017 tournament took place this weekend in Shanghai. Sixteen players from around the world competed over three days to win first place and $60,000. Four of those players were from China—Dogggg, JasonZhou, Trunks, and xHope. All but Trunks went 0-2, and Trunks fared only marginally better with 1-2. None of them made it to quarterfinals. However, according to a Weibo post by Dogggg, it seems the Chinese players were not made aware of the tournament’s format until just moments before their deck lists were due. They were under the impression the tournament was 5 ban 1, meaning they could bring 5 decks and their opponent would ban 1 at each round. When they heard rumors that the tournament might actually be 4 ban 1, they sent an email to Blizzard but received no response. It wasn’t until just before their deck lists were to be submitted that they received a notification saying the tournament was 4 ban 1. The players from other regions were told a w…

REDemption: LPL Wins Rift Rivals 2017 Asian Region

After four days of intense competition, the Chinese League of Legends division, LPL, triumphed in the Rift Rivals 2017 Asian (also called Red) region tournament against the LCK (Korea) and the LMS (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao).
The first day of competition saw China with 2 wins and 2 losses (1 win and 1 loss to both LMS and LCK). Teams Royal Never Give Up (RNG) and OMG each won games, while OMG also lost a game along with EDward Gaming (EDG). The fourth LPL team, WE, did not play until day two. The second day seemed to spell certain doom for the LPL, as they went 0-4. RNG lost to KT Rolster (LCK), EDG lost to J Team (LMS), WE lost to Flash Wolves (LMS) and WE lost SKT (LCK). Luckily, the teams seemed to learn from their mistakes and rallied on day 3 to win against the LMS for their place in the finals against LCK with three wins and two losses. The final game was close, with coaches choosing to put forward Flash Wolves on the LMS side and WE on the LPL side. While analysts thought RNG w…

Tencent Imposes Age-Based Gaming Restrictions to Curb Addiction

As we’ve written time and time again, China is deeply concerned with video game addiction, in particular the potential for children to become addicted to games. The newest move in game addiction prevention comes from corporate giant Tencent, who will be imposing play limits on their game, Honour of Kings, based on age. The new regulations will limit players under 12 years old to one hour of play per day, and they will not be able to play after 9pm. Players between 12 and 17 years old will be limited to two hours of play a day, and future limitations on how much money young players can spend are also being considered.
Honour of Kings is the highest grossing game worldwide, and has 200 million registered users and as many as 70 million active players per day according to the Esports Observer. More than half of its users are under 24 years old, and more than a quarter are below 19 years old. In order to enforce their new regulations, Tencent will be requiring real-name registration from…

A Closer Look at China's "Loot Box Law"

China recently implemented new laws requiring video games to disclose the drop rate of items in any kind of loot crate/box/pack sold by the game (for example, DotA, Overwatch, Counter-Strike, etc.), and while most companies complied, Blizzard has been somewhatreluctant to give out their algorithms. Instead of probabilities for each box, or even for each item, they gave out probabilities for when you might receive an item in a given number of boxes. Now, however, they've found a way to get around the law entirely. Most recently, for Hearthstone: instead of buying packs of cards, players buy dust which can be used to craft cards they want, and as a "bonus", they also get card packs. In this way, players are not technically buying card packs, and Blizzard doesn't have to technically release statistics on them. They implemented a similar system for Overwatch at the beginning of June, where players can buy in-game currency (which can then be used to buy certain cosmetic …

Chinese Hearthstone Players Hit US Visa Barriers

In her first round of applications for a US Visa, Hearthstone Global Wild Tournament winner SHRoyalBaiZe (or just BaiZe) was denied her visa, according to a post on her Weibo from June 19. On June 22nd, however, her second visa application was approved, allowing her to participate in the Tournament in the US next week.

At the end of April, Blizzard announced that the top 64 Ranked players from the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific in Wild for the month of May would qualify for an official Wild tournament. Their official announcement at the end of May clarified:

Regional qualifiers will be double elimination, with the top two players from the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific advancing to the single elimination playoffs, where they will be joined by the top two players from China.

In order to prepare for their trip to the US in the event of their success, all bracketed Chinese players applied for visas. According to a post on the NGA.cn Hearthstone forum, both BaiZe and two other H…

Black Desert MMO Set For Release in China

China is looking forward to the release of Korean sandbox MMO Black Desert. It was released in 2014 in Korea, 2015 in Japan and Russia, and 2016 in North America and Europe. Although it has not been officially announced for release in China, a Chinese website for the game has gone live, indicating a release will be coming soon.

Youxi Down writes that the official Chinese website is online and players can register for an open beta, ask to receive more information, and enter to win prizes by putting in their phone numbers. According to the website, the Chinese publisher will be Snail Games (蜗牛游戏), a low-profile Chinese domestic gaming company who has released games like Taichi Panda, Voyage Century Online, Age of Wushu, and others.

17173.com also noticed the game on Steam, leading to speculation that users would be able to play with foreigners on global servers. The page is still not available for Chinese players, though (because the game has not been released here yet), and a change in …

Ubisoft Wins E3 in China

E3 isn’t an especially popular expo in China for a variety of reasons, in particular because it’s essentially a trade show of games Chinese gamers will never get the opportunity to play. China has its own electronics and gaming expo in the form of ChinaJoy in Shanghai, which includes booths from not only the likes of Ubisoft, Sony, and Microsoft, but also China’s own gaming companies and distributors, like Tencent, NetEase, Perfect World, and Shanda Games. As consoles are a new commodity to China, they have a lot of catching-up to do with the popularity of PC and mobile games, so ChinaJoy focuses less on next-gen consoles, and more on VR, eSport tournaments, PC games, and new mobile titles. Regardless, many Chinese mainlanders have loved consoles since before their official legality, especially sports games like FIFA and NBA 2K, and RPGs like Monster Hunter and Dark Souls. So let’s take a look and see what Chinese gamers took away from E3, and what they’re looking forward to most.


In…

Hearthstone Chinese Meta Analysis

Hearthhead, a site that focuses on all aspects of the online TCG Hearthstone, has started running a regular Chinese meta game analysis column that takes a close look at how players in China are playing the game.

The site outlines the most popular and successful classes for the major competitive game types (Standard, Wild, and Arena) using the Chinese app Hearthstone Hezi (HS Box) and information from game manager NetEase. They also include some decks from the top players in China like LvGe, OmegaZero, and Icefox, as well as class-by-class match-up breakdowns. Take a look if you're interested in comparing the meta across regions-- US meta analysis is available at Vicious Syndicate.

Content/Censorship Guidelines for Game Developers

Game developers have a lot to keep in mind as they create their new IPs. Character design, maps, names, music, coding, troubleshooting, among countless other duties-- what looks good to us, what will our players like, and most importantly, for Chinese developers, what will the government permit. According to a 2010 PPT (still in use as late as last year) about the online game content review process put out by the Internet Culture Office and the Ministry of Culture, government reviewers will focus on 19 points when deciding if a game may proceed with publishing. In addition to the 19 points, developers must also follow a six-page document titled Interim Measures for the Administration of Online Games, which further details requirements a developer must meet before publication of their game. Below, I've outlined the PPT's details for each of the 19 points, which the Ministry of Culture states is useful for developer self-censorship in order to pass the review process.

Game cont…