It was the winter of 2014, the coldest winter I have ever witnessed, here in Detroit, MI. My car was literally stuck in the street, covered with snow and ice, because it was too cold to even bare digging out. My friend Brian loaded up this brand-new game called Hearthstone, on his little white MacBook. I just remember feeling intimidated by the game, and not at all interested. He started to teach me about the minions, their health and attack, the heroes, the hero powers, giants, murlocs…etc. I gave it a try a few times, and pretty quickly got hooked. We would stay up all night drinking coffee, or wine, making crazy decks, and battling each other in Hearthstone. This winter was the beginning of a whole new life for me that I never would have imagined, and I thank my dear friend for that.
I started streaming Hearthstone in February of 2015, only for a short time. In 2016 my son Avi was born, and shortly after, in 2018, my daughter Rhea was born. I took a long break from Hearthstone during this time, because I just didn’t have much time for it. In 2019 I was unfortunately diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. My daughter was only 9 months old. I am not going to get into the long depressing process of the cancer story, but I will just say that I fought long and hard, it was the hardest time of my life, but fortunately, with the help of many Medical and Holistic Practitioners, I came out stronger than ever, and ultimately killed cancer. I am still struggling with lifelong health issues and disabilities due to the cancer treatment, but I am working every day to find new ways of healing myself, and am open to any new possibilities in research that may arise.
While I was going through treatments, I was playing lots of Hearthstone. Hearthstone helped me get through all the difficulties of the situation. After a few years of healing, I got myself back up and ready for streaming again, in January 2022. I think I streamed almost every day for a good year, making friends with my viewers, and engaging in other streams. I didn’t have any friends that would be interested in watching Hearthstone, so I never really bothered telling people I knew to watch me on twitch, they were never interested. So I had to sell myself from the start, hoping that my knowledge in deck building would get me ahead and seen somehow.
To become a Twitch affiliate you need to achieve a certain standard of viewers and followers and other achievements. I had achieved everything except for the average viewers. Between 2022 and 2023 my average viewers were pretty steadily at 1.7 the whole time. This year I was also pretty regularly making YouTube videos of the streams I thought were good. I would share my videos on Twitter and Facebook, but only in certain Hearthstone-related Facebook Group Forums. Eventually, the views on my YouTube videos were slowly rising. These videos were not very well edited, they were mostly just long clips of really good streams I had. Eventually, I learned to shorten the videos up to maybe just 3-4 games where I had a really interesting battle or win streak. According to the analytics on my YouTube videos, the proportion of views from external sites like Facebook was at 91% vs Twitter at 6%. I think this is really important for people to know in getting outreach, that Facebook may be a better place for promoting your streams and videos if you engage in the specific groups related to your content. I would stick to both, and as many others as you can possibly handle for good solid outreach. In January of 2023, I generated about 60 YouTube videos, and probably close to 300 live streams.
I was streaming one evening when all of a sudden I got a fairly decent raid from a former Hearthstone Streamer friend. She brought in about 16 people, and a few of them happened to be from the Hype Horizon team. TitoSantanaHS gave me a follow and seemed to enjoy my content, along with a few others. A few days later I saw that Tito was live streaming, so I decided to engage. He told me to sign up for the Hype Horizon team, and also informed me of an event he was hosting. I signed up for the team, and also made it a point to come to his event and engage with the community. A few weeks later I was accepted into the Hype Horizon Team as a Hype Rizing member. I believe the amount of time I had spent making YouTube videos and generating content for a year, really landed me the spot on the team.
When I was accepted into the team, I had mentioned that I was trying to get affiliated with Twitch, but I was having trouble reaching the 3 average viewer goal. They told me to give them 30 days on the team, and I would be affiliated. So for the whole month of January and February, I engaged with my team, rooted them on, and they all came to support my streams. Sure enough, 30 days later, I was affiliated with Twitch. I had been searching for a community like this all year, and it finally found me! I am super stoked to be a part of this team.
The owner of HypeHorizen, VengaDragon, had given me a few tips on my YouTube videos. I took his recommendation and made a short 5-minute clip of a really great match in my stream. Hype then gave me a nice comment on my video on YouTube, and the video got 380 views overnight. This was the first time that ever happened to one of my videos. I usually only average between 40-60 views. My views on my streams have doubled, and sometimes even tripled since joining this team, and it’s only been about 2 months. I am very excited to see what’s ahead.
Hearthstone, streaming, and engaging with others makes me happy. I spent a good year on something that many of my family members doubted, saying that I was wasting my time. To me, this was something I knew that I could do, something that I could handle, something that got me up and excited about every day. We have access to an endless world of possibilities with the use of the internet, social media, and streaming platforms. Whatever you’re into, there’s someone else out there who is probably into it too. Whatever drives you, whatever makes you happy, and able to keep going, keep doing that. Don’t worry about the negative comments some people may have, stay strong. What I’ve learned is that people like you for being you. People want to reconnect and engage with each other, and this is a great and safe way to do it. Get out there, reconnect, be yourself, engage, be heard, be friendly, and stay Hype!
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