I'm going to keep this one rapid fire given that it's late and I'm doing my best to get ahead of my lack of sleep this week. I've already scheduled a night off from streaming on Tuesday so that I can get to bed early that night. I remember a time not so long ago where I would literally waste hours watching Vine video after Vine video. Now I'm scheduling more sleep. What is life?
That last line was pretentious, but this is rapid fire so we don't have time to backspace. In all serious though, I am taking the night off this coming Tuesday. It's the night before our Community Night so it seems only fitting to have a night to recharge. I think taking a break the night before will be the new standard. I've been preaching more about the importance of self-care and the constant battle against burnout but if I don't actually employ the words that I'm speaking then they're just hollow motions. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm in this for the long run, and in the grand scheme of things one night isn't going to derail me.
I spoke with a friend earlier this week and we talked about how when we all started we read that same advice, "always be on, always be consistent, no matter what." We trained ourselves to be caught in this , "go, go, go," mentality and it worked. But now we need to retrain ourselves and recongize that it's okay to take breaks. This has never been more evident than with how much these last few sentences come across as being self reassuring.
Streams have been really good to me this week. Monster Hunter World continues to be a fun romp but I'm dedicating less stream time to it so I don't know how much longer I'll be able to keep up with peers. We both started and finished Shadow of the Colossus this week and boy was that an incredible experience. Really felt like the perfect stream game in my opinion. Amazing boss battles with plenty of clippable 'wow' moments, all of which were perfectly paced with quiet down time to talk to chat in between. Happy to have finally added that game to my resume.
I did stream Yooka-Laylee this week but the game didn't hold my interest as much as I wanted it to. I may not have been in the right mindset to start this game but after I was given the chance to do a day stream this past Wednesday I needed an easy jump in and jump out game. What's really got my focus right now is playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the first time. I'll forever be late to the party on the Zelda games but having the chance to go back and correct these wrongs is great. I'm not that far into ALttP but I can already tell it's going to be a really fun stream experience.
If I had to square in on the biggest take away this week I think it would be just how bonkers everything is right now. The opening paragraph is quick to highlight the contrast in the ways I used to regulate my time, but the differences don't stop there. I'm on 'season three' of my streaming path and there's real history here. Saturday night we celebrated a 9 month long sub, thanks ArthurTheLastAncient, and they joked that we were having a sub baby. It blows my mind that I'm even in a position that we can make a joke like that. Never mind having a sub button for 9 months, but the fact that there are people who are using it? Bonkers.
The very first time I ever started doing QotW it was this idea that I was very self conscious about and even had a few people poke fun at it. Now there are people commenting how difficult it is to decide on which one to vote for. Bonkers. Which shout out to Bexsona by the way for suggesting the poll idea. Turning QotW into a Chatmocracy versus a Taptorship has breathed new life into the quote game and being able to highlight all the incredibly funny people in our group is my favorite part of the week.
We've been doing a weekly MCU Marathon where I get to geek out about my Marvel passions with others. There are even people who are messaging me their reactions to newer Marvel movies and their live thoughts as they watched the ones released to home video. Bonkers. I'm spoiled by the people in this community. We're heading into the third month of 2018 and it's been a pretty fun ride so far. Bumpy? Sure, but fun. There are things in motion that I can't talk about but it's an honor to be a part of these projects. Actually, one drops tomorrow morning and I'm super excited to share it with you.
Okay, this is a bad post, but it's a rapid fire post so there's little editing and forming these thoughts in a cohesive manner is out of the picture for now. Just know this, I can't thank this community enough. So much of what I am doing is a learning experience and I'm feeling more and more reassured that we're on the right path. I feel like I'm never the best at adequately communicating just how thankful I am whenever people show their generosity so I wanted to make sure I stepped back and said it again. Thank you. Life is bonkers right now, and I'm happy that I get to share it with you.
I think the biggest take away from this week is the ongoing drama that is my tier one emote and you better buckle up because I'm fully aware of how silly it seems to be so up and arms about this nonsense.
For those who don't know, I commissioned the wonderful Bilvy to create a Captain America lurk emote to be the new tier one emote on my channel. ThetapSeeks was the very first emote I had made and it will always have a special place in my heart but I felt like it was time for a change. As an affiliate, the only option I have to replace an emote is to delete the one that I currently have and then upload the new one. Pain in the ass? Sure, but it usually takes about a week for the emote to be approved and all the subs are back to enjoying their emote. Except for this time Twitch decided that my emote was against their rules and denied it. Apparently, "single letter emotes," are banned on Twitch. Let's just humor this idea that my Captain America emote is just that, a single letter, and examine how silly this is.
Yes, if there are a plethora of single letter emotes then people with ill intentions could use them to bypass filters and spell out offensive stuff. This is a reasonable rule, but only when followed. Gamersmack was the first to come to my defense and point out the litany of Super Mario emotes featuring the iconic M on his hat. You could make the argument that Mario gets a pass because of his iconography status in the video game space but the list of single letter emotes doesn't end there.
So yeah, "no single letter emotes," isn't exactly sitting well with me. It seems silly to be so upset about something like this given that this doesn't begin to crack the surface on some of the issues Twitch needs to focus on. I've had people advise me that this might not be worth fighting given that even larger streamers have a hard time winning this fight. I'm just angry that a lot of people are being restricted, unevenly, because of those who would abuse the system. A simple revision could fix it. I could replace the A, I could add a butt, I could do a lot of things, but all of those feel like admitting defeat in the face of something incredibly stupid. Which I won't.
The main issue is I keep coming back to how the people who sub to me are without an emote. If you asked anyone of them they'll tell you that they are there because they support me and they don't mind that the emote is gone. I love them for that but that's not good enough for me. I've said it before but I'll say it again, I will never disrespect the honor it is that people allow me into their lives. That they take time out of their day to watch the silly stuff I do online, and it blows my mind that some of them are even willing to spend money to support it. I shouldn't have to be caught in this limbo of Twitch deciding on what is and isn't appropriate, especially given I could probably replace Captain America's A with a butt and it would have been approved the first time. Even if this went off without a hitch and my emote was approved, the process is flawed. I hate that we have to take down the approved emote and then wait on pins and needles for Twitch to flip a coin and grant access to the next one. So maybe if Twitch could stop hiding behind their thinly veiled 'no single letter emote,' defense and offer up a better reasoning than what they're giving I wouldn't be so quick to lean towards favoritism. I wouldn't have spent money on this particular design. I wouldn't have asked an artist to spend their time creating it. For the people who are quick to offer up 'well if you don't like their rules then you don't have to stream on their platform,' I say you're right.
I experienced a lot of Internet issues this week and it finally culminated in a giant mess on Saturday. After a night of troubleshooting and hair pulling, I was finally led down the path of trying out Mixer. If you don't know what Mixer is, it's a different streaming platform that's on the rise. There are some pretty nifty features they've got to offer such as synced up multi-streaming and FTL stream delay which results in about a second delay. Unfortunately streaming to Mixer proved that my Internet woes weren't exclusive to Twitch but it did offer up a chance to see what the other side was like. I've been streaming for so long on Twitch that the question of streaming on another platform had never crossed my mind before. In fact, the very first month that I ever started streaming, Youtube gaming had recently launched and I was faced with a decision of going with Twitch or Youtube. Twitch is the top dog, there's no questioning that, but the chance to start on a new platform was enticing. As ProfessorBroman puts it, "being number one on the second largest streaming platform is nothing to sneeze at." Ultimately the community on Twitch is what won me over and I never thought about it again.
However, there was something exciting about being on a new platform this past Saturday. I was reminded of the early days when I was first starting and learning how to stream except I was comfortable this time. I was in a new space with a new reach and a chance to bring in even more people to this community. Yes, the backdrop of Internet hassle and missing a stream with my regulars was still weighing down on me but a spark was created this past Saturday.
The exclusivity clause does not otherwise restrict Affiliates from using other streaming platforms to do live streaming. For instance, an Affiliate is permitted to start a stream on Twitch and, after ending that stream, immediately start a new, separate stream on another platform -- assuming the Affiliate is not also using Twitch to broadcast that same content at the same time.
There's nothing preventing me from streaming on other platforms, (except maybe a broken Internet but I'll touch on that later), and so this idea of carving out time to stream in more places is exciting to me. Before you get the wrong idea I want to hammer home the point, I have no intentions of changing the schedule on Twitch whatsoever. Monday through Thursday as well as Saturdays, you know the drill. What I've got going for me is working right now but there's this new spark to start branching out and seeing how far I can take this content creating dream. The main goal for The Tap has always been to create your next favorite entertainment platform. So when I ask myself where my loyalties lie, Twitch, or you, the answer is always going to be you. The Internet is a history book of giants that never saw their end coming. Geocities, Xanga, Myspace, Aim, Vine, and so on. Who is to say where Twitch will be in the next five years, hell, who is to say where I'll be in the next five years? The goal for The Tap has always been to be your next favorite entertainment platform, no matter where we go.
Okay, that's enough chest puffing and anger for the rest of the blog. If you can't tell I'm pretty heated with this whole emote nonsense. Actually, at the height of it I got drunk Friday evening which started my Twitter rant, and although I'm pulling back, for now, I'm not done arguing about this. Instead, I wanted to provide an update on what's going on. If you were around Saturday you noticed that my Internet finally kicked the bucket. Frame drops and stream disconnects aren't new to me. They would rear their ugly head every now and then but they never seemed to last for more than a minute to two minutes. Ignoring this was my hubris slapping a band-aid called, 'that'll fix itself,' on the issue. I finally sucked it up and got an ISP tech out and he replaced a lot of old wires, I'm talking Road Runner days, and did some of his Internet magic. I ran a 'stream to twitch,' test for about 30 minutes at 6000 kbps and it was rock solid, which was more than could be said for Saturday. After that test seemed good I streamed to a secret test account and had some friends pop in to confirm that things are peachy. I gotta say that I wouldn't have been able to get this far if it wasn't for Bexsona, Gamersmack, VestofHolding, and MorninFrost helping me troubleshoot and test things Saturday night and Sunday afternoon (Thank You).
In conclusion, it's been a week. For a week of mounting frustrations, I'm glad it ended on a high note. I was really worried that my Internet woes would decommission me for a while but that's not the case. I'm happy that I'm going to be able to continue doing what I'm doing, and I'm even more excited to see how far I can branch this out. Moving forward I've still got to figure out what I'm going to do with my tier one sub-slot. The artist I use is still not taking commissions so I'm just waiting for that to open up because I can get a replacement for the Captain America one. Is this the last you've heard of the emote drama? Probably not. I know that keeping this argument might not be the wisest thing to do but I'm not done yet.
Remember when I said I was going to try and keep this blog updated every Sunday? Good times. I wanted to sit down and write a recap, no matter how brief, on how things have been since coming back to streaming. I think I was getting paralyzed by not knowing what to write every time I sat down but I'm going to approach it from the perspective of what I'd like to reread at the end of the year. Journaling 101 I suppose.
Take it from me, if you're ever going to take an extended amount of time away from streaming then there's no better way to come back to it than with a Multi-Monday with Careless Rex. The time away was nice but there was a creeping dread the closer I got to the end of the week that I was going to 'forget' how to do everything. If you're ever at the start of the stream I'll sometimes joke with the early lurkers that, "I quit. I forgot how to stream. Bye." Truth in jest, ya know? Fortunately for me, I had Rex to lean on as I eased back into the swing of things. We always hop into a discord call an hour before we go live and from the moment we connected we were picking back up right where we left off. Shook off the nerves and jumped right into the game and I knew that I was going to be okay. I think this is a perfect example on why networking's magic lies more in the art of making friends than with the 'what can you do for me,' mentality. Having someone (Rex) who understands not only the space (streaming) but what it's like to take an extended amount of time off was an invaluable resource and I can't thank him enough. (Thank you if you're reading Rex. If not, this friendship is over. Kidding or am I? Who knows, you're not reading.)
The other game I've been playing a lot lately is an indie game known as Celeste! If you haven't seen it yet I highly recommend you look it up because I guarantee that you're going to see this game pop up on 'Best Of' lists a lot by the end of the year. It's a beautiful 2D platformer that finds itself in the realm of Super Meat Boy difficulty. It balances the line between satisfying and difficult so that you're constantly caught in that tried and true trap of a carrot on a stick called you can do this. Maybe that's just me, but being bad at games is kinda my specialty. That being said though, it's worth your time, even if you aren't a fan of difficult games. I personally haven't used it yet (even though maybe I should), but there is an assist mode that helps you bridge some of the more difficult parts of the game. There's a backdrop of anxiety and insecurities with the game's narrative (What great timing by the way) and even though I'm only about halfway through, I think it's building towards a really nice story. Plus the humor is cute and the characters are, well, they're entertaining (Theo). It's not often that I split time during the stream schedule to service two games but I'm going to be juggling my time between Monster Hunter World and Celeste for sure. Also mainly because I need a reprieve from my strawberry obsession.
Remember when I said this was going to be brief? I guess I got carried away. It's easy to be paralyzed by doubt, as evident by the duration between these posts, but sometimes just sitting down and slowly chipping at it will make great headway. Doubt was the biggest culprit in me needing to take some time away and I keep hammering this point home because I'm hoping people can use this as an example whenever they're feeling down. Self-deprecation is the armor that I use from my own thoughts because my own thoughts used to hold too much power over me. By getting the, "I'm bad at this," out in the open I can hear how silly it sounds and then it becomes a joke. However, when that fails I hadn't taught myself how to handle it, and I started to believe what I was saying. Our doubt, fears, and insecurities, will always scream louder than reason, but they're hardly ever true. If you can find a way to silence them whether by speaking with friends or taking time to yourself you can silence them. You are more than your doubt.
Streamer, writer, creator. One day I woke up painfully aware of my existence and I've been apologizing for it ever since.
(WE START BY DIPPING THEM IN WARM MILK CHOCOLATE, AND ALLOWING TO REST FOR 15 MINUTES. THE COOKIES ARE THEN SERVED WITH A GLASS OF COLD MILK)