Tuesday, January 3, 2012

the stream effect

So the past few weeks I've been getting some of the most enjoyment out of EVE in months. The reason? My stream!

I was really curious if streaming could work with EVE. It's such an information driven game - most aspects of the game are entirely player driven, and therefore player competitive. This means that by showing the player screen (MY SCREEN) I'd be giving away many of my 'trade secrets' which I rely on to win. Not only in PvP, but my alts, friendly alts, how I make money (niche market info) friendly activities, so on. I've really been afraid that this would be an utter failure, resulting only in people using the information against me.

Yeah, that's happened. In fact, I'd say at least 1/5 of my viewers are people I fly against regularly, or have in the past. There's been a few times where people I'm shooting are actively talking (and mocking!) me in my stream chat! In a way, it's only going to get worse as people examine the stream, or look up old footage with a keen eye to pick up intel. By streaming, everything eventually is made bare, and that sucks.

Has it been worth it? HELL YES!

There's been a huge shift in how I approach the game, how I fly, and how I spend my time in the game. I'm a lot more aggressive: I'm trying to make the stream as enjoyable as possible! I've pretty much abandoned using expensive implants, have taken to roaming frequently in nullsec, and have been getting way more interesting, and perhaps more importantly, solo and small gang engagements. Do I lose a lot more ships this way? You betcha, but I'm rediscovering what made me love this game by trying to show others how to have fun. The aggressive play style is a bunch of fun, though I'm not looking forward to having to build my ISK up again!

When I roam, it's not all explosions. In fact, most of the time I'm just moving through systems scanning for stuff and finding fuck all. To try the pass the time, I explain what I'm doing, how I'm doing it, and try to walk the invisible friend at my shoulder through the ins and outs of the game. I explain scanner usage. I explain how to learn a system, and how to scout quickly and efficiently. I explain why I check some systems, or parts of systems, and not others. I explain why places are busy, and why others are barren. I tell the stream about my fit, what I'm looking to do with it, why it works, the ways it doesn't, and tricks I use to make it better. The narration helps pass the time, and honestly has improved my play a fair amount, forcing me to focus on what I'm doing and why I do it.

When I encounter other players, I do my best to walk the viewers through the fight: often when soloing, I'll explain what I'm thinking, as I'm moving through the process of scouting the target, my approach to the fight, getting the fight, the engagement, and how I felt afterwords. This analytical approach to the game again helps get my mind working about tactics and strategy, rather than the rather dull approaches I've been using towards achieving PvP success in the past. Every fight is now a lesson, rather than merely a gank, a kill or lossmail.

Lately I've been getting burned out logging in only to find pilots working without cohesion; we don't have many FC's, and my guys have come to rely on me leading them about and organizing efforts. It's honestly extremely tiring when all I wanted to do when sitting down to PvP was look for a fun engagement, and end up managing several to well over a dozen pilots on moving around systems, organizing pilots, assigning roles, explaining tactics, so forth. The stream eliminated this: instead of the lengthy wait of all that organization and management, I've just been jumping in ships by myself or with one or two others and striking out. No hassle, no fuss, no bullshit. Just a few guys looking for some honest give and take PvP.

While I've been dreading stream interaction in the form of giving up information, and having it used against me, it's been quite the opposite in practice! I will often have pilots point out glaring errors (evemail: you forgot your drones! you forgot to update your clone!), give support or ask questions about the game. I've had a lot of people compliment me on the informative nature of the stream, on the ease in which I seem to PvP, and have had a lot of really good dialogue with stream viewers. While I'm in combat with those that are using the stream information to 'cheat' in playing against me, I feel I can deal with that well enough while giving the viewer a fun, educational and entertaining result.

All in all, it's been a huge success. I enjoy the game more than ever, I get as much fun and excitement as I ever remember having, and honestly think I see what most people which term themselves 'bittervets' did wrong: they forgot to focus on the things they love, and just have fun.

I'm currently brainstorming ways to improve the stream, mostly on how to get it out there, encourage PvP discourse, and interaction between viewers and myself. I'll write another post with the specifics of what I'm looking for, and let you guys lend your opinions: I can use the help!


  1. Awesome, informative post as always!


    And you may see me in one of these streams at some point in the future. :3

  2. I absolutely love the streaming stuff you've been doing sard. It feels like pvping on the truman show lol.

    But seriously, it's been great to have you back flying regularly and enjoying the game again. The sorts of roams you've been doing (2 or 3 guys jumping in some simple t1 bc's and bs's and heading for null sec) is precisely the type of gang pvp I love. I'm sure you know me well enough to know that when I'm not soloing, 2-3 people is ideal for me, 5 is about my limit. Anything over 5 and my enjoyment starts to decrease rapidly. So I hope you keep up the small, aggressive gangs and the streaming. I'll be carebearing again for the next week or so. But I hope to keep flying with you as we have this last week for a long time to come o7

  3. Picked up on your twitter link and watch your feeds whenever I see you tweet that you are streaming. I love it mate. Keep up the great work and thanks.

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  5. Hi Sard, love your blog and what a great idea! An excellent way for some of your less active corp mates to check the stream and see you out and about and then join in. Better than all those jabber pings, SMS alerts and all that intrusive nonsense. You're definitely a pioneer on this one. Keep it up.

  6. Sard, I love watching you stream. Not to give you too big a head, but watching you do small gang like you regularly do made me want to do the same, as well as gave me some added ideas about how to FC since I'm just starting out.

    Just for a little background, I'm a null-sec resident, but until recently, I always felt that I had to be in a group of 15+ just to even have a decent fight. Watching your stream has completely turned that around for me, and just as you've rediscovered PvP it's helped me discover a whole new aspect of eve PvP that I really like as well.

    Looking forward to more streams! Keep it up! Don't be afraid to ask for donations if you get too ISK poor.

  7. o/\o Sard. Good show young man.