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Roger and Reall Banned from Hearthstone Grandmasters

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To ensure the integrity of Hearthstone esports, Blizzard has banned the two Taiwanese players who were previously accused of wintrading and stream sniping.

As a reminder, Roger and Reall were caught wintrading on April 2018. Moreover, the Chinese Taipei team, consisting of 2018 World Champion tom60229, Roger, Shaxy and Reall, was caught streamsniping during the Hearthstone Global Games and were consequently disqualified.

Due to these events, there were several protests about Roger being crowned Winter Champion a month ago and qualifying for the this year's World Championship. Blizzard feels that Roger earned his Championship spot legitimately.

However, Roger and Reall will not be allowed to participate in Hearthstone Grandmasters in 2019. The Grandmasters tier is the highest one in the revamped system for Hearthstone esports; it is still not known how exactly Grandmasters is going to work.

Here is the full message regarding Roger and Reall:

Blizzard Logou/BlizzMilkfat

Hi all – Sam Braithwaite, Senior Global Franchise Lead for Hearthstone esports here. As we prepare for the 2019 HCT World Championship, I wanted to take the opportunity to address the community’s feedback about one of our professional players, Luo "Roger" Shengyuan, who recently won the HCT Winter Championship.

In Oct. 2018, during the Hearthstone Global Games, we discovered that team Chinese Taipei, which included Roger, tom60229, Shaxy, and Reall had violated the rules to gain a competitive advantage. In response, we administered the penalty outlined in the rules at the time, and disqualified team Chinese Taipei from the competition.

But previously, in April 2018, allegations of Roger and Reall participating in win-trading had surfaced. After an investigation, we discovered their involvement in the incident but did not issue any official warning in response to their rule violation due to an internal miscommunication.

We now realize that our previous rules around these scenarios and our enforcement of them did not meet the standards of our community. We take full responsibility for this. Moving forward, we will be reevaluating our rules for the 2019 season and are committed not only to improving, but also to being more transparent about the way we administer warnings, penalties, and rulings.

Our failure should not diminish Roger’s accomplishments. He earned his championship at HCT Winter and his spot at the upcoming HCT 2019 World Championship on his own merit and in compliance with the official HCT competition ruleset.

While Roger and Reall may still compete in Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers and Masters Tour events, due to having two rule violations last year, they will not be invited to the inaugural year of Hearthstone Grandmasters. Grandmasters will be the highest level of competitive Hearthstone, and its competitors will be held to higher standards, not just in performance, but also in conduct.

Thank you for all your feedback, your support, your patience, and understanding. Hearthstone esports wouldn’t be what it is without you, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts as we prepare to embark on a new chapter of Hearthstone esports in just a few short months.

(source)
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A ban for a single tournament seems pretty mild to me, even if it is a major tournament. In real sports, players caught cheating are typically banned from any official activity relating to their sport for a period of up to 2 years. For example, tennis players Maria Sharapova and Marin Cilic were banned for respectively 15 months and 4 months for failed drugs tests. Football player Samir Nasri was banned for 18 months for an illegal drip. Recidivists face a life-time ban, as happened to cyclist Lance Armstrong. An equivalent penalty would restrict Hearthstone players to duel with friends and solo adventures for the whole duration of their ban.

In comparison, Blizzard is, in my humble opinion, sending the wrong message to cheaters here. I would have expected, and would have hopped for, a much more severe sanction.

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Even though we know absolutely nothing about Hearthstone Grandmasters, I doubt it's just a single tournament. It sounds like it is a league. But yeah, these two can still make money from the Masters tour stops if they succeed in them.

A lot of people have criticised Blizzard about their decision, since the damage is already done. Who in the Twitch chat isn't going to spam "cheater" when Roger plays his games? Their integrity took a big blow from this incident.

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1 minute ago, Zadina said:

Who in the Twitch chat isn't going to spam "cheater" when Roger plays his game? Their integrity took a big blow from this incident.

I would be dying from shame, and I'm sure you would as well. But will he? In my experience (from a different online game - M&M: Heroes Online), cheaters have no face, and integrity means nothing to them. In general they will claim their innocence despite the evidence, play the victim card, and cheat again at the next opportunity.

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12 hours ago, Smorod said:

I would be dying from shame, and I'm sure you would as well. But will he? In my experience (from a different online game - M&M: Heroes Online), cheaters have no face, and integrity means nothing to them. In general they will claim their innocence despite the evidence, play the victim card, and cheat again at the next opportunity.

ah, 'no face'...well played. 

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