“Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft” is one of the bigger upcoming Blizzard Entertainment games. The free-to-play trading card strategy/battle game is in closed beta, with very few spots being given to fans every week. That’s why it came as a point of excitement when PC Gamer announced they would be giving out 350 beta keys earlier today at 3PM UK time.
Unfortunately, it appears as though the “grab a key” button did not appear for the majority of visitors at the time of launch due to an excessive load trying to get their hands on a key. What happened was some visitors were able to access a Google cache of the page and grab an access key to Hearthstone that way. What resulted was all 350 keys taken before the beta key button even showed up on the regular page. They were probably tipped off by this post and the email sent by this Redditor.
That is the official story from PC Gamer, one that is a grave misfortune. They should have better prepared against this, as they are a Top 5,000 website. It is their responsibility to make sure that there are no exploits in their system that allow things like this to occur. The fans of Hearthstone themselves have a different, more volatile take to the whole ordeal. And their hate is not just aimed at PC Gamer for their failings.
The Hearthstone subreddit is the biggest offender in this regard. While it is understandable that people will be angry over the fact they didn’t get their beta keys – something that is completely understandable – it is the words and reasoning that they use in order to justify and show their anger. Reminder: some of the following quotes came after the keys were all given out and before the official PC Gamer explanation.
RodianPRO says, “No evidence they were taken by bots? Why do I see a bunch of keys being posted just within the past 2 hours on ebay and other WTS sites.” (This user doesn’t seem to understand that capitalism is a cruel mistress that benefits from those willing to spend hundreds on a beta key)
haro12345 says, “I just get the feeling we were all scammed and PCgamer seems to have no intention of replying any requests to provide proof that there was a giveaway at all.” (Ahh, the old “conspiracy for pageviews” dodge)
It’s not just the subreddit. This Steffan has taken to Facebook to get Blizzard Customer Service to, “Remove PC Gamer from [their] supported sites.” This Steve on Twitter went one step further, telling the PC Gamer Twitter account, “Fire your entire website staff. They can get their jobs back if they can click the button on the #hearthstone giveaway page.” That’s right, these Hearthstone fans are demanding a partnership cancellation and the entire PC Gamer writing team to be fired because they weren’t able to obtain access to a free beta for a video game.
The worst to come out of the Hearthstone hate is from Redditor Griddlez and it is downright despicable. The image below is for posterity.
I can understand that somebody wronged you, Hearthstone fans. I can understand swearing, irrational thinking and demands that everyone on PC Gamer (including the majority of the staff that weren’t involved in the giveaway) to be fired. But when you compare the system insecurities allowing the exploit of beta keys to the deaths of almost 3,000 innocent lives in the biggest terrorist attacks the world has ever seen? You might want to step back from the keyboard and reflect about what you meant to convey and try better next time.
It’s not all that bad. I invite you to look through the entirety of the major threads here, here and here. PC Gamer certainly was in the wrong and should better prepare themselves for their next batch of Hearthstone beta key giveaways next week. The fan reaction, however, may have been even worse.