Blizzard has announced that Kripparrian and RegisKillbin are giving up their spots in the upcoming Crossroads Inn-vitational event. Two women, Luna and Avelline, are now invited, taking over their seats. In addition to this update, Blizzard commits to having more women represented in events going forward and states that they move is "one piece" of their future plans when it comes to diversity and inclusion.
Quote From @PlayHearthstone
We have two new participants for the Crossroads Inn-vitational! Welcome @lunaloveee8 and @AvellineHS to the roster, and a huge thanks to Kripp and RegisKillbin for graciously offering their slots.
Why we’re doing this: representation and inclusion matter, and we’re committing ourselves to being better. It’s vital that our events represent the reality of the Hearthstone community made up of numerous talented and deserving women who dedicate themselves to the game every day.
In order to commit ourselves to doing better in the future, every community event’s invitees will have a greater representation of women moving forward. This is only one piece of our future plans around diversity and inclusion.
To the women of the Hearthstone community: thank you, and know that we will live up to this through our actions.
Why Did This Happen?
Many notable women in the community have begun to speak up about the way they have been mistreated, the lack of representation in women in Hearthstone events, and Blizzard's unwillingness to make changes. We are going to link and quote some experiences down below, but this should not be considered a complete record of the problems that hurt women in gaming.
Slysssa uploaded a video discussing the overall issues with tournaments and the representation of women in Hearthstone. It is a great listen and introduction to some of the issues.
Quote From Sunglitters
When I read one more time how great the Hearthstone community is I'll lose my mind. Pathra gone, Hafu gone, most women I talk to having terrible experiences and are close to quitting. Having to justify your existence/skill every single day based on your identity is not great.
Representation is so important for the overall health of the community.
This was last year in June, 1/20 women, last second Slysssa got in because they needed a replacement. Look at how well she is doing since then.
I love Hearthstone and my core community that I've built with my stream, but the overall community is quite awful. Hope we can make it better somehow in the future. Was watching Hafu recently and she talked about it a little bit.
2/26 [women] [Darkmoon Duelfest]
I really don't want to come off as salty but this is exactly what we all talked about one year ago and nothing has changed really. It's frustrating not to be heard and see all your friends not getting recognized for all the work that they put in _despite_ all the bullshit.
The reason why I started playing Hearthstone was Hafu, I've followed her since I saw her play WoW Arena at Blizzcon.
Pretty sure @Slysssa started with HS because of @Alliestrasza.
Imagine how many women would feel empowered to play the game or start competing when we SEE MORE.
Quote From Alkali Layke
I would strongly recommend that the @PlayHearthstone publicity team make a statement about representation in the game before it seems too late (ahem some history there).
Even something simple like "You've spoken and we HEAR YOU. We are currently making efforts to do better"
I mean am I wrong here? Don't worry…I can handle people disagreeing with me. It light of recent events (cough cough) I would just think that they'd respond sooner to SO MANY people speaking up about an issue.
And I'm SO AFRAID to speak up. My hands literally shake everytime I write a tweet about it. I'm afraid of losing connections I've made with the HS team. Afraid they might not ever work with me. But I'm doing it… because it's simply the right thing to do.
Quote From Cora
I've never told this story, and I won't be saying any names because I do believe the person at the heart of this story isn't a bad person, but this still bothers me and maybe it will provide a little context on the conversations that are happening right now. Idk.
A little over a year ago, a friend of mine in the community reached out with screenshots from a discord channel where prominent community members had said awful things about myself and other women. This was not a single event, but something that spanned across years.
It was as recent as when I was hired onto the Hearthstone design team. One person in particular seemed to drive a lot of the conversation, and was saying things about how he couldn't imagine why I would be hired over him.
This person reached out to me to apologize before I was ever sent the screenshots from my friend. They didn't say what they were apologizing for, only that they had said some things a long time ago and felt guilty about it.
And they were only apologizing in the first place because they had been informed that I would be receiving these screenshots, and I was now in a position of power that could potentially affect their career.
Now, after receiving the screenshots I saw that it was not, in fact, a long time ago. It started a long time ago, and continued until, at that point, as recent as a few months ago. It had gone on for years, and clearly this person that I thought I was cool with, resented me.
I have a thick skin. I can't count the number of times I was called fat or stupid by twitch chat over 4 years. But it's different when it's somebody that you know and respect mocking and criticizing you and other women for no apparent reason.
The realization that it wasn't just faceless trolls and assholes really hurt. And I had to turn around and forgive this person, because I didn't want to ruin the career they had built. But they had no respect for my career. They clearly didn't give a shit about how hard I worked.
And it's not just this one person, and it's not just me being disrespected and hurt. It's a cycle of toxic bullshit that women like @jiadee_ and @snglttrs and @Slysssa have dealt with every day they've existed in this community. Speaking out is not an easy thing to do.
I wasn't strong enough to stick around in a high visibility role anymore. It was too much for my personal health and well-being. And I feel guilty that I threw in the flag when so many women in the community looked up to me.
But there are many others who are fantastic role models. If you've been listening to the conversation and trying to understand, that's awesome. The women speaking out are eloquent and ballsy as hell (looking at you Sun). Thank you for listening to what they have to say.
And don't be dicks in a public discord, dummies.
Quote From Jia
1/15 My take on women’s representation in gaming.
This thread is operating under the belief that all genders inherently have the same capacity to excel in gaming & that the current disparity comes from external factors. If you disagree with that, pls just keep scrolling.
2/ I think a lot of misunderstanding on the topic of representation comes from whether you see it as an end goal OR a solution to a problem hindering an end goal. I see it as the latter, the end goal being what (I hope) we all want: equal opportunity in all spaces within gaming.
3/ The problem is toxicity toward women. This is my umbrella term for the verbal abuse & belittlement women receive on the basis of sex that men only get on the basis of skill, if at all. It also includes the sexual harassment we’re disproportionately subjected to. Better exp:
4/ That toxicity is a small part of a much broader sexism present in most societies, but I’ll only focus on how it manifests in gaming spaces. This is how I see the negative feedback cycle in my head. (Prob even more negative effects I didn’t cover, sorry)
5/ The central problem 1 leads to symptoms 2-4. In a perfect world anybody would feel welcome in any community they like. Hell if I know if a perfect world would actually have a 50-50 split, but to me that’s not important. The problem is whether it’s 50% or 10% of all women
6/ who’d potentially want to join a gaming space (esports, streaming, game dev, etc), if any of them face unpunished toxicity, then it’s not equal opportunity. Plenty of talented women have left games bc of this, and who knows how many more were too discouraged to even start.
7/ It’s just so vicious. Toxicity also discourages the men that do believe in gender equality , which makes us feel like no one cares. Fewer women [2a] means fewer women who outperform men [2b], which then fuels the narrative of  that women are naturally worse at games.
8/ How do you fix toxicity? We’ve been trying for decades and the pace of improvement has been abysmal. While better moderation and swifter bans help a bit, imo it takes an entire shift in culture. How do you change a culture? Representation. [2a]
9/ Seeing someone like yourself kick ass does wonders for those looking to join the scene. But even more than that, giving a platform to people actively fighting toxicity rather than staying quiet bc status quo is convenient for them, is simply the right thing to do.
10/ Sexists feel like they can get away with what they do and say because they think they’re majority; or that the majority don’t care enough to call them out. When you make the very people they put down visible, you send the message that it’s sexists that are unwelcome.
11/ Now, I get that it feels counterintuitive to the end goal of equal opportunity to advocate specific inclusions with gender in mind. I concede that this is an imperfect solution, but the only other alternative I hear being proposed is “wait for things to organically improve”.
12/ And to that I ask, how long? We literally had a woman world champion in Hearthstone, and people still won’t shut up about how women less logical or competitive than men. Dunno about you but if there’s something we can do about that now, I think we should.
13/ So now, exactly how much is “more” representation? What is enough could mean 20% to someone, 50% to another. It’s the kind of question we can’t answer w/o empirical data but there’s nothing to go off of, so why not at least try different numbers & compare response?
14/ While we don’t have that kind of info yet, I think it helps to reflect. How many women need to be in your discord server before you kick the guy calling them thots? How many more women need to be in your chat before you ban the guy telling them to go back to the kitchen?
15/15 How many more women need to be on your Twitter feed recalling their worst experiences before you truly start to hold your friends accountable? It’s probably different for everyone, and it *shouldn’t* take this much. But it does, so here’s one more.
Quote From Avelline
As a very proud person I never felt like talking about this in public, or letting people know that their bullying could get to me. Whenever I was bullied or mistreated I would just talk back, ban and block people thinking I was getting rid of the toxicity but the truth is I was just turning a blind eye to it. Coming from an insanely toxic local community I've faced a lot of vulgar comments, disrespect and personal attacks. It wasn’t just randoms or viewers but players and streamers as well. Some were straight out hateful and vulgar to me like calling me a prostitute and threatening to send people to rape me (that person was only suspended for a week after bullying other players and streamers as well and is still playing and competing). Most of them treated me with disingenuous politeness, and then behind my back would say things to undermine my achievements and act as if I didn't deserve any recognition. I’m not a person that is willing to tolerate being disrespected just to make fake friends or to have people like me more. As a result, I never made more than 1 or 2 friends in the local community, and eventually decided to close that door entirely and start streaming in English.
What I want to make clear here is that I never, ever asked for special treatment because I’m a woman. I never competed in female only tournaments, I always went where I saw the highest level of competition even if I wasn’t good enough yet. The only goal that ever appealed to me was competing with the best and the only way I wanted to reach that point was through hard work. Ever since I started streaming in English, and became involved in the international HS community, I've felt able to truly enjoy the game I love and the grind that goes with it. I qualified for and competed in multiple masters tours, had very satisfying ladder results and made good friends who treat me as a fellow competitor and not ‘’a woman".
I can’t really tell you girls that face similar shit what exactly you can do. Stay strong, stay proud and focus on working hard towards your goals. Recognition and respect will come from worthy people. And those who will never respect you are hopeless anyways.
Quote From RegisKillbin
To get right into it:
I want more creators to get a spotlight in Hearthstone, so I volunteered to withdraw from the upcoming Inn-vitational event, and will be reducing my involvement in future events that have more competitive elements.
Now for the context: I want gaming to be a joyful experience that brings us all together, yet so many in our community use it as a weapon to tear people down and tear people apart. I’ve been appalled by the comments I see from people playing our game. Some seem to think the tavern is only big enough for them, using bigotry and malice to turn people away. I want to help open the tavern doors even wider and encourage more people to come have a drink and play a game of cards.
So this week when all the conversations about representation started, I realized I had already taken too long to act. There are a diverse array of creators working to grow their communities and establish stable careers, and I don’t want to get in their way, especially for events that have prize pools based on performance in the game.
For a while now, I’ve been feeling guilty about being involved in seemingly everything in Hearthstone. When you’re growing your audience and still finding a footing financially as a creator, it feels impossible to turn down opportunities, so of course I welcomed all the cool stuff I got to do at first. I’m super thankful to have had those chances to grow. But after the career side of it begins to stabilize, suddenly it feels like you’re taking opportunities from others when you don’t really need them.
So there are a few reasons I’m giving up my spot:
I want more people to get opportunities and spotlights.
I am not trying to showcase my skills or build my audience off being great at the game. These events are a great springboard for people who are trying to do that.
I am lucky enough to have super supportive viewers and a stable financial situation. Prize pools in these events are enormous and can provide smaller creators with tons of time and resources to reinvest into their content.
I’m not that good at the game and worry I will embarrass myself on the biggest stages. (this is only sort of a joke)
There are some people saying I and others “deserve” to be invited to these events due to our marketing value and audiences we bring. I certainly acknowledge I have one of the larger YouTube viewer counts in our game, and sure, those numbers do probably warrant invitations based on promotional value alone. So perhaps it is understandable, but I’m not sure it is ideal. If we spread the love and get more people involved, won’t that help the game find fresh and bigger audiences? Won’t I benefit if the game grows? In other words, it’s not much of a sacrifice to make if the game and community are better for it.
All of that said, please don't put any pressure on other creators who are not able to do the same, nor send any hate to those taking my place. I'm no hero here, just stupidly lucky enough to have such a supportive community that I can afford to do this, both financially and from a growth and content standpoint. So please don't celebrate this gesture, instead celebrate the creators getting their time.
Thanks much for reading, and I look forward to seeing you in the tavern!
A few follow-up thoughts I couldn't squeeze into a single page.
Originally I just wanted other people to be involved, I can't claim that I had the foresight to think about it as a representation issue. That conversation this week just made me think about it in new ways and kick-started this decision.
I will still do events, but I will aim to limit myself to those that are less competitive and more promotional (tournaments vs theorycrafting, for instance) because that's where I think I best serve the game and my audience.
For how this worked, I made an offer to Blizzard to withdraw last week on April 15th. I didn't want to force their hand, as I had made an agreement to participate. After some discussion on their end, they decided to accept the offer.
I don't want people to celebrate this action. I always get nervous for these events anyway, in some ways it's a relief. Sure there's a financial downside, but I recognize there's also a social upside. This is a case where the right thing and a self-serving thing aligned perfectly.
There may be those who wonder why I'd ever give an advantage to "competition" when I'm running a business. It has crossed my mind. But at the end of the day, I think a rising tide raises all ships. And I welcome the challenge to float.
No one should ever feel like they can't be a part of the community. As a whole, Hearthstone needs to be more inclusive and we need to rid ourselves of the assholes who push people out. It's good to see that change is starting to happen, but this never should have been needed in the first place.
It's a small victory but if Blizzard does as they say and will stay on this track, it'll be a huge positive for the whole community going forward.
If you have nothing nice to say, no one on Out of Cards wants to see it.
Hate speech is subjective. Freedom of speech is absolute.
JUst for your information, Freedom of Speech just protects your legal right to say whatever you want and not be persecuted for it.
If you state your opinions on a private platfor such as this the owners get to decide whether or not they want you doing it. Your freedom of speech is in no way being infringed. They just get to set the terms and conditions.
Please don't use Freedom of speech as a buzzword because the mods banned you for commenting dumb shit. There are real countries in the Western world that have hate speech laws that undermine freedom of speech and you're not helping by complaining about something unrelated
Freedom of speech does not come with freedoms from consequences
Not at all. Can you see any "hate speech" or intolerance here?
Well now that you posted the actual comment that got censored, I see a different picture than I originally painted in my head. Please keep in mind that my comment was fueled by previous experience with defending so-called "free speech" on online forums and I was biased to think the same is happening here.
Inflammatory and poorly thought out comments that I expect to see in these kinds of forums are what I was referring to. I value this community as being better than your average online gaming community, but I still sometimes see toxic comments on this site.
Relying entirely on the community to maintain a productive discussion without any moderation is not always possible, as indicated by the last quoted paragraph. The most extreme measure is shutting down the platform completely. Directing the discussion slightly without it having to be understood as censorship can go a long way.
If it's still unclear, I agree with your original post and your comment should not have been censored.
which is why nobody with a brain uses that pisspool of a site anymore
Well you say that, but when I get a brand new suped up ultra powerful laptop, I like to stress test it with the most demanding tasks possible. So I go to hearthpwn and see how many minutes it takes to load. :P :P
Well, I just got banned from that site, just because of congratulating the censor on his hard work.
I hope I am not banned from here too :(
nah, we don't have that petty censorship here. Unless you post deliberately inflammatory stuff you should be fine.
Also, regarding that zalae post forma few days ago, it's not really censorship as much as people throwing out some really terrible and poorly thought out takes so Flux, being understandably frustrated, decided to shut down the whole thing to prevent the chaos.
It's not really censorship because he didn't remove specific comments for wrong think but rather shutting down the playground because he realised some people weren't mature enough for the discussion.
We're also a private company, not a government, and are more than free to remove whatever content we don't want to see on our platform.
I don't want people to see something, think its okay, and then start acting like that. This is how HearthPwn became a toxic cesspool.
The power play on shutting comments down was done for two reasons:
Now if we were always going to shut down comments on articles that generate a lot of discussion, it would be much less effective so it won't always happen, but for that case, I considered it worthy.
It is a shame that the majority of replies are sexist tropes.
That said, and speaking of the subject at hand: I am in favor of giving visibility to minorities, because otherwise it would lead to think that they do not exist.
However, the so-called "positive discrimination" can be dangerous and can work against what we were trying to achieve.
The fact that gender, race or sexual orientation is considered as a factor over the merits, effort and personal worth is a serious error in my opinion.
Why? Because there is nothing more sexist than choosing someone ONLY because of their gender, or there is nothing more racist than choosing someone ONLY because of their race. That’s discrimination, “positive”, but discrimination nonetheless.
We are all human beings, we must leave out trifles such as sex, race, sexual orientation and other personal characteristics that do not influence at all in, for example, a card game.
I fully understand that Blizzard wants us to believe that this game is for women too, but make no mistake, the vast majority of content creators and professional players of this game are men.
I really wish it were something more egalitarian or there was some clear way to do so, seriously, but forcing women to participate just because they are women without meeting the popularity and merit requirements that have been demanded of the other male participants... it seems to me an outrage.
I am convinced that there must be other ways to encourage and favor the participation of women and other minorities in public events of this caliber, but I honestly believe that "positive discrimination" is not the solution.
Imagine that for future editions it is required that half of the participants be men and the other half women, but that because men are a majority and are more specialized (which is a fact) they far exceed women and leave them in a bad place... is that positive? What should be done? Maybe rig the game so that women can have more opportunities than men and thus win more and balance the scale? I don’t think so.
This isn't going to be a point by point rebuttal of what you wrote, but some things to consider in response to the points you raised assuming they're made in good faith.
I'm in my late 30s, and I'm blessed to be in a position where I hire people now and again. Assuming you do the necessary work to reach a large applicant pool you're going to have way more qualified people applying than positions open. Our culture has a weird obsession with meritocracy, finding the "best," as if such a thing is easily objective let alone real. Odds are several people would do an excellent job in a given position. Filtering out the unqualified is easy. It's deciding between the many deserving applicants that is difficult. And in that process I do think about gender balance and other demographic considerations because I'm in a public-facing department in a very large city. I would be a fool to build my team in a way that appeared to be exclusionary. And if I NEVER hired women or people of color because I was ALWAYS able to find a qualified white man (which I AM) that would clearly be bad, even as I'd very easily be able to hide behind the excuse that they were the "best" applicant for the job. What does best mean? It's undefined, but I'm appealing to the authority of process and meritocracy. But someone who ends up hiring only white men is exercising their judgment and discretion just as much as I am in my example.
All that said, worrying about finding the BEST is even more laughable in this specific context. How many people crap all over Kripp every time he's invited to a constructed event because he's been a Battlegrounds exclusive player for over a year now? I love Kripp and I've been one of those people! @lunaloveee8 and @AvellineHS are extremely good players that have viewership and metrics equal or greater to others invited. But beyond that, this isn't the GM circuit, it's an event specifically designed to promote the game to the broader HS community. This IS a casual game with millions of women players. There are dozens of qualified women to play alongside the men. They have been utter fools to not be inviting more women players and content creators to these kinds of casual events from the very beginning. I can't believe it took community outrage for them to do the right thing.
So I reject the entire framing of "positive discrimination" which are the same tired arguments that have been used against affirmative action for 80 years and probably longer. If you have personal anxiety around whether or not YOU, an individual, will lose out on opportunities because of affirmative action, please know that there is already a line of equally or more qualified people - that look just like you - that you may also lose out on opportunities to. Life is hard, society isn't fair, but how we treat other people, including how we think about them, is key. "Everything worthwhile is done with other people."
I too have concerns regarding positive discrimination in that it by definition seems unable to avoid being unfair to one or more groups.
I'd rather we focus on trying to avoid the need to even consider it by ensuring everyone is treated fairly ideally based on merit and suitability. Make things a level fair playing ground for all and no need to artificially interfere to try to correct unfair bias towards/against groups of people. In truth I have no idea how unfair it is or isn't at the moment - there are people better placed to judge than I.
That said, given this is a promotional event then it seems a nice thing to do for the 2 streamers to give up their spots so long as they were under no pressure to do so. Points to them.
If this was a competitive event that would be different - the best play the best and I would be adverse to calls to interfere without a compelling and valid cause.
Stop justifying the status quo on the basis of merit. Women aren't being forced to play; they aren't being invited to play. Women as competitors and content creators don't get a chance because of these merit based toxic attitudes. They are every bit as talented as their male counterparts, and have to endure far more toxic BS. If they don't see others like them competing in these spaces they won't play the game, they won't create content, they won't do any number of other things adding to the game that we all enjoy.
Gaming as a whole is mired in a pervasive sexist culture. Our world is mired in a pervasive sexist culture.
Remember, this is an invitational. The people in it didn’t win their place through pure skill. Blizzard chose them as part of a strategy to grow and guide the community. Those choices have unconsciously favored white men for years, and the cumulative effect is that people like Regis make a successful career while equally deserving women have not. The best way to address this is to make a point of giving women the chances that they previously missed.
Honestly, I think a lot of this inequality is due to their Community Manager and I fault him for this. This mini-explosion has been years in the making if you ask me.
I wholeheartedly support this and would like to nudge everyone to read Jia's analytic take on the topic if you already haven't. I wish Blizzard would take a more proactive approach rather than a reactive one and actively work towards creating a more inclusive environment. This is a glimpse of a change starting to happen, but they need to and have the power to do much more.