Dripping the Stream

Had you told me even two years ago that I’d be watching people play Dungeons & Dragons online for fun, I would have laughed. Laughed in your lying face. And had you told me that I’d be joining 35,000 other viewers watching live I think I would have just rolled my eyes. Like if you told me something truly ridiculous, like the sky would turn bright fuchsia or that bacon cured cancer. No way. Not possible.

Sure, a few people will watch Acquisitions Incorporated live, but that’s 15% playing D&D and 80% funny people being funny for an audience. (The remaining 5% is Patrick Rothfuss over-complicating things.) But watch a D&D campaign played straight? Not a chance.

It doesn’t feel like something people would do. The common logic is “why watch people play when you could play?” But, then again, people watch hockey. And football: both gridiron and real. Oh man do people watch other people play football… So, how is D&D and other RPGs really any different? I dunno… for the longest time I would just say it is, that it’s less interesting and engaging that participating.

And yet here we are. Every Thursday, for a few hours, #CriticalRole trends on Twitter. Wizards of the Coast has Dice, Camera, Action and there are numerous other games being streamed on Twitter. There are a couple DMs who literally make a living running D&D games on twitch for donations. Crazy.