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The PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds community is a mess, and it’s getting worse

Battlegrounds

In Solo mode, PUBG is a game that encourages you to be selfish. It’s a fun kind of selfish, of course; survival of the fittest (or, at least, best armed). Dropped into a massive map with 99 other players, you have one objective: be the last person standing by any means necessary. Ambushes, camping, and taking advantage of others is encouraged. Everyone is out for themselves. You can see this mentality in the pre-match lobby where everyone is invincible and has access to firearms – it’s a terrifying place. 

Check out our PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds guide for some survival tips. 

Back when the game first launched, the community – outside of the usual godawful people shouting racist, homophobic, and sexist slurs in the pre-game lobby – seemed united. The subreddit was full of funny clips, tips, and people chatting enthusiastically. Often, you would see videos of people being sportsmanly to each other, perhaps offering a cornered player the opportunity for a fair fight. Now it’s a hotbed for streamer harassment, drama, and vitriol towards the devs. At some point, it seems, everything changed.

In fact, you can trace this shift back to one moment: when streamer DrDisRespect was banned for teamkilling by game director Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene. The full story is at that link, but essentially, it led to a public spat on Twitter between Greene and the streamer, in which DrDisRespect threatened to roundhouse kick Greene in the chest. Following that, Greene went on to explain the power of hurtful words in a blog post, since he had actually been kicked in the chest in real life – his head went through a window as a result.

Battlegrounds sniper rifle

Imagine how that blog post went down with the people who throw around words like “triggered” and “snowflake.” It was fuel for the fire. The dumpster fire. Greene was in the right, of course, but this seems to have been the catalyst for the community going feral. Since then, they’ve lumbered from one drama to the next. Back in July, the latest debacle began – the stream sniping discourse.

One person was banned from PUBG because he killed some popular streamers across a series of matches. The player vehemently denied the accusations that they were stream sniping, but developers Bluehole said they have evidence of him hopping between streams to secure kills on people broadcasting, getting eyes on their position by watching their video while playing.

Then, more recently, a streamer called Destiny spawned into a game and the buildings didn’t load. He took advantage of this and ran over a bunch of other players, who – from their perspective, at least – were safely inside houses. During the stream, he said he knew he would be banned. He was right.

pubg brendan greene interview

For some reason, this incident led to the community targeting another streamer called Grimmmz. Grimmmz had previously used an exploit to shoot underwater and hadn’t been banned. Bluehole had come out and said this was actually fine – before they patched it out, at least. The hate for Grimmmz off the back of this has resulted in him being stream sniped more regularly, and he’s reported players who do so, leading to more bans and even more hate.

Now the game’s most popular subreddit is embroiled in yet another drama, this time revolving around stream honking. Yes, stream honking. In a recent patch, Bluehole added the ability to honk the horn while driving cars. In an attempt to dodge bans, stream snipers are trolling broadcasters not by killing them, but by drowning out their audio awareness – a very important tactical tool in PUBG – by honking their horns in close proximity. Here’s a video compilation of that in action:

Understandably frustrated, Grimmmz decided to take out a copyright claim to the original version of the mirrored video above. He’s since admitted this was a bad call in a TwitLonger post. He just lost his temper after someone donated money during a different stream and said that it was for tissues to cry into.

“With already having a full plate to deal with, this set me off. I snapped,” Grimmmz admits in the post. “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.”

He’s since removed the copyright claim, but it seems to have fanned the flames even more.

battlegrounds melee

PUBG is an incredible game that’s completely blown up. It now boasts eight million players and is consistently in the top five games on Steam for concurrent player count. Unfortunately, as its popularity rises, the community seems to be spiralling downwards. I used to visit the subreddit regularly to see the amazing, emergent, player-created moments people had captured. Now I avoid it like someone on a hill with a Groza and an 4x scope.

I want to see players performing flying headshots while jumping from the seat of a bike in the air, I want to see impromptu fist fights and duels, and I want to see impossible longshots from across the map. More and more, the online PUBG community is beginning to resemble its lobby, however. It’s just people firing at each other and throwing molotovs for no reason, occasionally playing loud noises down their mic and shouting abuse at strangers. Just like sharing loot with your pals in Squad games, can we not go back to supporting each other? It doesn’t have to be every person for themselves.

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