Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Streaming Hours

Back at the end of last month I told myself this month I'd put more hours into streaming. You never know how things will go unless you actually just try it out, right? A lot of the advice I've heard on random streams I watch has to do with just putting in time at the start to see what works for you, but you need to actually put in enough time to give repeat viewers a chance to come back. And at the start of the month I actually had one guy who was showing up every day. Pretty much because I was the only English speaking person playing Isaac while this kid was getting ready for school, but that's at least a start, right? I haven't actually seen him in a while. (Turns out he unfollowed me at some point?) But since I haven't really been streaming lately I can't really say I blame him...

I have started tracking hours put in, and I have 3 weeks worth of data now...

So on only 3 days in the last 3 months did I put in even close to a 'full day' of streaming. People talk about streaming 12+ hours a day every day for months in order to build up a viewer base. These three weeks are clearly nowhere near that level so it really isn't surprising that I have a total of 18 followers.

The question now is... Can I do better? What things were keeping me from streaming more this month and what can be done to overcome them?

The first is health related. I went to the doctor on the 13th and he doubled my Paxil dose. When I first switched to Paxil in January I ended up sleeping a lot and being rather lightheaded for a couple weeks. (I believe this was a large contributing factor to my collapsing in the hospital shortly after the switch.) So it isn't too surprising that doubling the dose has caused me to feel pretty similar. I've been sleeping a lot the last couple weeks (probably closer to 12 hours per day instead of 8) and have really not felt up to doing much of anything but sitting in a chair vegging out most of the time. Putting in effort to talk about what games I'm playing hasn't really been something I've felt up to doing.

How can this be fixed? Well, presumably my body will eventually adjust to this dosage and I'll be back to sleeping 8 hours every 26 hours. That'll free up more time each day which could help. I could also stop worrying about being 'on' when I stream and just turn my mic off some of the time. I'm not sure if that would be a net positive or not, but it would certainly help bump the hours number up. And while just inflating the numbers may not be a good thing it could well lead to good things in the long run. It's like when I was really working on getting better at League of Legends and focused just on last hitting. Even if I was worse in those games in the short run I ended up locking in a skill that could be used later on.

Next is how much time I spend watching streams instead of streaming myself. One comment I've heard from multiple streamers is how rarely they actually get to watch streams. People keep asking them for advice about other people to watch and they can't really say. When you're spending 12 hours a day playing The Binding of Isaac you probably don't have much desire to watch other people play it. And even if you did, when would you do it? You need to eat and sleep and maybe interact with other people every now and then!

I do think watching some streams is still very important for me. I watch for entertainment, but also to see how different people do different things. I'm also learning how to be better at Hearthstone in particular by watching top tier players who explain what they're doing some of the time. Even just being able to watch how different matchups play out without having to own the decks myself is quite helpful.

On the other hand, I've been spending a fair amount of time lately watching Hafu play League of Legends and that isn't really helping much at all. She's one of the best Hearthstone drafters in the world with a really popular stream so watching that has been a big net gain I think. But she's about as good at LoL as I was when I played a lot, and she rarely explains anything about what she's doing. There's certainly still entertainment value in it, don't get me wrong... But if I'm looking at time I'm spending on not-streaming that I could easily convert to time spent on streaming these hours would be a good place to start.

And then there's the pro streams I watch. The LoL LCS regular season, IEM tournaments for LoL and Starcraft 2, random Hearthstone tournaments, Vintage super league... Stuff I watch because I really like watching people who are trying to be the absolute best at something. I don't want to cut that stuff out, though I have realized lately that I actually do a lot of gaming while watching those streams. I killed Mom's heart on hardmode with all the characters while watching LCS. I'd pause and watch during interesting stuff, but when a game got out of hand or when it was talking heads I could just play Isaac and listen in the background.

If I could figure out a way to stream a game without streaming the audio from a stream I'm watching then I could keep doing the same sort of thing. But otherwise I just need to prioritize what I watch to not take up 8+ hours in a day. That shouldn't be that hard? Maybe?

I've also been a little leery about what I stream. Games I know reasonably well, sure. But what about completely new stuff? Why would anyone want to watch me learn to play Terraria? Well, why would anyone want to watch me play anything?

The answer here really is that I don't need to know why anyone wants to do anything. Just do some things! I'll never understand people with my current level of knowledge, so trying to figure out things from ignorance is a silly thing to do. Just trying things can only result in more information to possibly make better decisions in the future.

There's also some data issues with my chart because I stream at weird hours and I'm assigning the entirety of a stream to whatever day Twitch archives assigns to the video. So on days when I sleep in the middle of the day it's possible that if I started streaming at 11:50pm the previous day that the day would have no hours even if I went 12 or more. But realistically that would just make the previous day huge and I could just run weekly averages to help deal with that. Clearly this isn't what's actually making my numbers low, it's just a way for perfectionist me to get bitter and give up. Bad perfectionist me! Bad!

Anyway... More things to think about, but I think the core thing is to just work on mindlessly watching fewer streams and just stream more random stuff for a while and see what happens.

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