Popular streamer Félix ‘xQc’ Lengyel encountered a persistent stream-sniper in Overwatch that was hacking and otherwise disrupting his games, but managed to outsmart them.
The player, who was using Widowmaker, seemed unrealistically accurate in hitting headshots, even by the standards of the extremely high ranking that xQc plays in. A series of perfect headshots to clean up almost all of xQc’s team appeared to confirm the suspicion that they were hacking.
After losing the game on Busan, xQc queued up again, only to find that the player was once again on the opposite team. This time, the rest of the players in the lobby agreed to a draw, but it nevertheless made for wasted time for all involved.
Unfortunately, xQc really couldn’t catch a break, as the following game on Numbani not only had the hacker on his own team, but another known stream-sniper on the other team.
xQc’s stream-sniping teammate then proceeded to shout racial slurs over voice chat, demand money to stop queueing, and attempted to block xQc into spawn with Mei.
By the end of the third disrupted game in a row, xQc had evidently had enough, announcing that he wasn’t going to continue playing and switching to watching Twitch and YouTube clips.
It turned out, however, that this was simply a cunning ruse – xQc had been searching for an Overwatch game in the background the entire time.
This misdirection proved successful, and xQc was able to avoid the stream-snipers in the following game. Naturally, xQc celebrated this victory in typical fashion, directly berating the players that he knew had been watching his stream.
In Overwatch, stream-snipers are able to chase streamers by watching the broadcast and then joining the matchmaking queue at the same time, making it quite likely that they end up in the same game, especially at the less populated high ranks.
While in this instance xQc was able to report the player for hacking via the in-game report system – which will hopefully result in their account being banned – unfortunately there is little that can be done about stream-snipers who otherwise play within the game’s rules, refraining from overt breaches like hacking or blatant game disruption.
While it’s possible to make it much harder for would-be stream snipers to end up in the same game by applying a stream delay, this route isn’t particularly viable for streamers like xQc, whose primary product is entertainment and real-time interaction with fans.