Late last month we saw the addition of two major updates to the game. One being Araxxor the much anticipated solo/duo boss and the other being RuneScape integrating with Twitch TV. Both of these were major updates, however, there was a lack of promotion and fanfare in relation to the Twitch integration – which frankly, boggles my mind. Of course this was partially due to the fact that a new boss was added the same day. Both the players and Jagex naturally focused on Araxxor instead of the Twitch integration. However, with that being said, RuneScape’s Twitch integration is a major update in its own right and should get its 15 minutes of fame. I believe this update has the potential to have a very positive effect on the game. I want to take you through what it is, how it works, and what it can do for RuneScape. Before we get started, let’s lay some groundwork about what streaming is and why people watch it.
But Tanis, I just don’t get it.
I understand the feeling. I didn’t get it either until RuneScape came out with their Twitch integration. I thought, why on earth do I want to watch someone else play when I could be playing the game? It reminded me of my childhood playing Super Mario Brothers with my brother and having to wait for my turn wishing he would just fall down a hole or something so I could start playing. It was sheer boredom. I’m sure there are many girlfriends out there that can attest to the fact that watching their boyfriends play a videogame is like watching paint dry. As it turns out there is so much more to it than that. Streaming has been around for quite a while now but it’s really started to come into its own the last couple of years. The reason why is that streaming on Twitch is much more than just watching a videogame. To be a good streamer you have to have three components. You have to be proficient at the game you’re playing, you need to be personable and engaging with the audience, and finally you have to be a bit of a DJ to help keep your audience entertained. In short you have to be an entertainer if you want to make a go at streaming. I mean who didn’t daydream of playing video games and being a radio/TV personality all while being a DJ.
How it Works
RuneScape has added a tab to the community button which says Twitch. All you have to do is click on that tab and it brings up the Twitch menu. You put in your Twitch username and password and hit continue. Next you give your broadcast a title and then it’s time to adjust your settings or just let RuneScape automatically set your quality and resolution for you. Then you check if you are going to have a microphone or a Webcam enabled and presto hit the broadcast button and you are live my friend. Yeah it’s that easy.
What this does, in essence, is alleviates the need to have another broadcasting software broadcast for you. If you are using RuneScape’s Twitch integration you don’t need Open Broadcasting Software (OBS) or X Split or any other broadcasting software out there. You literally broadcast via RuneScape itself. This makes streaming extremely convenient and opens it up to a whole new group of people. The other nice feature of this is when you open up your Twitch tab there is a list of people that are streaming RuneScape at that time and you can just click on one of them and watch their stream. As with anything in life there are pros and cons to using RuneScape Twitch integration versus another broadcasting software.
Pros and Cons
One really nice feature of RuneScape Twitch integration is the Twitch chat box. When you go live from RuneScape it brings up a chat box that has your Twitch chat and another tab that tells you how many viewers you have at the time. This is really convenient for those who stream with one monitor. A lot of streamers use dual monitors but for those who don’t have dual monitors you either have to cut your game window down so that you can also have your Twitch chat visible, or you have to use various shady software to project the chat on top of your game. Neither method is very elegant and RuneScape did a really good job at solving this problem. As I mentioned before, engaging with the audience is one of the most important things you can do as a streamer. For example, if anyone has watched RealRegicidal, also known as Mod Lee, and his interaction with his audience, it is awe inspiring. He greets every viewer and answers every question and is someone that any aspiring streamer can look up to. The other thing that RuneScape Twitch integration does well is it provides a quality stream without the need to know how to get your settings just right. The auto setup works pretty well and anyone with a moderately powerful desktop can crank the settings up to 100% and have no problems. It’s smooth, sleek, and reactive. Overall I am pleased with the way it turned out.
The downside is the convenience and usability comes at a price. You lose a lot in the way of functionality and features that you can add in on other broadcasting software where it is not possible to do so with RuneScape’s Twitch integration. For example, if you are using OBS you can create a sub region which shows the title of the music track your playing you can also do the same thing with Twitch alerts such as when you get a new follower or donation. Neither of these things are possible using RuneScape’s integration. The other major drawback, and maybe the biggest drawback, is that with RuneScape’s integration you can’t switch worlds and continue to have the stream live, you literally have to stop your broadcast, change world, and then start a new broadcast. Obviously this isn’t good for continuity and it can be confusing for your audience. Another thing that you can’t do with RuneScape’s integration is put up a ‘be right back’ slide when you have to use the restroom or what have you. This is something that you can do in OBS and other broadcasting software and it helps to keep your audience engaged and lets them know that you will be returning shortly. All in all RuneScape’s Twitch integration is great for beginner streamers and it’s great to be able to watch a stream in game, however, a serious streamer will use one of the other broadcasting software’s because it does offer so much more in the way of features and functionality.
What does this mean for RuneScape?
The most obvious effect that Twitch integration could potentially have on RuneScape is raising the profile of the game. It’s possible that many people will start streaming RuneScape because it’s so easy to do now. This in turn could bring a new audience to RuneScape. People that are looking around on Twitch for something to watch may see RuneScape and think, “oh, that looks like a cool game, maybe I’ll give it a try” or someone may have left the game years ago and see it now and go “wow, I like what they’ve done with the place, I think I’m going to go back”. It could also be a bit of free advertising for Jagex and that is always a good thing. Along with raising RuneScape’s profile there are also many things you can do with this update that you might not think of on the surface. If you think outside the box the possibilities are endless. For example, you may have a trusted friend that is really good at a certain boss but you’re not really ready to put your bank on the line to go fight it. Now having that person tell you how to do it is one way, but can you imagine actually getting to watch them do it, watch their movements, see how they are setting up their ability bar and their interface, and how they navigate the mechanics of the boss. It could be a great training tool. Also, with August being clan month and the Clan Cup coming up, think about the possibility of giving a recruitment class a virtual tour of the Citadel. You can do this now just have them tune in to your stream. As I said before, the possibilities are endless. Don’t underestimate the power of this update to help players learn the game.
This update didn’t get the attention or fanfare it deserved and was completely overshadowed by the release of Araxxor. It’s a good update and other games have already done the same thing and we will probably be seeing more games integrate with Twitch. Yes there are trade-offs, and yes an advanced streamer will probably not utilize this, but it is great for beginners and could really raise the profile of RuneScape in the long run. I know it has introduced me to the streaming phenomenon and I have even been trying it out myself. I don’t think without this update that I would’ve ever ventured down this road and I would have never learned as much as I have about streaming and how to use different software. In that respect, what’s not to love? Until next time, happy RuneScaping.