Blizzard’s first ever Wild Hearthstone tournament has run afoul of visa issues, with players invited from China having trouble securing a visa to travel to the Californian-based finals.
The problems with the Hearthstone Wild Open finals have been picked up by Dot Esports, who have discovered that although Shenhaiyuyi and SHRoyalBaize won the eight-player qualifier bracket to claim two places in the finals, which have a prize pool of $25,000. However, the pair were denied visas, and a scramble followed to find replacements.
However, attempts to invite several other players heading down the rankings left Blizzard stuck as each person approached by Blizzard were denied visas. If only one Chinese player can attend it leaves Blizzard in an unusual quandry: letting a player compete remotely from China would be unheard of in a big esports tournament. Similarly, replacing them with a player from one of the other regions would be devaluing China’s contribution to the event.
A potential third option could be leaving the place empty, granting anyone playing against them before they’re knocked out a free win. However, this in itself isn’t entirely free of accusations of impropriety, and as a result Blizzard will need to choose the next steps for their tournament very carefully.