Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Streaming Eve, one fight at a time

I, like many other people, enjoy to watch "professionals" play games we love. Traditionally this has been the domain of pro's playing fast placed strategy games like Star Craft 2, or First person shooters like Battlefield 3 or Call Of Duty.

Watching these people play lets those of us who aren't quite that good, dedicated, or smart enough to be awed by the skill and ability of those players we watch. I watch with the added interest of a player who wonders, "how are they so damn good?" These streams give me insight into the gameplay of these professionals. Sometimes even providing tips and tricks that I otherwise would never have come across on my own.

Occasionally, these streamers even take the time to explain what they are doing and why, in an effort to teach us, the viewer, to be better at our game, if we choose to listen. Or at the very least to provide insight to how they are so successful, other than the often attributed "ridiculous amounts of playtime."

In fast paced games such as that, it is usually difficult to go into the exact why's and when's of everything, short of an after action commentary of where things went wrong. Unless the commentators, or a third party go through replays and commenting, in day9 style. Examining moves and common mistakes and pitfalls.

In a game like Eve though, remarks on strategy would be easier, but would make much more sense, since in most space battlez, the battle is won or lost before you even undock. Fits and strategy play such a huge role that really understanding and learning how the experienced play can make a huge difference.

Even little things like overview settings, chat window locations, scanner placement, module placement can radically change the way Eve is played. All these and more can be shared with a single screen sharing session or a glance at any of the popular Eve PvP video's.

I have often thought about the difficulties of streaming Eve gameplay. Just to appeal to any audience there are several entry level barriers. The initial barrier, knowing what the hell Eve is, then to add on top of that, the audience will be expected to have the knowledge of the game enough to understand fights and at least some idea of the tactics used. Perhaps not the nuances of each ship, or each fit, but enough to be able to understand why fighting/not fighting makes sense. Of course these streams always cater to players of the game, with rare exception. So knowing Eve would be a given, it's the second barrier that is harder to break. The last is possibly the most daunting, in a game like Eve, how do you keep your audience interested?

Your audience is now limited to people with the knowledge of what is going on, in screen and in game to follow, or appreciate the stream. For me, that (and that I suck) and the lack of extended, regular playtime made the whole idea problematic. Or at least not as easy as say, a blog.

Fortunately, others out there have more time, and resources to put towards such an endeavor. Well, okay, one other so far. Enter Sard Caid;

The dashing Sard Caid
Twitch.tv provides the service for this but Sard Caid provides the content. He streams regularly, weaving in and out of fights in the Molden Heath and surrounds with his compatriots in RANSM (Killboard banner is likely NSFW).

I knew of Sard for a long time before we spent some time in the same Alliance a while back. He's always up for a fight and willing to roam and take on the odds to get the elusive 'good fight.' He gets blobbed, scouted, his stream watched by the other side, killed, kills, but keeps playing.

It's his insightful comments prior to and after the fight that really make the stream infinitely more worth watching. As does the fitful pace that he engages in PvP. He doesn't wait it out in stations, he doesn't stop for very long, in fact this guy is a PvP machine. Like everything else in eve you have to create your own opportunities, and pvp is no different.

Last night I watched him get into a fight on a gate in Syndicate, he was roaming over by Poitot for hell knows what reason, but ended up in a 2 v 10 fight, managing to still squeak out a kill before going down to his 10 opponents. Just a few minutes later he has podded back out the MH and is back out looking for another fight, shipping up to a Mega, joined by two others, he then wipes the floor with 3 other BS, without taking a loss.

Streaming in Eve is a very dangerous proposition for so many reasons, most revolving around the amount of intel you are giving up by just having you screen shared with the internetz. Think of all the information you give up off the bat, your location, where you are headed, most of your fit, who you are with, what they are in, what kind of a fight you are ready for, exactly when that extra ship or two might be best served joining the fight.... etc etc. Anyone paying attention has everything needed to setup a counter-fleet and ample time to get ready for your arrival. Sard doesn't let this bother him, his theory is that if his opponents know of his stream, and use it to gather intel to counter him and his friends, they likely would not have engaged him without the intel provided by the stream. Although, to be polite, if he is headed your way he would greatly appreciate if you left his stream channel for the duration. Gotta keep some mystery in there right?

Sard also authors the not nearly updated enough blog, evebroadside. He is a true pioneer trying out the waters of streaming for the greater good of other eve players. He also does his best to stay in fights, limiting time docked up and ship spinning that would otherwise kill his stream and honestly make for pretty boring watching!

Sard goes more into his motivation and enjoyment of streaming in his post here :

If there are other Eve-streamers out there I would love to know! (and watch)

1 comment:

  1. There's a russian stream that's gotten a load of hits, but I haven't seen much of it. I know the guy does nullsec PvP, though that's not my thing and never bookmarked it. He's active enough, if you search twitch you can find it.

    Most EVE Online streams are run by people trying out the game for the first time or broadcasting running missions - super boring stuff to me. I don't think I'm going to be the last cat that tries doing this, but so far it's been a lot of fun and have enjoyed it considerably.

    Thanks for the shout out! I should head over to TXW some time to stream a STUGH fleet. =)