Nontroversial: Blizzard and the Disappearing Half Million

Now I’m mad at Blizzard just as much as the next guy, which is why this article is going to hurt me more than it does the people who I am about to point out.

Today is October 31, 2019 of the year of Arnold, and that can only mean one thing; it’s time for the internet to do what the internet does best and that’s to deliberately misconstrue a statement in order to justify being outraged at something that the collective net already does not like and has no interest in viewing criticism of with any sort of rationality or objectivity.

Blizzard! They’ve done some crappy stuff lately. Today marks the start of Blizzcon with Overwatch World Cup preliminaries today and the festival really kicking off tomorrow and running through Sunday. One of the highlights of the event are two World of Warcraft tournaments called the MDI and AWC, the Mything Dungeon International and Arena World Championship respectively. Today’s nontroversy surrounds outrage about the wording of the prize pool, specifically that people are coming out and claiming that Blizzard used deceptive tactics to withdraw $500 grand in promised prize money.

In the run up to Blizzcon, Blizzard sold items for World of Warcraft with the following language:

“For a limited time, every purchase of the Transmorpher Beacon or Lion’s Pride and Horde’s Might Fireworks, 25% of the proceeds will contribute toward the year’s finals LAN event prize pool for the Arena World Championship (AWC) and the Mythic Dungeon International (MDI) with a guaranteed minimum prize pool of $500,000 USD ($250,000 USD for each event.) Your support will help take the WoW esports prize pool to the next level.”

The wording is pretty clear; 25% will go toward the prize pool with Blizzard guaranteeing a minimum prize pool of $500k if the collective sales don’t meet that amount. But this is the internet, where outrage is king. Cue Cloud9’s Adam Chan claiming that Blizzard pulled their “base contribution” of $500k.

“Blizzard did not contribute a single cent to the AWC & MDI prize pools this year. They pulled their own ‘base’ contribution of 500k when they realised how well the crowd funding did ($2.64m USD).”

Youtuber and outrage merchant Bellular News, speaking on behalf of the WoW community, claimed that audience expectations looking at practices of companies not-Blizzard would interpret the wording as Blizzard contributing a base $500k and then the amount from the toy sales being added on top of that. He refers to the wording as “ambiguous,” which it isn’t, and he says that it is technically the case, but morally isn’t, which doesn’t make any sense.

He goes on to state that the practice is not industry standard, which it may not be. That doesn’t change the fact that the wording is very clear; The minimum prize pool will be $500k, it does not even imply that Blizzard is putting forward a base of $500k. But when you’re an outrage merchant, you gotta ramp up that hyperbole. He goes on to make numerous nonsense statements like “it goes against the spirit of such a system” which doesn’t mean anything, and how flabbergasted he is and how disrespectful the whole ordeal is to the community! Rabble rabble rabble!

I’ll be frank: There’s no fancy wording at play here, if anything Blizzard is speaking at probably a fourth grade level. Even MMO Fallout’s muse Massively has joined in to take Blizzard to task over “false pretenses.”

Right; here’s two things. Blizzard didn’t withdraw anything, let alone in a stealthy way, and there were no false pretenses. Nothing was ever stated or implied that Blizzard would put forward $500k and the money from those toy sales would be icing on the cake. It simply didn’t happen. It’s also being trumped up by players who have a financial incentive to gin up a faux outrage campaign to shame Blizzard into increasing the prize pool as well as Youtubers whose channels traffic in outrage.

It’s very plain language.

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