Naiman banned from Hearthstone, released from Dignitas
Another pro player has been permanently banned from Hearthstone. This time one of the best ladder players in Europe has fallen foul of the terms of service—his career likely over as a result.
Olzhas "Naiman" Batyrbekov, who was sitting on top of the European qualification standings for the World Championships, has been permanently banned from Hearthstone. The ban, handed down Friday, was made public by Batyrbekov's now-former team Dignitas, which announced that he had also been released from the organization.
Batyrbekov is the second pro player in two weeks to find himself banned from Hearthstone after CompLexity's Dan "Alchemixt" Walton was also banned. Unlike Dignitas who have disowned Batyrbekov, CompLexity will retain Walton in their organisation in a yet-undetermined capacity.
Unlike with Riot and League of Legends, Blizzard does not release notice of any account bans for pro players—though the ban applies only to the specific player's account, not the player himself. Both Walton and Batyrbekov are able to create new accounts, but Batyrbekov would likely lose the World Championship points he had accrued. Of course the bans, and in particular the reaction of Dignitas, will permanently affect the reputation of banned players.
Batyrbekov had been known as one of the best ladder players in the game, consistently finishing either in the No. 1 legend spot or very close to it. Because of this he was atop the World Championship qualification standings and very likely to make it to the World Championships.
"Any form of impropriety undermines the basis of competition and esports," Dignitas said in a statement. "and Team Dignitas does not tolerate this behavior for any of our players. Naiman has been released from his contract effective immediately."
Photo via Sergey Galyonkin/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)