A Letter From A Chinese Overwatch Player to Blizzard

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I am here to write about the problem of getting the visas for our Chinese team in the Overwatch Worldcup 2017.

To begin with, I am really thankful to Blizzard for bringing us this unique game, Overwatch. In the mainland of China, it has a playerbase of over 5 million players, who can travel all over the world, including America, in this game.

But in the reality, it is totally different: only 2 of the 6 members of our Chinese team, which participates in the Overwatch Worldcup 2017, got the visa to America. The other 4 players - 5King, a superior Lucio player, Undead, the commander of the team and also a great Tracer player, a top Zenyatta player Shy and a great D.Va player MG all failed in getting the American visa. They will be replaced by the substitutes. The coaches of our Chinese team even said that, the worst situation is that they will have to go to play in the competition themselves. How funny is that!

Of course, I am not dissatisfied with the substitutes or anything else. But as a huge fan of Overwatch, I, along with other Overwatch players, couldn’t help questioning about the reasons within: Why did the same issue happen over and over again?

You probably don’t know that, everytime the Chinese players participate in a world-class e-sports competition, there will be a barrier between our players and the competition, that is the American visa.

I don’t know much about the American laws on visa, but I know it is really strict. From the perspective of a country, it is reasonable to exercise the strict controll over the visa, but on the e-sports players’ point of view, it is also reasonable to let those who have good causes in. After all, e-sports is also one of the sporting events.

If we look back into the past, we could see a lot of the same things have already happened.

In 2006, the team WE was absent from the WarCraft 3 League season 10 offline finals;

In 2007, a WOW rookie Lyc and an experienced StarCraft player F91 were not able to attend the WCG World Championship;

In2008, a well-prepared player fly100% couldn’t go to the NGO one offline finals in America;

In 2011, all Chinese players of the BlizzCon were absent and Feijizai was not able to attend the Evolution Championship Series;

In 2016, Xuanyue from team LGD and yang from team VG.R couldn’t make it to the final competition of TI6, which results in an incomplete line-up and an early elimination.

Those things above happened only because of one problem: they didn’t get the American visa.

What I want to know is that, if this kind of thing happens, is there anything the Blizzard could do?

I believe the answer is yes.

In 2006, the team wNv successfully went to America to attend WSVG, except for the support from the medias and the financial support, the most vital reason is that they got the assurance of Intel and Aigo. After having established a strategic cooperative partnership with Microsoft, this time wNv even got the assurance of Microsoft, Intel, Aigo, Kappa and Samsung. With these powerful supports from these 5 companies, wNv successfully got the American Visa.

As players, we really hope to see a team, which is in a perfect condition with the best coorperation of the teammates, on behalf of our own country to participate in the competition. As contestants, they surely hope to have an opportunity to stand on a world-class stage to show themselves and their countries’ e-sports strength to the whole world.

I want to express my gratitde to all the workers from Blizzard China and the coaches of our Chinese team for all the efforts they made to get the players the visas. Unfortunately, it didn’t end well.

Although in the game sever, it is hard for us Chinese Overwatch players to meet the players from other countries, we are still eager to show ourselves in a perfect condition and looking forward to a brilliant competition. After all, with the number of 5 million, we are also a big part of those who truely love Overwatch.

So here I am, as one of those players, asking the Blizzard for help. If possible, please offer some help to Blizzard China, the coorperative partner of OWWC and the players of Chinese national team. Please return to us the whole Chinese national team.

Of course, if it is hard to offer more help due to the short of time, I wish everyone, starting from Blizzard, could pay more attention to the players' visa issues. Don't let the problem of visa become a barrier on those talented ones' way of achieving their e-sports dreams.

Faithfully yours,
Chinese Overwatch player Silen Chan
Good post.
Wow, big shame for the world cup if we don't see the same Chinese team at Blizzcon that we did in earlier rounds. Good luck.
I'm guessing this is more of an issue that needs to be raised with the US State Dept. rather than Blizzard though.
10/26/2017 06:42 AMPosted by Simian1975
I'm guessing this is more of an issue that needs to be raised with the US State Dept. rather than Blizzard though.

lol.thanks my friend.But what I mean is that, I hope that Blizzard could do something such as offering some help, after all, Blizzard is the host of OWWC.
Bump
Perhaps offer the President free trips to golf clubs in your country. He might allow you an easier time coming into the states.
That's a shame, especially since you'll be facing the Rogue 6 stack, aka France with 4 subs than the Chinese team that had made it and earned itself at Blizzcon.
10/26/2017 08:14 AMPosted by Knuckles
Perhaps offer the President free trips to golf clubs in your country. He might allow you an easier time coming into the states.


You can probably reach him on twitter in fact. Just say you want to book a Trump hotel during your stay and everything will probably clear right up.

As for OP sorry to hear it Silen. Any idea why some of your party got visas but not others?
10/26/2017 06:58 AMPosted by STARBUCKS
10/26/2017 06:42 AMPosted by Simian1975
I'm guessing this is more of an issue that needs to be raised with the US State Dept. rather than Blizzard though.

lol.thanks my friend.But what I mean is that, I hope that Blizzard could do something such as offering some help, after all, Blizzard is the host of OWWC.


I'm fairly certain that the folks at Blizzard are doing what they can. However, there is a limit to what they can do in terms of convincing the US Government to issue visas to foreigners, particularly if the individual fails to meet some of the more stringent and serious visa requirements (ie, has a criminal record, is considered a national security risk, has previous visa violations, etc).

It is a shame... but there are limits on what Blizzard can do as a company in these sorts of situations.
10/26/2017 08:19 AMPosted by GhengisJohn
You can probably reach him on twitter in fact


You know that this is not a bad idea at all? If lot's of players sign to a # with this issue and mark trump twitter, we may reach his press office.
10/26/2017 08:25 AMPosted by Sidratha
10/26/2017 06:58 AMPosted by STARBUCKS
...
lol.thanks my friend.But what I mean is that, I hope that Blizzard could do something such as offering some help, after all, Blizzard is the host of OWWC.


I'm fairly certain that the folks at Blizzard are doing what they can. However, there is a limit to what they can do in terms of convincing the US Government to issue visas to foreigners, particularly if the individual fails to meet some of the more stringent and serious visa requirements (ie, has a criminal record, is considered a national security risk, has previous visa violations, etc).

It is a shame... but there are limits on what Blizzard can do as a company in these sorts of situations.


There are several companies that can be hired by corporations to assist with VISA process - my company hired one of these companies and they handled all of the VISA work for me, dealing with the governments, etc.

It costs a lot to hire these companies, but typically for a corporation it's worth it to hire the help.
10/26/2017 06:42 AMPosted by Simian1975
I'm guessing this is more of an issue that needs to be raised with the US State Dept. rather than Blizzard though.


Didn't they add esports into the "sports visa" category because of how big league of legends got?
Maybe Blizzard could lobby an appretiate department so they understand what OW and the world championship is.
10/26/2017 08:47 AMPosted by CoolMercy
There are several companies that can be hired by corporations to assist with VISA process - my company hired one of these companies and they handled all of the VISA work for me, dealing with the governments, etc.

It costs a lot to hire these companies, but typically for a corporation it's worth it to hire the help.


Hiring a company to handle the visa process isn't going to change things if the reasons for a visa being refused are serious enough. For example, if the US government deems someone as being a national security risk, there is going to be extremely little anyone can do about getting that person a visa.

I'm not saying that's the case here, but I'm pointing to an example in which no amount of lobbying the government is going to change their decision to deny that person a visa.

Ultimately, we need to know the reasons for why the US State Department refused to issue these visas before any course of action regarding how to lobby for an appeal can be undertaken.
Hey guys, my purpose is just raising the game developers' and coorperative partners' awareness of the visa problems for e-sports. Of course, there's nothing we can do about government's decisions.

But we all can do something for the games or e-sports we love, right?
This is really disappointing to read. China was actually one of the teams I looked forward to seeing as they played so well. A real shame to see this happen. So much for global esport.
Not the only time this has happened:

https://dotesports.com/general/white-house-free-leffen-petition-response-3523

And that was during a more civilized administration.
Bump
This is an Issue for Heroes of the Storm as well and if Blizzard want their teams to be treated like professional players they need to strive to make an effort to ensure they are respected as such by society. If they can not support their ESport players, how can they expect their fans too.

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