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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.