Hearthstone trophy continues esports tradition of falling apart on air
All that glitters isn’t gold, or assembled with care, or worth much at all, if esports trophies are anything to go on. During this weekend’s Hearthstone Championship tournament, we lost another symbolic soldier during Canadian player Eddie “Eddit” Lui’s moment of triumph over Hong Kong’s Lo “kin0531” Tsz Kin.
Crowned the Bucharest Master Tour Champion, Eddie moved to raise his new trophy aloft, only for the top of it to fall to the floor. He’s a good sport about the ordeal, laughing off the mishap, but it certainly isn’t the kind of display a company under close scrutiny for its handling of Hearthstone Grandmaster Blitzchung, who was suspended and had his winnings rescinded after calling for Hong Kong’s liberation in a post-game interview, is looking for. Even if that punishment was significantly softened, this mishap is an opportune visual metaphor for those upset with Blizzard. Not quite a PR disaster, but another deep sigh to add to the pile.
Speaking to Kotaku, Blizzard PR coordinator Eric Elliott said the trophy didn’t exactly break, the top just wasn’t attached tightly enough. It’s designed to come apart to accommodate smaller suitcases during international travel. If a trophy were to truly break, Elliott reassured Kotaku Blizzard would fix it for the winners.
It’s probably a lesson learned from earlier this year, when South Korean Overwatch team RunAway won the Overwatch Contenders competition and immediately snapped the handle off their big silver prize as they moved to hold it up.
Blizzard’s two fumbled trophy ceremonies will probably ensure a return to large metal goblets and expensive shipping costs, and probably for the better. But it’s not the only offender in the shitty trophy phenomenon.
This one isn’t technically esports, but it’s a card game: Watch runner-up for the Junior Pokemon TCG finals Issac Tercira’s heart break in perfect unison with his tiny plastic Pikachu trophy. Watch his spirit dissolve as everyone tries to laugh it off as he’s shuffled on stage.
Just last year, Team Dignitas’ NARLI 2 Rocket League trophy snapped apart on stage. $50,000 in prize money and a bag of broken plastic. Cool!
2018’s GameForce Masters CS:GO tourney fell victim to the garbage keepsake curse, with whatever that is coming apart as soon as the winners grabbed it.
There’s seemingly a strong heritage of cheap plastic in esports. Two years ago, Kotaku, the outlet on the busted trophy beat, assembled a collage of inadvertently disassembled fighting game trophies. These things: They suck!
It’s a shame, because I’m still rolling with old track and field trophies from high school that have survived the unknowable whims of my parents’ storage tendencies. From box to box to display and back into the box, crushed beneath stacked photo albums and VHS tapes, my old awards for throwing a metal ball into a sandpit are still standing strong.
The least these massive videogame corporations can do is drop a couple more bucks on something solid. These trophies should be on display, not in pieces at the bottom of the ocean, even if that’s where everything will end up anyway. Oh well. Bets on the next one to break?