Streaming Campaigns - what do you like?

Watching a TTRPG stream, what format do you like best?

  • One shot adventures (different each week)

    Votes: 2 9.5%
  • Mini-series Campaign (4-10 episodes)

    Votes: 18 85.7%
  • Long Campaign (30+ episodes)

    Votes: 1 4.8%

Jaraxle_Sym

Villager
Hey, I'm part of a content studio doing game and campaign streams on Twitch and Youtube.
We're trying to get some feedback, to aid in making some program decisions.

You can help!

Easy question to start, it's just pick what format/length you prefer.
Thanks in advance for everyone's feedback!
 

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Jaraxle_Sym

Villager
Thanks Whizbang. I was struggling with how many options to put in for lengths. Since some like Crit Role are over 100 eps, "Long" is pretty subjective. Maybe I should have made 4 options, to give a better breadth of lengths...
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I've tried to get into various live plays but the only one I can stand watching is Critical Role, but even that is wearing thin. I didn't watch until well into C2. My first was their Call of Cthulhu one-shot. I liked the cast so tried the first episode of C2 and was hooked. I've tried other CoC live plays. None caught my interest. Most seem to treat it like a game first instead of a show for an audience or they practically overlook the game and overly produce the show. I don't know. It's weird. CR hits that sweet spot of game, show, and charismatic cast who seem to honestly enjoy playing and hanging out together. Most others seem way too forced or not engaging. Maybe it's just lightning in a bottle.
 

Jaraxle_Sym

Villager
I've tried to get into various live plays but the only one I can stand watching is Critical Role, but even that is wearing thin. I didn't watch until well into C2. My first was their Call of Cthulhu one-shot. I liked the cast so tried the first episode of C2 and was hooked. I've tried other CoC live plays. None caught my interest. Most seem to treat it like a game first instead of a show for an audience or they practically overlook the game and overly produce the show. I don't know. It's weird. CR hits that sweet spot of game, show, and charismatic cast who seem to honestly enjoy playing and hanging out together. Most others seem way too forced or not engaging. Maybe it's just lightning in a bottle.
Yeah, it's hard to figure the sweet spot for a lot of aspects. Covid messed up our plans, our main show, Ready to Roll, was planned to have live re-enactments for most episodes. Our studio is made up of a lot of people from film/movie production so the re-enactments are pretty high end. But we couldn't do as much of that as we wanted, so we've had to settle for probably 4 standalone re-enactments of the game play from particular episodes. We did do each episode as closer to an hour (27 eps), to try and make them easier for people to fit into their viewing time. Attached a look at the players dressed as their characters.

Hard determining what length of series is best, since you've got everything from the single shot adventures to campaigns in the hundred + episodes. All the feedback here can help a lot and is much appreciated!

rtr-from-afl.jpg
 

I don't watch live plays, tried a few times but I don't have the patience to sit through 2-3 hours a week. The few that I have watched (which is very few) I preferred short 1 shots or 1-3 sessions I might be interested provided I like the players and their characters and the story. I wouldn't be interested in campaign that is too lore heavy, backstory and a grand metaplot. I'd watch to see how other people DM and play their characters to get ideas rather than the actual plot/adventure itself.
 


I hardly watch actual plays these days, but back when I was more into it, I particularly liked either one shots (esp. Acq:Inc games run by Chris Perkins) or shorter series (my favourites were the Acq:Inc web series with its 30-45 minute chunks and the Geek&Sundry live plays of Dread). Stuff like Critical Role can work (I watch season 1), but I find it a bit tiring to watch shows that run longer than 90 minutes.
 

Jaraxle_Sym

Villager
I almost entirely listen to liveplays as podcasts, for what it's worth.

And yeah, having professional performers involved makes a huge difference: I love Dimension 20, Not Another D&D Podcast and Nerd Poker for that reason.

Yeah, I'd like to think most of the cast for our shows are pretty good, so many in the company having come from film/movies, I'm in the minority here having not worked on tv shows or movies.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
For me it is more about the length of each episode. Two hours is the max and that is only because I am listening to them in podcast form. I have really enjoyed long campaigns, like Glass Canon Podcast's first campaign, but it can be daunting to get into a campaign with so much content. Whatever the length of the campaign, the first episode has to really grab me and the subsequent episodes need to keep my on the hook to get me to the point where I'm invested in the campaign and willing to overlook episodes that fall flat.

There are very few live-play campaigns that I have listed to every or even most of the episodes. It isn't so much that I quit them, but there is so much content to choose from that unless I'm actually exited to listen to a new (or another existing) episode, it is really easy to ignore them and listen to something else. Usually, I just find that I haven't listened to any new episodes for a couple of months and I remove it from my subscription in Pocket Casts.

Some recommendations, based on my personal preferences, are:

1. If you are recording it as streamed/recorded video, make sure that it works well in an audio-only format. I don't have time to sit down and watch hours of actual play. Other than Acquisitions Incorporated's PAX shows, I only listed to them. If I feel like I'm missing out on a lot by not seeing what is going on, I'll likely lose interest. I would think that more people listen to live play pod casts than watch streaming and youtube of them, but I have no idea. I might be out of touch. Still, a LOT of people prefer the podcast format and you'll be giving up on a sizeable potential audience by ignoring their needs and preferences.

2. Invest in good equipment and training to properly mike, mix, and edit. Godsfall was a revelation the first time I listened to it. I don't think all podcasts have to have that level of production, but as more and more live play podcasts have become more professional, I find I have a lot less tolerance for poor recordings.

3. Focus on and lean into the fact that this is a game. I want the at-table game experience to come through, otherwise I can just listed to a scripted audio show or improvisational story-telling show. There are different ways to do this and it can be hard to balance. I like some discussion of rules but I don't want to listen to long arguments of expositions any more than I like long rules-lawyering arguments when I play. Godfall had some interesting conventions, especially in the early episodes of the first campaign, where when the DM would make a ruling at the table, a ding or buzz sound effect would be added to indicate whether his ruling was correct per the rules or not. When he got it wrong, he would have a quick outtake explaining his mistake in the correct rule. It may sound boring or disruptive, but the editing was done so well, I felt that it really added to the experience. Glass Canon Podcast is another one that handles this well but they just work it into their banter. Some times they would have an outake or they would have "Nerdage" segment. The good-natured adversarial relationship between the DM and the players, their knowledge of the rules, and their humor made even rules disputes fun to listen to. I think all of this is even more important for non-DnD games. If it is a lesser-known rules system, I want to have some understanding of the rules being used. Part of the fun of a live play podcast is learning a new system.

4. Determine what style of live-play game show it is, but mix it up. Are you going for campy humor? Drama? Horror? Some live-plays jump all over the place. Others lean too heavily into one aspect and become tiresome. I find this a pitfall of many that focus on humor. For example, at first I really liked Dragon Friends. They had an innovative format with two DMs and live musicians with all the players being skilled comedy improv actors. But I quickly found it to be tiresome and just couldn't get invested in the characters or story. On the horror side, I at first liked Dark Dice, but it also got old fast for me.

For what its worth, here are the actual play podcasts that I have listened to for more than just a few episodes:

  • Glass Canon Podcast. Their first campaign of their flagship podcast is the gold standard for me. I listened to every episode of this campaign that spanned years (they ran the entire Rise of the Runelords campaign using Pathfinder 1e rules). But I never got into any of their other campaigns for more than a few episodes.

  • Not Another D&D Podcast. Perhaps the best comedy campaign. But their are meaningful, dramatic moments as well. I've only listened to their first campaign all the way through. Their other story lines never kept me hooked. But I keep it on my playlist for their Dice Court episodes.

  • Godsfall. Impressive production values and I really like the world and story. But after the first season I started getting luke warm on the story. Then a poorly run Kickstarter the creator basically quit on and ghosted his backers, basically turned me off on that creator.

  • Critical Role. I listened to a lot of the first campaign, but the episodes are just too long. I backed and will continue to watch their Amazon animated series, but I just don't have any interest investing the time into following their live play.

  • Dark Dice. I know I finished the first season and I think I finished the second. But I just got tired of the unrelenting grim-dark setting.

  • Acquisitions Incorporated. Besides the PAX game I listened to all of their original podcast episodes. The original group of players was magic, even if the production values sucked. I still watch all of the PAX games, but I don't bother following any of the other related live plays (e.g., the "C Team").

  • Dice, Camera, Action! I watched the entire Curse of Strahd live play. But I never got into any of their subsequent campaigns. I really like the original group of players and love Chris Perkins as a DM. It is too bad that the controversy over the actions of one of the players broke up that group.
I've sampled episodes from a number of other live-play podcasts, but rarely listen to more that one or two episodes.
 

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