Blizzard is investigating accusations of large-scale cheating in China’s Hearthstone community, both on the in-game ladder and in offline tournaments.
The allegations, brought to light by senior members of the Chinese Hearthstone community and published last week by GosuGamers, claimed that over a dozen top Chinese players were involved, including TongFu’s “FengFengFeng” and five members of Team PanicToDeath.
According to the screenshots provided to both GosuGamers and the Daily Dot, these players are boosting other players to high legend rankings for a fee, using wintrading to achieve the ranks. The services are openly advertised on Taobao, an online marketplace operated by Alibaba.
The screenshots also included conversations about paying other players to throw games in Gold Series Opens—the official Blizzard tournaments that are part of the qualification process for the World Championship.
After the story was published, Blizzard told the Daily Dot that it was investigating the accusations.
“Win trading is a bannable offense,” a Blizzard spokesperson told the Daily Dot. “It affects the integrity of the game experience and undermines the spirit of fair play … We’re aware of the reports from China and are currently investigating.”
In statement, NetEase, the company responsible for administering the Gold Series tournaments, accused GosuGamers of bias against the Chinese Hearthstone scene and criticized the source who shared the information for “mixing truth with lies.” The statement’s author, NetEase marketing director Zhang Dong, said that while the company would look into the accusations, it would be very difficult to take any action. The author of the GosuGamers piece, meanwhile, has reportedly received death threats since publishing.