One thing you have to give internet trolls is that they can be very creative, even if they go far beyond the ethical or the civil. During Memorial Day weekend — a federal holiday in the United States to honor the soldiers who’ve fallen in service — dozens of streamers flocked to Twitch to broadcast just about anything they could think of, while marking it as Artifact content.
This is quite the backhanded joke at Valve’s ill-fated card game. Artifact launched to much hype from the pro player community, only to crash and burn, ending up almost universally disliked by card game fans. The game lost players with rapid pace and mere months after its launch there were barely any players, teams, or tournament organizers supporting it.
In March, Artifact’s lead designer Richard Garfield stopped working with Valve on the game and later the same month, Valve announced that they will stop shipping updates and go back to the drawing board, effectively putting a gravestone on the current state of Artifact.
If you’re into this sort of humor, trolls choosing Artifact of all games to troll on Memorial Day is funny, but much of the content they streamed wasn’t in good taste at all. Anime, League of Legends, and Star Wars streams were on the better end, but there were also streamers broadcasting the Christchurch mosque shooting or hardcore pornography.
The result was Twitch activity like which Artifact hasn’t seen since December. At the peak, more than 150 channels “streamed” “Artifact” and more than 5200 viewers watched it. The activity sticks out as a sore thumb.
Moderation was low on Memorial Day weekend, so many of those broadcasts went unchecked but with the coming of the new week, Twitch has returned to normal operations and the hammer has fallen. Twitch has temporarily suspended the option for new users to create streams, which they’ll likely use to come up with a more permanent and efficient solution to future potential “Artifact” streams.
“Over the weekend we became aware of a number of accounts targeting the ‘Artifact’ game directory to share content that grossly violates our terms of service. Our investigations uncovered that the majority of accounts that shared and viewed the content were automated accounts. We are working with urgency to remove the offending content and suspend all accounts engaged in this behavior.
“In addition, we have temporarily suspended the ability for new creators to stream. We take these violations very seriously and are taking measures to prevent this kind of coordinated activity on our service in the future.”