For most MMOs, streamers are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they promote the game, but on the other hand, they are sometimes not very popular with players. This is less due to the actions of the streamer themselves, but more due to the impact they can have on a server and the community. That’s why the big streamers in WoW have to deal with “stream sniping” all the time. Players organize themselves and purposefully mind heal the streamers in order to diminish their gaming experience and maybe even get them to leave their own server.
While he didn’t reveal whether that was also the reasoning behind reddit user Outrageous_Ad4139 and his small guild, he did say that they specifically knocked out a streamer on the BC Classic server Venoxis – a “well known guy on our realm that we immediately killed”. As a result, the user wrote, both he and his entire guild (consisting of ten players) received an 81-day ban.
No sympathy from the community
If the post about the ban, which was of course completely unjustified from his point of view, was meant to arouse pity, the supposed stream sniper had made false hopes. The vast majority of the remaining users agreed more or less unreservedly with Blizzard and the suspensions. Of course, it helped that you can see a user’s earlier posts on reddit – and they quickly clarified that it wasn’t the first “not entirely clean action” of the player in question. One could read there about toxic, ironic comments and several bans. The actual texts were deleted – but the comments underneath show that at least parts of the community were already not necessarily on the side of the player in question: “Stop being a toxic dick and you won’t get banned.”
Stream sniping – yes, no, depends?
Outrageous_Ad4139, however, continues to claim to be in the right despite the many accusatory voices and even posted an old screenshot in which a GM clarified that stream sniping does not violate the ToS. On the other hand, he also posted a picture of his conversation with a GM who clearly revealed that he received his ban for this very reason. So what is right now?
Of course, we are not experts in ToS interpretation and can give you a perfect answer. Assuming both screenshots are real (which you can’t necessarily assume with Reddit posts), there could well be quite a bit of time in between. Let’s remember that only recently all retail players had to confirm a “social contract” when logging in. In this contract, they have, to put it bluntly, committed themselves to playing friendly and fairly. In good German: Don’t be an ass! This speaks to the fact that Blizzard sees such things much more narrowly today than they did a few years ago. Because not only is toxicity becoming more of a problem, streamers are also becoming more important to games. In addition, the history of the player in question doesn’t necessarily speak for sending the streamer to the spiritual healer just once in passing. It wouldn’t be going too far out on a limb to assume that the action was more reminiscent of ganking. But that remains unproven, of course.
My opinion: If ten players go marauding through Outland and meet a “very well-known player and kill him immediately”, then that has little to do with open-world PvP in principle in my eyes. But so be it. If someone is banned for that, it would really be a bit of a cannon on a sparrow. From my own experience with the one or other ban, I would claim that such a reaction is rather unlikely. But if I mix that with comments like “Its a PvP server, there is no harrasment. […] everything that is Horde vs Alliance is fine”, then I suspect a much more aggressive approach here. And even if something like that isn’t banned in black and white down to the smallest detail in any EULAs or ToS, Blizzard has probably made it very clear more than once that they don’t want to have anything like that on their servers anymore.
What do you think about such actions? Let’s assume that everything that is said is true. Do you think that banning penalties for targeted stream sniping (however you want to find out) are justified? Or should it not matter if the “victim” is a famous streamer or not? And what about ganking, should something like that be punished on a PvP server as well? Write us in the comments!
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