Hearthstone Diary #3: Why do you stream?
So… I got my Twitch partnership email the other day (YAY) and it made me happy. Why? Because it means I can give video quality options for my viewers and most of my viewers are in Southeast Asia where Internet connection generally sucks.
I’ve been meaning to stream since last year so I could share the decks I brewed but I never got around to it because 1) work 2) Magic: The Gathering (GP SG was last June) and 3) I was scared of streaming. Scared. Yes. I’ve seen how cruel some people could be over the Internet. Another thing that I also thought of was how a lot of people easily go “Ah, grill hype”–it’s a pet peeve really. I thought we’ve already come to terms that in gaming, it’s gender-neutral. Call me idealistic, whatever. I liked playing online games because I can be in a place where I can be damn good regardless of who I am or where I’m from. Apparently, I’m still not there yet. Heck, in pop culture, nerds often joke about using female avatars to get in-game stuff. I am aware that many players IRL do make girl avatars to get favors in online games like World of Warcraft. It just sucks to see these sweeping generalizations especially when you’re one of those who try to be fair/good the right way and you still get lumped together with those who don’t.
I used to main Blood Elf Survival Hunter and alt Worgen Combat Rogue in WoW. I felt more ‘free’ as the latter because I felt ‘neutral’ and nobody could accuse me of using a gorgeous avatar to get gold or gifts. But then I took a step back and thought “Why can’t my toon go out and play as a beautiful girl anyway? Should it even matter?” It shouldn’t. My skill at the games that I play is not tied to my gender orientation so why make a big deal out of it? It might take a while before I see this become a norm but I’d like to see that day come. I’m glad to see that slowly taking shape.
Magic made me comfortable
I was almost always the only girl who went to Magic tourneys when I started in the late 1990’s until I quit in 2004 but I never felt different because I was among friends. My MTG friends didn’t give me special treatment for being a girl (but they’re all polite) and for that I am thankful. It was gauntlet; it was friendship. Heck, they taught me to trash-talk or get used to it because they said I’d eventually hear that everywhere in the gaming community– some people would do anything to win by riling you.
The community I belonged to was filled with people who respect each other’s skills regardless of age, sex, socio-economic background and we accepted each other’s oddities. That helped me a lot in improving at the game. We didn’t care if you were weird, annoying, boring–whether you’re likable or not, as long as we can play Magic and won’t waste our time, we’re good. That’s how communities help players grow.
Fast forward to 2013-2014 when I returned to MTG and my Magic player friends told me about this ‘digital card game that I could play for free’–FREE is good, yo. I thought it’s a great game for anybody because it’s a card game that you could play almost anywhere. Hearthstone made it easy for people to get acquainted with the CCG genre and I was so excited because it means more girls/women would be playing. When a gaming community accepts all kinds of people and respect each other, new players would feel welcome and eventually invite even more people into the game. I’m happy to see more and more girls playing MTG and Hearthstone.
Acceptance. Respect. This should be the norm.
What about the trolls? What about Scary Twitch Chat?
I promised to start “tryharding” already. Heck, I even looked at a glossary of Twitch emotes after I asked my team mates, Ryzen and TheJordude, what the hell is MingLee and EleGiggle and they were like “WHAT”. :p That’s already a start of “tryharding” for me because I usually ignore Twitch chat. I’m going to stream so I have to LEARN. Twitch education, anyone? Lol. And isn’t Twitch chat scary? Well, kinda.
It took me a while but acceptance is a double-edged sword. It means I also have to accept the fact that we can be nice and polite and still have rude people attacking us for no reason. With this in mind, I can set my own rules (i.e. rude people are not welcome in my channel :p). I keep in mind that we get treated the way we allow other people to treat us, therefore we either teach people to treat us with respect, or we don’t.
So you’re gonna have viewers because you’re a grill, right?
“Of course people would watch grills. Who’d watch people like me, an average-looking dude?” I hear this from people I know and I read similar sentiments online. In addition to that, they talked about girl streamers who suck at the games they play and still stream anyway because “she’s pretty”–or cleavage. It was a sexist remark that made me hesitate again. What if all viewers think this way? Scary. I’m not a fan of clothes with plunging necklines and some of us just want to play games without baring our mammary glands for the world to see. To each his/her own, I guess, but there was an instance when I posted a link to my Twitch channel at a group and somebody said something to that effect (i.e. use cleavage to get money). It’s wrong for people to blatantly generalize girl streamers this way but people seem to act like it’s normal.
Scary right? But eff it, if I want to see change, trite as it sounds, I have to be the change I want to see so here we go…
I stream for my friends and strangers who are about to become my friends soon.
One of my goals in streaming is to show that Hearthstone is not only about playing the latest Tier 1 deck but to also show that there are other ways to enjoy Hearthstone. Blame my being Johnny/Spike but I like winning in style and on my own terms. HOWEVER, I am also realistic enough to acknowledge that if you want to rank up on ladder or compete, sometimes you have to be Spike and leave your experimental decks behind for a while in order to win. It makes me a tad bit sad when I think about it but once I refocus my goal on winning, I feel better afterwards. Winning is more fun after all, right? Losing is also essential for learning but one has to admit that winning feels better, more often than not. :p
I’ve already submitted the remaining requirements to Twitch and soon I’m going to stream more often. I’m still hesitant because I’m generally a shy person but my debut stream last week went nicely. Most of the people who were active in chat were nice so I guess it can’t be that bad, right?
My Twitch channel is like an extension of my group of friends IRL. I plan to stream some ladder, show matches with select friends to show funky brews, and I also want to stream Arena.
I don’t stream to be popular or for donations (but they’re welcome! lol). I stream for my friends, the new players who want to learn something about the game, and the people who are yet to become my friends. My stream is my offer of friendship to you and I hope you’ll take it. 🙂 Follow me on Twitch