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Is Dispelling Buffs a Bannable Offense? GM Watching Stream Bans Enemy Player
17.07.2020 um 20:34
Dispelling enemy players is a common tactic in World PvP, but when does it cross the line between PvP and griefing? In Classic WoW, buffs are everything - particularly those hard to replace world buffs such as
Schlachtruf der Drachentöter
. In today's story, we've got a curious case of a player being banned after dispelling a streamer who just so happened to have a Blizzard Game Master watching.
now deleted twitch vod
realizes he's been dispelled as his character is loading into Blackwing Lair. While tabbed over to his Alliance character, he reaches out to a viewer with the twitch name Lordviho, ostensibly a Blizzard GM, asking if he "wants to ban someone" and further poses "is stream sniping to dispel buffs considered griefing?", to which Lordviho replies yes and asks for the character name.
The twitch vod appears to be available once again
What follows is a back and forth between Arlaeus and his twitch chat, as various opinions are voiced as to whether this is considered a bannable offense, with many of his viewers disagreeing with the streamer as Arlaeus goes on to complain about underhanded tactics and offers assumptions as to why he was dispelled - that he was specifically target, the victim of a macro, and that the player was stream sniping (watching his stream in order to gain an advantage) in order to dispel while Arlaeus' character was stuck in a loading screen.
It should be bannable if he's watching my stream and specifically targeting me because I'm a streamer. He spends about 50% of his week sitting in one place dispelling people. I think the difference guys, is that it's greifing when you target a specific individual, like they're listening when I was getting summoned and then immediately dispelled me, because it was mid summon, I lost two buffs while my body was rendering.
Lordviho, who can be seen with the flair of both a Twitch channel Subscriber and "VIP" responds, siding with Arlaeus' explanation of events:
While LordViho doesn't comment any further, what appears to be the offending player himself later appears in twitch chat under the name Sanitclassic.
Arlaeus has since put up an
on his youtube channel. Although he states in the video that the twitch vod would not be removed, it does appear to have been taken down (though
here's a link
, in case it becomes visible again later).
Update from Footgodx
Footgodx, the Priest player who dispelled Arlaeus, has posted to Reddit confirming that he was initially banned, although that ban was quickly overturned and he was awarded a small amount of compensation for his troubles. That said, he appears to have received a separate 7 day suspension for abusive language.
While nothing more was said on Twitch, the story quickly spread around
, eliciting a response from
Community Manager Kaivax
We take reports like this very seriously.
Early this morning, we opened an internal investigation into the matter. While investigating, we overturned the suspension and reached out to the suspended player.
To everyone who brought it to our attention: thank you very much!
While the bluepost does confirm that the player was initially banned (and then overturned), it's important to note that Kaivax did not comment on whether or not what happened is actually considered a bannable offense. He simply states that the ban has been overturned
while the investigation takes place
. Therefore, there are a few different angles to this.
A Question of Impropriety
At the forefront, the main question would be whether the GM acted inappropriately. Responding to an open ticket and deciding on a course of action is one thing, but that isn't what happened here.
GMs are human beings just like you and I. A lot of them play the game, and they have favored streamers, hobbies, interests, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Being a GM also isn't a clandestine affair, there's no onus to avoid letting people find out that you are one, although it's probably recommended that they don't, precisely for these reasons. This wasn't even a matter of him seeing a problem and saying "I'm a GM, I can help", it was the streamer specifically asking a viewer who they appear to have a personal relationship with, saying "Hey, LordViho, do you want to ban someone?". Regardless of whether or not the GM was correct in assigning a ban for the offence, this alone raises the concerns of impropriety.
Griefing, Stream Sniping, or Unfortunate Coincidence
Of course, there's also the question of whether this was actually a bannable offense. Many games do consider stream sniping and specifically harassing streamers to be ban worthy, even if the actions taking place in game themselves would not normally be actionable offenses. This is what Arlaeus claims, and
based on that information
, LordViho may very well have been correct in that the player specifically targeting him was an actionable offense.
However, there are a few problems with that line of reasoning; most importantly, how Arlaeus would have any way of knowing whether he was being specifically targeted or simply unlucky.
He claims the player was using a macro to target and dispel him immediately after rezzing, but from his perspective, there's no way of actually knowing that. He's not being chased through an empty zone by a mob of Priests, he's zoning into a current raid in a highly trafficked area which is prime for this type of behavior.
He didn't actually see who dispelled him, relying on his chat to name the offender. While we know that GMs have the tools to figure out who cast the dispel, the fact that Lordviho asked Arlaeus for the name, who then relied on the chat to name him smacks of mob justice rather than using the tools at a GM's disposal and following proper procedure.
Arlaeus further claimed that the player was watching his stream in order to do so (aka Stream Sniping), but he had no way of knowing that either. While the player did reveal themselves in twitch chat well after LordViho's intervention, he claimed to have joined the stream
the dispel (presumably upon realizing who he had dispelled), and that he was not targeting anyone in particular.
Further, is the question of whether idly dispelling enemy players is considered griefing in the first place. Unfortunately that's one only Blizzard can answer, and while one might argue that dispelling people just to screw with them is griefing, there's a long history and quite a bit of evidence of players doing exactly that. It would be reasonable to assume that if it were a bannable offense, we'd have seen a lot more bans because of it. Many players consider it one of their favored pastimes, making humorous highlight videos in support of their craft.
On the surface, this would appear to be a fairly straightforward case of a GM getting a little too close to their favored streamer, that streamer getting overly upset, and asking their friend for help, but the full story contains a surprising amount of nuance. It's easy to call foul play, that the streamer leveraged his friendship with a GM to punish a player who wronged him, but this why perspective matters - whether misguided or not, from the streamer's perspective, he may very well have thought he was being specifically attacked, stream sniped, or otherwise taken advantage of, and from the GM's perspective, he may have believed this interpretation of events. On the other hand, it's just as reasonable to presume that it was mere coincidence, that the player was dispelling whoever he could catch, and it just happened to be a streamer that a GM happened to enjoy watching. Either way, this is precisely why there are procedures for GMs and simply acting on the word of even a trusted friend can be so dangerous. While we don't, and likely never will, know the results of Blizzard's investigation, it's very possible that it could end with the loss of a job, if they determine that the GM acted unfairly, whether the ban was strictly appropriate or not.
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