So I’m going to start this blog off with a statement that is super cliche, “Stream what you want!”. I think that I have read that sentence, in one form or another, in just about every blog post I have ever seen on the topic of advice for small streamers, and it’s totally true to an extent. If you stream something you don’t enjoy on Twitch your viewers WILL know (THEY CAN SMELL FEAR! jk). You really can’t hide it if you don’t enjoy what you’re streaming, and that just makes it no fun for all parties involved, so just don’t do it.
“How do I get viewers on Twitch?” Just about every streamer has asked that question (internally or otherwise), and there are some pretty great articles/posts on reddit out there on the topic with sound advice. But even if you implement all those tips (ie. have a schedule, be consistent, communicate, etc.) it doesn’t really help if you don’t have any eyeballs on your channel. In comes game choice! I had a much longer blog post written before about how to pick a game (ie. between 100-1000 viewers, blah blah blah), but I’m all about actionable tips, so just pick one of the games below that you like and give it a shot. These are my top 10 games that got me new viewers right away, oh and these games on sale are all typically cheap, plus most have high replay-ability! 🙂
Note: I have included referral links under each title , you don’t have to use them but it helps support the blog. 🙂
1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Ok, if you’ve been on any gaming forum (or reddit in general) since 2011, you’ve probably seen the “Arrow in the knee” memes. This game was, and to some extent still is, super popular, with a very dedicated fan-base.
If this is your first play through, make sure and put that in the title! There are all sorts of people that will come in to help you out. Putting your build or the difficulty setting in the title as well helps to attract more people (play it on legendary difficulty and people will come in to watch you suffer! XD ).
You can get this game for super cheap, and if you choose to do everything in the game it’s freakin LONG, like hundreds of hours (giving you more time to make an impression). Creating a background for your character and a character aligned build can also help keep people entertained (ex. I made “Lizard Conan” so only 2h swords, regardless of what weapons I found). There are also a million mods (well, not literally, but there’s alot!) to make each play-through unique.
2. Life Is Strange
Ok, so I consider this less of a game and more of an AMAZING EXPERIENCE. For me the story was incredible, the soundtrack absolutely fantastic, and the art style perfect for the game (did I mention I’m a fan? XD ).
Enough fan-boying, there’s still a really big following for this game, and the fans are die-hard. Once again, if it’s your first play through, PUT IT IN THE TITLE. People want to see you go through the story for the first time, and I highly recommend having a face-cam, that way people can see your reactions and emotions as you progress.
The choices you make persist and change the future episodes making your play through personal. Be prepared for backseaters and spoilers in chat (having a mod purge stuff is helpful), I was lucky enough that the viewers who came in were respectful and didn’t spoil too much 😛 . Once you’re done you can always play through again in a few weeks/months and just make different choices!
Let me preface this with I LOVE horror movies, but horror games stress me the fuck out. This game was no exception, and the viewers loved it!
I guess I have a love hate relationship with Outlast. I love it for the stream I was able to have with all of the potential highlights and the lulz that chat had, but hate it for how stressed out I got while playing it.
If you’re easily scared like me then this will be a great game to stream for new viewership. Just let go and let yourself get into it, if you scream you scream. People love seeing streamers get scared (ex. Five Nights at Freddies), and if they see true terror in your face they’ll stick around for the full play through. Careful with the mic though, I tend to scream like an elementary school girl and it hurt some of my viewers ears (RIP).
Just a note though, I watched another streamer playing it and they were stone-faced the whole time, people would come in and leave after 5min. If video games don’t ever scare you, then this probably isn’t the game for you. Try and get into it, let yourself get surprised and don’t be too ashamed to scream!
If you have success with Outlast, then it also has DLC, Outlast: Whistleblower! Hooray for more stress!
4. Mass Effect
So Mass Effect is another one of those franchises that has a huge following. People love the characters and the story line and I now see why. It has a ton of voice acting so you don’t have to read everything plus your decisions have consequences that follow you through the game and into the sequels. The Paragon/Renegade system also gives the game a bit more depth, allowing the player to pick if they want to play as a stand-up citizen, huge dick-head, or something in between, with each having it’s own benefits, consequences, and cut-scenes.
I played Mass Effect on normal mode so I could just focus on the story line and chat interaction, but it has higher difficulty settings for those seeking a challenge. I must warn you though, much of the difficulty can come from the clunky cover mechanics and team control system, but if you get frustrated it just makes it that much better for your viewers!
Oh, plus if you make the right decisions you get to hook up with aliens! Chat loved these parts. 😛
5. XCOM 2
So XCOM 2 is a combination of turn based tile strategy and resource management simulator. The XCOM games are infamous for being difficult and unforgiving when it comes to mistakes, plus RNG-Jesus needs to be on your side ( 99% hit-chance, point blank misses anyone?). Combine that with “Ironman” mode, where if a character dies they’re gone forever (think Diablo hardcore), and you have a frustrating, nail-biting, yet oddly satisfying experience.
Another cool thing about the game is that you can pretty extensively customize your characters. This includes name, country, physical looks, language, and biography. What I did was start naming characters after viewers (even put it in the title “Ironman Mode With Viewer Characters, Come Let Me Get You Killed!”), which I then customized to make them look either similar to the viewer (if they had a picture), or however the fuck I felt they should look (had a great time trolling with this Kappa). I then created a bio for the characters on the fly, saying things like “She was a squirrel breeder in Alabama, until a freak SPAM frying accident gave her super powers. She then joined XCOM to make the world a better place for future squirrels.”, the more ridiculous the better!
Creating viewer characters made the chat go nuts since I think people were more involved with the game. Chat messages would come pouring in all the time with things like “PUT ME IN COACH!” or “Aww don’t make me run in there! You’re gonna get me killed!”. Just be prepared for quite a bit of back-seating since if you name a character after them they might want to pick their class, colors, etc. A couple times, when the back-seating got really intense with a few viewers, I purposely got their characters killed or left them behind. Many Kappas were had.
Playing Ironman mode (and putting that into the stream title) I felt was extremely important. This gives all of your decisions weight, makes the game much more difficult, and lets your stream title stand out from the rest.
6. Mass Effect 2
If you played through Mass Effect (and enjoyed it), you can just import your original character save. This will let your Mass Effect 2 play through be affected by the decisions you made in the original. I noticed that many of the people who were there for my play through of Mass Effect came along for the sequel which was really cool.
I really suggest playing through Mass Effect first, as many of the characters and themes persist to the sequels (hooray for more alien hook-ups!). Also, ideally you want to buy it on sale with all the DLC (namely “Lair of the Shadow Broker”), but the base game by itself is almost always on sale somewhere.
So on first glance Undertale might just look like some shitty Game Maker game. I know when someone recommended it for the first time to me all I could think was “wtf is with these crappy graphics?”. Don’t let it’s outward appearances fool you! Undertale has challenging combat (think “bullet hell”), unique character design/animation, an awesome story, great music , in-depth enemies (most if not all enemies have hidden game mechanics), and memorable characters.
I don’t want to say much more than this otherwise I might spoil, but go play it! The Undertale community is welcoming and helpful, and I had a number of people who stayed even for a replay of the game. The game is totally worth replaying for different endings and some of the bosses can be challenging/frustrating, but are still satisfying to beat.
8. Fallout 4
I played the original Fallout (tile, turn-based strategy) when it came out and it was cool to be able to explore the wasteland as an FPS. Fallout 3 had a massive following and Fallout 4 has much of the same looks so I think much of the fan-base transitioned to the newer one. It felt to me like Skyrim with guns, plus base building, which was fantastic.
One suggestion, spend quite a bit of time in the character creation screen just exploring what you can do. The character creation screen alone gives you some potential highlight material if you do color commentary during the whole thing. There are so many customization options so I made my character as hideous/ridiculous as possible, and played in third person so people could see him all the time. People would come in and chat would blow up anytime I got into a dialogue screen (“OMG WTF IS WRONG WITH YOUR CHARACTER?!”), it was glorious! I even put an intriguing reference to it in my stream titles (“Come See My Character! Project Pretty Face”) and people would come in just to see the character.
There’s also a TON to do in this game, so if you get it on sale you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. If you do finish everything (hundreds of hours) there’s always DLC, base building, the crazy hard “survival” difficulty (you have to eat, sleep, enemies are harder, and no save game scumming!), and a ton of mods to keep you going!
9. Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unleashed
As far as I’ve seen, Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) still has a pretty solid player-base and active community, but few streamers. This is ideal for small streamers since it will be much easier to get noticed, and you can play with viewers who have the game!
Just have to warn people who have played any of the Elder Scrolls games (like Skyrim), it doesn’t feel at all like a traditional Elder Scrolls game. With that being said, I really enjoy the fast paced combat, and had a great time with both PvE and PvP.
It’s buy to play, and while you can typically get the base game on sale for relatively cheap, you still need to purchase any of the DLC that you want to play. In my experience, since I was new to the game, the base game had a ton of content to keep new players busy for quite some time.
10. Guild Wars 2
Another MMO with an active community and few streamers, Guild Wars 2 is probably my favorite MMO at the moment. It caters to the casual and hardcore alike, there’s a ton of stuff to do ( PvP, PvE, jumping puzzles, group challenges, raids, crafting, etc.), and you can always start gear collecting for the sake of fashion.
Guild Wars 2 is amazing for playing with your chat. It’s a free to play game with restrictions that don’t destroy your enjoyment, and you just have to be on the same regional server (NA/EU). PvP scales everyone to the same level so you can jump right into the fray with viewers, and it scales you down to the area level in PvE so you can help viewers or they can help you.
The expansion gets you some quality of life improvements and extras (new spec choices and a new character profession), plus it supports the developers (GREAT WORK GUILD WARS 2 TEAM!). It’s still cheaper than most AAA titles with MMO sub fee. It’s free, go try it out!
So those were the top 10 titles I had that got me new viewers quickly. While your mileage may vary, all of the above games have a large enough fan-base and small enough streamer count to give you a chance at grabbing new views. Remember though, while the game can get you the eye-balls, it’s YOU that keeps them coming back.
Suggestions on more games that could help people get viewers? Have success/failure with any of the games I mentioned above? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @Legbracestv! I’d love to hear your feedback!