Hearthstone players cry foul over card artwork changes


Some Hearthstone players are accusing Blizzard of censorship after the game’s latest update, which changed the artwork on a number of older cards. Although the update’s focus was on doing a bit of tidying up in preparation for the upcoming Saviors of Uldum expansion, which included moving two cards to the Hall of Fame and replacing them with two new ones, the community seems to have latched onto the fact that Blizzard has given eight cards new artwork — and in some cases, new names to match — that tones down some of the more sexual and violent imagery.

The Eviscerate card, for example, has been altered to remove the (admittedly small) spray of blood from the victim of the titular ability, while the Succubus card, which previously depicted the Warlock’s scantily clad sex-demon, now depicts a different demon, the Felstalker, and has had its name changed to match. When reached for response by Kotaku, a Blizzard representative stated that the changes were made not in the name of censorship per se but in an attempt to update the old cards — some of which used artwork lifted directly from the now-discontinued World of Warcraft Trading Card Game — to be “more visually cohesive and consistent with the art style of Hearthstone today.”

It’s not an unbelievable explanation, but some players suspect that there’s a less savory reason for the changes: that Blizzard is trying to tailor the game’s artwork to conform to the Chinese government’s content regulations. Regardless of whether that’s true, it’s also arguable that simply removing blood from a card’s current art doesn’t constitute much of a stylistic update, but it’s still not too farfetched to think that Blizzard simply wants to make the game more “family-friendly” to reach as many players as possible without alienating the younger crowd — or their parents. Whether that’s censorship, I suppose, is up for debate.

Source: Kotaku. Thanks, Pepperzine!
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