As someone who never played WoW growing up, there’s been a huge desire to find out what all the hype was about. Growing up, a ton of my friends retold stories of getting sucked into the game and its incredible world. I was never really a big PC gamer, so I never had the chance to try it out myself.
I want to chronicle my journey of streaming a massively huge game on Twitch at launch, and the prep and thought process that goes into making that jump. Each week, I’ll write about how the streams went from a content and growth standpoint, and what trends I’m seeing along the way. I’ll discuss the little strategies that I’ve tried and have an honest look at what worked, and what failed. This seems like a great opportunity for me to learn a ton, while hopefully helping others learn from my failures and victories. So If you’ve been thinking about making a big game jump and want to see inside the mind of someone who is making that jump themselves, tune in! I’ll be posting once a week, for at least the month of September! Fail or succeed, I’m looking forward to trying this out and learning a ton along the way. So let’s immediately jump in with Part One - The Prep.
Making the Jump - Part One - The Prep
If you’re thinking about jumping into a completely new stream game for your channel, you absolutely need to spend a huge amount of time prepping. With a huge new release, you’re going to be competing against a huge sea of streamers. Whether you’re averaging 10 viewers, 100 viewers, or even 1,000 viewers, if you don’t take the time to come up with a plan, you’re likely to fail.
For myself, when I realized that I wanted to stream WoW Classic, one of the first things I did was to follow and watch a ton of WoW streamers to get an idea of what worked. I lurked streams of varying size and personality to get an idea of the type of streams that did well with WoW. I also specifically looked at my time slot for when I would be streaming WoW to get an idea of who I’d be up against. This is something that I think streamers really need to think about when choosing a time to stream. Growth on Twitch is all about filling a void, finding a niche. What unique experience can you provide that no one else is providing. Choosing a timeslot is a huge part of filling that void. You want to make sure that you have an opportunity in attracting new viewers to your stream.
I noticed pretty early on that past 12 AM Central time, the number of BIG streams was pretty small, which meant that I had some opportunities to be higher up on the directory. So I specifically started gameplanning on starting the WoW portion of my stream right around there. A lot of streamers are going offline around that time, so with a fresh new game, viewers would be looking to find new experiences with new streamers! I started checking out some of the streamers that were live consistently around that time, and tried to get an idea of why people tuned into watch. I knew going in that if I wanted to have a chance at good growth, I needed to provide something different from the main group of streamers.
As I watched more of these streams, it became very evident that a good portion of those streaming WoW Classic at launch were people that had been playing the game for years and were super excited to go back and experience that feeling of starting fresh again. It made me realize that there was a huge hole to be filled when it came to content with WoW Classic. All of the big streamers were veterans of the game. The way they would approach it would be methodical and fast, with a lot of them trying to essentially speedrun to level 60 and endgame content. This made me realize that I could leverage the fact that I’ve never played the game to my advantage. A ton of viewers are going to watch WoW Classic on Twitch to experience that first time feeling of playing the game. If I could capture that feeling with my own playthrough, I could really differentiate myself from the rest of the big streamers and stick out. I wouldn’t use a guide, or add-ons, and I’d take my time and just enjoy the ride. By providing a casual experience compared to the hardcore experience many big streamers would be providing, I could at least get new viewers in the door. It would be up to me to bring them back.
So once I decided on a time slot to stream at, and the type of content/audience I was shooting for, it was important to get my own audience excited about the launch. Since I was relatively blind when it came to the game, I really had no allegiance to either the Alliance or the Horde. While I had no preference, I knew that my viewers who had grown up playing the game and definitely had a preference. So I set up a bid war a week or so before the launch, and let them decide with subs/cheer/donations. This helped two ways.
1. Helped set me up financially so even if WoW Classic was a failure from a growth standpoint, it would at least help offset the risk of trying a new game for an extended amount of time, and the potential loss of revenue.
2. Allowed me to consistently promote the new stream game, and alert my audience to the fact that I was trying this new game out.
I spent the last week constantly talking about how excited I was for the new game, and most of my viewers are aware that I’m checking the game out. Whether they tune in or not, the fact that they are aware of what I’m doing is huge. It’s important when starting a new game on Twitch, that you have the backing of your community as a starting foundation. Get them excited for your content, and new viewers will want to be a part of it as well!
The final step in the process was prepping out the first few days of launch. I know that I’ll be streaming one of my main games for the first 3-4 hours of my stream to bring in a good viewership, and then swap to WoW after a few hours to leverage placement on the directory. But I’m still debating on what day I’ll actually start. I know everyone will be trying to stream it at launch, so the directory will be packed. Should I wait one day to let all the big streamers have their huge night one, and then sneak in? Or should I jump in with everyone else and just see how it goes. In the breakdown of the first week of streaming, I’ll let you know what I decided on, but I think there are pros and cons to both!
So here is the general gameplan and expectations that I have with streaming WoW Classic.
- Stream - Twitch.tv/iateyourpie
- Hours a week: At least 20 hours
- Starting Time: 12 AM Central, maybe earlier/later depending on the night
- Starting Follower Count at beginning of Challenge - 116,400
- Starting Sub Point Count - 2950
- Expectations: Slow growth in the first week, but possibly bigger growth in weeks 2, 3 and 4. I Expect sub count to initially drop by a couple of hundred, as it takes time for new viewers to watch enough of your content to sub. If there is an increase, I expect it to hit around week 3 or 4.
I’m super excited to take this journey with you all, and I’m curious to see the results. There’s a chance that this experiment is a huge failure, and I don’t even make it the full month! There’s a chance that my channel has a huge explosion of growth and swapping to a new game was perfect. My prediction is that I’ll see reasonable growth, but nothing crazy. Either way, I’m excited to post my thought process for the entire challenge each week, and I hope you all can learn from my experience!