Well, look who wandered in… Hello and welcome to The Misplay! This is the latest installment of the article series that accompanies act two of the podcast. It’s got the nicest hair of any article I’ve written yet.
On our last show, we welcomed marvin_the_imp to hear about his life as a tournament organizer, team captain, President Lincoln imposter, and twitch streamer. The whole show definitely shines a light on marvin as a prominent member of the community, and boy does his hair glisten! For our purpose here, I’ll focus on our discussion about streaming 101, the do’s and don’ts from a bunch of amateur streamers.
Streaming 101 Nuts and Bolts
Before diving into all the fun parts of streaming, like talking to yourself for hours on end and getting wrecked on camera (that might just be me), we have to talk about the critical components first. You need gear and software to start streaming even before you hit the go live button.
Jason, marvin, and I all use Streamlabs OBS. It’s simple to find, download, and install. I used a YouTube tutorial to help get my settings configured correctly. Jason didn’t and he’s always trying to fix his sound.
The one piece of equipment you truly cannot go into streaming without is a microphone. Our “market research” that Nate provided confirms having good sound quality is incredibly important. If you don’t have a webcam, no problem, if you haven’t made or commissioned fancy icons or overlays, no worries, but poor audio is a fast way to send viewers anywhere else. marvin_the_imp uses a Blue Yeti Microphone, Jason uses a fancy podcasting mic, and I use our old, less fancy podcasting mics. If you are really interested in streaming at any level of commitment, invest in a nice microphone. On the show we recommended the Blue Yeti, since it is good value and doesn’t have to be on-camera to get good audio quality.
Between the three of us we have some cool extras too, that are nice but not necessary to round out our stream setups. We all use webcams so our audience can see our nice hair or dance-fighting moves. Jason uses a green screen and Elgato key lights and I have a speech-to-text overlay as an accessibility feature through PubNub.
Once your physical setup and software are ready, you’re ready to hit that go live button and start your streaming adventure!
Spinning Yarn and Building Bridges
The rest of our discussion contained our thoughts and strategies for building an audience.
Establish a schedule for yourself. Pick some days and times when you are consistently free and stick to your schedule to the best of your ability. marvin had really good points about being realistic about your plans and ambitions as you get started. Eternal is probably not a game that is going to make you rich and famous. When you set your schedule start small, and you can always add more days or stream longer if you are really into it. One of the nice things about streaming Eternal in particular is the community is really supportive and pretty low-pressure.
Once you hit the go live button, it’s showtime. marvin and I find it very helpful to have a plan for what you’re going to stream each day. It can be as simple as choosing which modes you are going to play. You can also be as specific and detailed as you like; “I’m going to play Mono Fire in Throne for the first half of the stream, then play Argenport Valkyries and Mono Primal in Expedition for the second half.” Choose what works for you.
I am pretty convinced that streaming is a performance art. One of marvin’s tips was to skip a day if you aren’t feeling it because your audience will know. Early on you are probably going to spend a lot of time talking to yourself. Don’t be discouraged. Your channel is going to be a reflection of yourself, so be intentional about how you decide to present yourself. In my opinion it would be silly for me to pretend I am better than I am. I choose to embrace my misplays and make them part of the show. I also added channel point rewards that were specific to my personality and interests (Capoeira and bad 90s/2000s pop music). Use those early streams to find your voice and decide how you are going to make your channel unique to you.
We also talked about a few Eternal-specific ideas. marvin pointed out that drafting tends to get better engagement during a stream, since there tends to be more time and more things to talk about during a draft than during games. Spreading out what formats you are playing will also help keep you fresh and engaged in your own stream. I also recommend getting creative. I play viewer decks as a channel points reward, Jedi wears hats, and I know Doc’s stream runs deck-doctoring as a channel points reward as well.
I hope this brief introduction to streaming is insightful for anyone that might be interested in dipping their toes into the streaming pool. It can’t hurt to try. You may just discover a new hobby that you enjoy. If it’s miserable you never have to do it again, and I bet the resale value on the microphone isn’t bad.
I will be back in a couple weeks, and back to Eternal focused content.