The Blizzard subreddit, r/Blizzard, has been made private, so only those who have been approved by the moderators will be able to post in and view the forum page. The r/Blizzard mods appear to have made the Blizzard Reddit private following backlash against the company for banning a Hearthstone player who supported protests in Hong Kong.
Blizzard recently banned pro player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai from Hearthstone esports for a year after he said “Liberate Hong Kong” during a live post-game interview. Blitzchung also wore a similar mask and goggles to those Hong Kong protesters often wear while making the statement. Blizzard ruled that Blitzchung would lose any prize money he earned during the Hearthstone Grandmasters and would be kicked from the competition. Blizzard also said it would no longer work with the two casters who were hosting the stream during Blitzchung’s proclamation.
Blizzard’s actions resulted in uproar among fans of the company’s games: World of Warcraft subreddit moderator DotkasFlughoernchen said “nearly the entire frontpage of r/Blizzard” was populated by posts related to the Blitzchung banning earlier today. Less than an hour after DotkasFlughoernchen’s post, Hearthstone subreddit user MoiMagnus noticed the mods had made the Blizzard Reddit private, likely in an attempt to control the flood of new posts about the Blitzchung incident. Those attempting to visit r/Blizzard will have to message the mods for approval. While the Blizzard Reddit moderators are most likely not directly employed by Blizzard, many game-related subreddits experience at least some direct interaction with the developers of said games.
The introduction of World of Warcraft Classic brought Blizzard’s MMO back into the spotlight. A recent Streamlabs report said Blizzard was the most-watched publisher on Twitch in Q3 2019, beating out League of Legends publisher Riot Games and others. An upcoming Nintendo Switch Overwatch port will bring Blizzard’s popular team-based multiplayer shooter to the portable platform.
Update (10/8/19, 5:20 pm EDT): The Blizzard subreddit has reopened and hundreds are making their displeasure with the moderator’s actions known. As of now, there has been no response by the moderators on why the subreddit was set to private.