My thoughts on the All Stars $100k event inviting 2 known cheaters
The invites for the All-Stars 2018 event were revealed last weekend and my initial reaction towards Shaxy and Roger, two known cheaters, being invited was a mix of disappointment and anger. I’ve had the week to think about it, and the feelings haven’t subsided.
The tournament in question, Hearthstone All-Stars 2018 TW, is featured on Blizzard Taiwan's page, has run in prior years under Blizzard approval, and features one of the largest prize pools (~$100k USD) of the year.
The Taiwanese community voted on the 8 players who would represent Taiwan in the tournament. Voting concluded before it was revealed that Shaxy and Roger had cheated during their HGG match. However, Roger and Shaxy had already engaged in win-trading on the ladder system and were caught for it before the voting period even began, so why were they listed in the first place? This HGG incident would be the second time they’ve been caught abusing the system.
While the All-Star event is outside of the official ecosystem, the reputation of the event is still at stake. The All-Star series is a prestigious end-of-year event meant to bring together and celebrate some of the most exceptional Hearthstone players throughout the year. I’m surprised the organizer wasn’t willing to protect the event’s reputation and rescind the invites, especially since they have an official clause that states:
“ Organizer reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions, and to suspend or terminate the [vote] with or without notice to participants.”
It certainly appears the organizer had full power to disregard the voters’ choice in extreme situations, which they did not choose to exercise.The organizers don’t seem to care that their invite list has known cheaters on it.
Now, it feels appropriate for HSesports to consider the implications and take action. Even without a direct tie to the competitive circuit, it certainly feels like a competitive event, hence the All-Stars branding. These invites are top players from around the world who grinded through the official HCT system for their achievements ; placing Roger and Shaxy amongst them is a discredit.
The whole thing is a disaster, with parties unwilling to step up. What it really boils down to is that the punishment for the act of cheating was too light to begin with. The Taiwanese HGG team was disqualified from the event, but no further action was taken. This is a very reactionary measure, and if anything, may only encourage them to cheat in less obvious/blatant manners. In fact, Roger and Shaxy are still allowed to play in the upcoming APAC playoffs for season 3, despite being caught win-trading on the ladder system. If their invites were rescinded, at minimum, it would send a stronger message against cheating and legitimize an event that’s supposed to celebrate some of Hearthstone’s top players. Until then, I’m certainly not tuning in.