Image: Forsen.

People. People everywhere. Screams like nothing you’ve ever heard, as though ripped from the endless throat of some Eldritch Leviathan. Unsolicited K-pop beats from the dankest corners of the Internet. There’s stream sniping, and then there’s whatever the hell Forsen endures on a daily basis playing PUBG.

Forsen is a moderately popular streamer who became a name during his Hearthstone days. Like many others, he recently took up PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. He’s a good but not outstanding player who’s had decent success in competition. At first glance, though, there’s nothing overly noteworthy about his stream. It’s his approach to dealing with trolls that’s set him apart in recent weeks.

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While Forsen doesn’t have the audience of massively popular streamers like Grimmmz or Dr Disrespect, he manages to pull more stream snipers—people who watch his stream, figure out where he is, and join the game to attack or annoy him—than just about anybody else playing PUBG right now. Look at this:

These sorts of zombie-like mobs, believe it or not, are par for the course on Forsen’s channel. I’ve watched him stream for a few hours, and more often than not, tens of players mob him pretty much as soon as he parachutes into a game. Then comes the cacophony of eardrum-impaling screeches and wails, weaponized memes, and hyperactive music.

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Why does this happen to Forsen in particular, though? Many players speculate that it’s because he invites it—maybe even relishes it. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but evidence suggests he’s not exactly trying to deter stream snipers. He doesn’t usually report obvious stream snipers, nor does he mute them, despite the fact he could make all the horrific noise go away with the press of a button. He uses no stream overlay or graphics that might help disguise his location. He’s also published multiple YouTube clips of stream sniper shenanigans, and most crucially, his audience eats this stuff up.

During a recent stream I watched, the usual band of organized stream snipers was conspicuously absent for one match, and Forsen’s Twitch chat—which reads a lot like how his stream snipers sound—was practically in mourning. The 4,000 or so fans watching were certain the stream snipers had gotten banned, and many threatened to leave. When the stream snipers returned in the next match, chat erupted with glee and memes.

While I doubt this is true for all of Forsen’s viewers, it’s clear that for many of them, stream snipers are a major part of the appeal. On Forsen’s subreddit (warning: NSFW due to slurs and insanity), some have even gone so far as to say that stream snipers “saved” his stream, others have put together guides to help more people stream snipe, and others still seek to join notorious stream sniper groups like the questionably named/themed (but also extremely telling) Ugandan Special Forces. And so, his viewers feed his stream snipers who feed his viewers and so on, forever and forever, until everybody dies.

On a few occasions, Forsen tried to deter stream snipers by doing things like flipping his stream upside-down, though those efforts seemed halfhearted at best. But most of the time, he quietly mows stream snipers down, amassing 10+ kill counts in just a handful of minutes. I have to admit, it’s kinda mesmerizing to watch this dude, tense but not overwhelmed, methodically blasting his way through gauntlets of shrieking madmen. Sometimes Forsen gets killed, and occasionally, he even gets mad, though his incredulousness is often directed at issues with the game rather than the obvious reason he died (stream snipers), sometimes to the point that it strains credulity. Other times, he just laughs at the absurdity of it all, and I mean, can you really blame him?

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Forsen’s recent trials and tribulations have sparked more debate in the PUBG community about the degree to which stream sniping should be policed by the game’s developers. It’s caused some, like notorious YouTuber Critikal, to reevaluate their stance on stream sniping.

“When I first heard about the whole stream sniping shit in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds—people getting banned for it and the stream honking overreactions and all that—I thought it was the dumbest thing in the world,” Critikal said in the video above. “I love Battlegrounds because crazy shit like that can happen... But now, after seeing this clip and going to this man’s Twitch, I see that PlayerUnknown saw something that I didn’t, saw the potential for what this could turn into.”

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On the PUBG subreddit, people are having changes of heart for different reasons. “This is not about people abusing voice comm/honking or killing him because of the knowledge they have about his position,” wrote a user named Luxus_3000. “[It’s about] the sole fact that he is getting at least five free kills from people that just follow him to wherever he lands and neither loot nor attempt to kill him.”

Others, meanwhile, think it’s a problem simply because this style of incessant stream sniping gets old fast. “They ambush him and ruin the fun every time,” wrote a user named DontThinkICantSeeYou. “They make the game boring and shit.”

Still, there’s clearly an audience for Forsen’s stream (and, by extension, his stream snipers) right now. It even seems like his view counts are trending upward. For every person decrying his community and calling his stream snipers obnoxious, there’s somebody else who embraces the chaos. PUBG subreddit poster jdubius summed up the appeal: “I fucking love this guy. So many videos of him just getting fucked over or rekt always floating around the internet, and he always seems to keep a somewhat positive attitude. Easily my favorite to watch.”

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