Community Spotlight: Zao Amadeus
With the introduction to EVE Online of Twitch.tv integration, steaming EVE has become easier than ever. But while anyone can push a few buttons and stream their gameplay, it's a lot more difficult to stream well. When asked who should be featured in a Community Spotlight, one name was recommended numerous times as a fantastic streamer. That is Zao Amadeus.
Zao is nearly an original. He joined EVE Online in the distant past of 2004, back when the PCU was numbered in thousands and a battleship was more mythical than a Titan is today. In those early days of EVE, Zao happened to be with a few friends at a LAN center and was introduced to the game. He was immediately hooked, blown away by the depth and complexity of the game. Though the friends he started playing with have moved on or are off-and-on players, Zao has stuck with it throughout, even when things like military service interfered.
After leaving said military and beginning college, Zao found himself spending a large amount of his free time watching streams. He watched such luminaries as Day, LeathalFrag, and ManvsGame for his entertainment rather than watching TV. Inspired by these excellent streamers, because EVE was the main game he played, he decided to start streaming EVE.
He began by researching other EVE streams and trying to find something they were missing that he could get into. What he noticed was that, of the EVE streams available, there was very little solo PVP and the majority of the solo content was slow. The streams were great, but the amount of fights they got were less than what he thought could be achieved.
Thus his idea for a stream was formed.
In his 9+ years of playing EVE, Zao has done plenty of different things in EVE. He helped with null sec war efforts, he sold bookmark packs in the days before Warp to Zero, and made ISK in wormholes. Eventually, he decided he wanted to PVP more than PVE, so he dumped all his money into more PVP. Shortly after this decision, he learned about Red vs Blue. He sought them out as a drop in way to get more fights on a limited schedule and joined up.
This provided the perfect synergy for his stream. He wanted to showcase entry-level PVP with a fight ratio at or above 10 fights an hour. The constant action of RvB let him do exactly that. He was also able to explain what he was doing and how he was doing it for anyone who was watching his stream. This way, he could help new and budding solo PVPers learn the tricks of the trade.
From day one, the EVE community has been incredibly supportive of the stream and Zao, both in-game and out. Every time he turns on the stream, he's brought back to the feeling of sitting in the LAN center with his best friends playing games. Even as his stream has branched out into other games, the EVE community has remained supportive and it remains his number one game and source of viewership.
In addition to showing off solo PVP, Zao has also branched out in EVE, and has begun showing off different styles of PVP on a regular schedule. While he continues to run his standard stream on Fridays between 10:00 AM and 02:00 PM EST (that's currently 15:00 and 19:00 EVE time), he also showcases “alternative PVP” on Mondays, and teaches about fighting in a cruiser of batllecruiser on Wednesdays. He also streams more EVE on the weekends, if he has the time and inclination.
Challenges and Memories
The biggest issue Zao has run into with his streams is the inevitable crunch all of us have felt at one time or another; time. As a father of two, finding a regular time to try and stream consistently is difficult. Because of this, despite his regular schedule, he sometimes has to switch it around.
Of course, there are more intricate challenges as well. Stream sniping is a well known issue for people who stream competitive games and EVE streamers are no different. People will try to use the intel he broadcasts to come and blow Zao up. But Zao has taken this in stride; while many EVE streamers use overlays to block parts of their streams, Zao has decided to keep an open overview.
This has forced him to take other measures to prevent stream sniping. His main method is simply to not care much about it. Of course, there are cases when he wants to avoid it, so he keeps tabs on names in the systems he's flying through to watch out for anyone who seems to be too good at following him. He also fights in agile ships and is very aggressive, always moving around and hunting for a fight, which makes it much harder to track him.
Of course, the stream is not all challenges. There are many great memories formed as well! He's had many memorable fights, such as winning a fight against an Enyo in an Imicus, taking on two others while flying a Scythe Fleet Issue that started off the fight in armor, and even miserably failing in a prototype Thrasher fit.
What makes these fights more memorable than any simple PVP is the fact he's streaming and others are watching. The people give active feedback and often times the ships he fights in were donated by his viewers. This makes it much more than simple fights.
However, his viewers have surpassed even that. Once, he mentioned he may have time to go to Fanfest on stream, but that he lacked the means to get there. Immediately, people began to donate ISK for PLEX to buy the Fanfest ticket with and began raising money to help with the flight and hotel. Another streamer, Rushlock, took on the charge and in the following few days they were able to raise enough for Zao to purchase tickets to Fanfest and the pubcrawl. He's also only $800 off his goal for the flight, which given the time left before Fanfest, seems like a perfectly reachable goal.
Zao loves EVE and has for a long time. He loves to stream EVE as well and plans to continue doing so for as long as he plays EVE. One day, he hopes to become a Twitch partner to do what his mother always told him was impossible and get paid to play video games. But most of all, he wants to continue to grow the stream community and make people more aware of EVE and more comfortable with solo PVP.
He sees EVE as being an important part in the rise of streaming as a common entertainment format. Because of EVE's complex nature, it has had a slow start, but that complexity, combined with the sandbox, is what will give people unique opportunities to come up with inventive and inspiring stream content. The EVE market on Twitch is not saturated and has plenty of room to grow. He hopes that one day EVE will make the front page of Twitch on a daily basis and bring new players to the game. Zao looks forward to the day he can sit down at any time of day and have a multitude of choices of interesting and varied EVE streams.
Zao would like to offer a huge thank you to everyone that took the opportunity to express that they wanted to see the stream in this here Community Spotlight. And he'd additionally like to thank everyone who has had a hand in supporting him while he streamed. He wants to let people know that if they're interested in streaming EVE content, the community is amazing and incredibly friendly. The majority of EVE streamers share viewers and love to see more people streaming EVE. If anyone has any questions about starting a stream or getting one moving, they can feel free to contact him via Twitch and he'll get you on the right track.