How Stream Sniping Trolls Caused This Expert ‘PUBG’ Player to Lash Out
MrGrimmmz is used to dealing with people trying to ruin his streams. But when two players wouldn't leave him alone, it crossed a line.
Image courtesy of Bluehole
Stream sniping, the act of watching a stream to determine where someone is during a game and using that knowledge to kill them, is not a new phenomenon. Nor is the art of trolling, where people use the same information to annoy, rather than murder. But stream sniping has become particular en vogue with the rise of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, the Battle Royale-style shooter that's sold eight million copies since it hit Early Access past March, and recently caused popular Battlegrounds streamer MrGrimmmz to hit the panic button and regret it.
MrGrimmmz is usually known for his ability to sweep through a Battlegrounds match with ease, but in recent days, he's been criticized for being a spoilsport because he deployed copyright takedowns on YouTube for videos highlighting attempts by two people to troll him. When hit with a takedown, the video can no longer be monetized and can put a channel in jeopardy for deletion. More to the point, the argument went, it seemed MrGrimmmz was being a little too sensitive for someone who spends most hours of the day streaming games to the public.
The trolls were being pretty funny, if I'm being honest. Not long ago, Battlegrounds added a new feature to some of the vehicles in the game: honking. It doesn't have any real strategic purpose, outside of alerting your squadmates you're ready to move or a psychological tactic, but these trolls found another purpose. If you surround a player with honking vehicles, it prevents them from hearing anything.
Dubbed Stream Honking, the trolls' primary targets were MrGrimmmz and Dr Disrespect, another high-profile Battlegrounds player, who was temporarily banned from the game after killing one of his teammates. Though Dr Disrespect took the honk attacks in stride—dealing with stream sniping is an everyday reality of making your gameplay public—MrGrimmmz did not, constantly griping about how it was ruining the matches they were playing. (In the video, the trolls make no attempt to try and kill the streamers they're sniping. They don't fight back.)
And while it's humorous to watch the trolls get under everyone's skin with such a bizarre tactic, it's easy to understand why the streamers would be annoyed. For many, this is a part or full-time job, and stream sniping is disruptive. It's one thing to laugh at an 11-minute video, it's far less enjoyable during a several-hour stream.
Targeting the video with a YouTube takedown, however, proved too far for some fans, as it piggybacked on a heavily shared clip where MrGrimmmz claimed he's "gotten a lot of stream snipers completely banned from this game. [...] You wanna know what happened to those stream snipers? They said the exact same fucking thing: I'm innocent. I'm innocent."
Bluehole, the developers behind Battlegrounds, have been especially hands-on when it comes to banning folks from the game, especially compared to other online games. At the moment, the only way to have someone banned is with video proof, so it's not shocking a streamer ends up providing all sorts of evidence for the developers to check whether cheating is occurring. In Battlegrounds, stream sniping is considered a bannable offense. It's just hard to prove.
"The guy is a streamer, and intentionally puts himself into the limelight," said one reddit user. "It doesn't give you a right to go around and get people banned because you think they may be stream sniping. That's BS. In doing so, he's put a giant target on his back. Now people are going out of their way to stream snipe him and do things like this, and tbh, he deserves it."
This tension between the Battlegrounds community (especially its drama-focused subreddit) hit a breaking point in the last 24 hours, when notable YouTube personality Ethan Klein called MrGrimmmz out on Twitter for using YouTube takedowns to suppress a video. (Klein is specially sensitive to this, given his recently successful legal battle to protect one of his own videos.) In response, MrGrimmmz said the video "wasn't lighthearted, and it wasn't false. Please don't believe what folks are saying man." Klein has since deleted the tweet.
As the scrutiny mounted, MrGrimmz decided to reverse course and apologize, removing the YouTube claim and apologizing for causing "so much stress on everyone." He also wrote a long post explaining his actions.
MrGrimmmz denied he has any special access to the creators of the game, and that every claim he makes about stream sniping is backed up by Bluehole's own investigation. Adding fuel to the fire are a number of high-profile cases where Bluehole has banned someone for an offense, including stream sniping, and the community vehemently disagreed with Bluehole's findings.
"As days went on, I found myself (and with my friend) followed by players that would follow our every location with a car constantly honking," he said. "It's one of the loudest noises in the game and extremely hard to ignore due to the fact it flushes out every sound. Every single game we would encounter these guys and I did exactly what I practiced in the past. Ignored it, or at least, TRIED to ignore it. I noticed my community becoming extremely flustered and as much as I wanted to react, I knew it would only harm the overall vibes."
It's possible to put your stream on a delay, to try and prevent people from keeping up with your location, but distance between a stream and the people watching prevents you from interacting with the community chat, which MrGrimmmz considers vital. (He also argues the length of Battlegrounds games means delays wouldn't stop everyone. He's probably right.)
The breaking point, according to him, was when the trolls started following him beyond Battlegrounds, and sending provocative donation messages.
"I snapped," he said. "At that point I was at the peak of my frustration and I didn't know what else to do but to hurt them back. Hurt the people that decided it was okay to try to fuck with me on a daily basis, to try to take something away from THEM as they took away from of my good vibes from me and my chat. My judgement was clouded and it was just a warpath at that point."
That's why, in his words, the YouTube takedown notice was issued. He's now sorry.
"I apologize to anyone and everyone that may felt offended, including the video owners," he said. "It's an example i would never want anyone to follow, viewer, aspiring streamer, ANY one. I'm against this sort of behavior and i don't have an excuse for it. It was plain wrong and i can understand if it changed your view about me."
MrGrimmz is back to playing Battlegrounds, the drama gone. For now.