Thoughts on players on streamed games

I somehow picked up the (bad?) habit of treating blog posts as a bit less conversational and a bit more like an article. But with the demise of Google+ and the dumpster fire that Twitter can often be, blogs can fit into a slower conversational rhythm. For the next few weeks, I will experiment with doing just that: quicker posts with less editing and more reflections on what I’m thinking about in gaming that day.

I’m still thinking about something my buddy @kreimnat said while we were hanging out in Twitch chat for Dice Priori, that streamed games tend to have better commitment from players. I think that’s often true, because in those games players seem to be more invested in showing up on time, paying attention during the game, etc.

(c) 2018 Wizards of the Coast
Sworn Companions by Jason Rainville

Of course, correlation is not causation: maybe the “good” players (to the extent that phrase means anything) are the ones willing to put themselves on camera, or maybe it’s the pressure of knowing somebody’s watching, or most likely it’s a little of Column A, a little of Column B. After all, somebody could have totally valid reasons not to want to appear on a stream in front of the viewing public! The correlation definitely is not 100%.

In any case, the primary two things of importance for players on a stream are:

  1. Decent audio. This doesn’t mean something expensive. If you’re not using the built-in laptop mic and can minimize background noise, it’s probably fine.
  2. Good people. Do you show up on time? Do you pay attention during the game? Are you willing to accept that everyone at the table shares responsibility for the fun? As long as you’re not “that guy,” again, it’s probably fine.

Since most of my games, streamed or not, take place over the Internet using chat and possibly Roll20, these qualifications apply equally. I don’t always want the extra work of producing a stream or the emotional load of caring about chat, but the folks I most enjoy playing with are pretty much the same either way.

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