The landscape of streamers is always changing. However, longtime streamer Octavian “Kripparrian” Morosan seems forever steady as a rock. Just recently finishing his first week-long streamathon, the Hearthstone-focused content creator shows no signs of ever slowing down. Inven Global had the chance to sit down with Kripparrian and discuss his thoughts on Hearthstone, the streaming industry, and his future plans.
You just recently finished your first week-long streaming marathon. That's been a popular trend recently — what was that experience like for you?
So to clarify, I don't know what all the people who did streamathons did, but I think I slept an average of four hours a night for nearly eight days. So it was pretty heavy game time. It wasn't like too much hanging out and stuff. I tried to play as many games as I could. I was taking care of our two doggos because my wife Rania was seeing her family. And unfortunately, the big doggo, Dex, was barking because there was like a rolling thunderstorm.
It only happens a few times a year. But on one of the nights that there was a rolling thunderstorm, the little doggo corgi, Faye, had stomach problems because… The dogs are smarter than they let on, I guess. She knew we were recording the stream when we were doing doggo playtime. And I think she ran extra hard and hurt herself inside her stomach. She was fine after a day.
But basically, right at the start, I slept just a couple of hours on three of the first four or five days. So it was a bit of a rough start. But on the last day of the streamathon, I was actually feeling pretty fine because I slept what is pretty normal for a full night for me and I was ready to go a little bit more but you got to kind of be a little bit moderate sometimes.
Is it something you would consider doing in the future — perhaps longer than a week?
If I sleep six hours a day, I can do it forever. It's not really that big of a deal. Playing video games, being on the computer is not taxing for me in any way. But I was trying to push it. There was also a new Path of Exile league so I was really trying to push the game time as well. I think we are going to do something similar when Diablo II: Resurrected releases. And I think overall, it was a good experience after some lessons learned. And we'll probably try it again on the next POE league. We'll see how that goes and maybe do it regularly.
On Final Fantasy XIV and return to WoW: “I will have to consider things again when they inevitably release [WOTLK Classic]”
You’re someone that back in the day was somewhat critical of Final Fantasy XIV. What has been your opinion of the ridiculous growth that we’ve seen in that game?
I don't think it's really fair to say someone's opinion Final Fantasy XIV and then just write it in stone. Most of the issues that I had with Final Fantasy XIV were in regards to the version of the game that was launched. This was eight years ago. The game they launched did have a number of issues. It was really slow, it was really crowded. There wasn't any sense of a fun community at that time.
There were also… I remember when it was first playable, you were not allowed to produce any digital media in video form. They were hardcore DMCA'ing everything. And they gave the exclusive to someone on the Yogscast or something. At the time, I didn't think that did a very good job with the videos even so it was kind of like a messy rollout. I didn't enjoy it that much.
I ended up playing Final Fantasy again three or four years later and actually did enjoy it quite a bit. The time difference between now, then, and the first time I played was a bit too long for me to tell you much of the details of that. But the last time I played it was like five years ago or something. I did have a good experience. And it seems there's been a lot of Fallout and World of Warcraft players that have recently begun to discover and enjoy the game. That sounds great. Honestly, if World of Warcraft veterans are enjoying something, there's probably something to it. They are a very, very critical group of gamers. If something isn't fun, they're going to tell you.
Have you considered returning to the game in any capacity?
The issue with MMOs is that for me to enjoy them, I have to play them as my main game, and I'm just not too interested in doing that. I've often been tempted with the rereleases of vanilla WoW and Burning Crusade. My favorite expansion in World of Warcraft of all time is Wrath of Lich King so I guess I will have to consider things again when they, I suppose, inevitably release that on the classic servers.
I'm always battling this thing, where I know I'm gonna have a good time playing the game, but to do that, I have to really commit to playing it. And I'm just not sure I want to go there right now. In fact, I don't really want to go there right now. Which is why I haven't played an MMO in a while.
On Battlegrounds and making Hearthstone better: "It's hard to say what Hearthstone is missing"
It seems you play Battegrounds a lot more than your original bread-and-butter Arena. Why is this? Do you have any plans to return to Arena?
When Battlegrounds was released, it was just a lot more fun to play. I still really enjoy most of the time I played Battlegrounds. Yes, it has its issues and stuff, and certainly, it's not a fun experience every time you play. Nothing is in Hearthstone, it's a matter of chance.
Now, one thing I really liked about Arena is being a player that had the full depth of knowledge and probabilities. Knowing that, if I'm queuing up at seven wins and one loss, most likely I'm against someone else around seven wins and one loss. And let's say if they're a Mage, I know that on this win bracket, I should expect to face two to three Flamestrikes, three to four fireballs, and I need to play accordingly. And playing at that level requires a lot of time. It's kind of similar to the argument I have with MMO games, where if you're really going to enjoy it, you have to really commit to the game mode. And with how much fun I have playing Battlegrounds — I do play the odd Arena every now and then, especially around new expansion launch — but I don't see myself playing regularly enough to play it on that level to get that from the game as I once did.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming Mercenaries mode?
We don't really know anything about the new Mercenaries mode. Even someone like me who sometimes gets early access and all that kind of stuff. I don't know a thing that the public doesn't know. Most of the information we have on the Mercenaries mode is the screenshots they gave us at BlizzConline a year ago. And if we're being frank, it looks like a Hearthstone adaptation of Slay the Spire, which I think is going to be fantastic because Spire has good systems — I don't expect Hearthstone will adapt weaker systems. And Hearthstone has a better IP, it has better art design, it has a bigger community. So yeah, I expect it to do really well. And I do plan to play it. And if it's really, really fun, that's what we're gonna do in Hearthstone, right? So that's kind of an exciting way to think about the game. As old as it might be, it's not really the same game year after year.
If you had the dev's ears, what would be one of the main suggestions they would have to make Hearthstone better? What do you think is missing right now?
It's hard to say what Hearthstone is missing. In terms of the development cycle, I feel there's not enough attention to maintaining the game: keeping it bug-free, keeping it bot-free. I think too much of the focus is on producing new content, which I think they do a very good job with — I actually have very few criticisms with that. Obviously, not all the content they produce turns out to be fun or balanced or whatever. But that's not a realistic expectation that a gamer can really have.
But when I play Battlegrounds, I'm facing the same bugs on a regular basis. There's the Wi-Fi disconnected bug that I experience every three hours playing the game. There are performance issues with Battlegrounds. In terms of the game mechanics, I think there's way too much damage done on the high end. I've been saying they should implement a damage cap for like a year and a half now. And I think that they're actually going through with it. I think Iksar had tweeted something about working with a damage cap just the other day.
So the new content that the Hearthstone team pushes out is very good. I would just like to see more going back over things, fixing bugs, fixing performance issues, fixing some of the issues rather than just constantly moving forward.
On streaming on YouTube and why it's bad for business
You’re someone that has a large YouTube presence — has it ever been a consideration for you to stream there instead?
So Rania and I are coming up on eight years of working on the content. She's been doing all the video editing for the greater part of the last decade. And we run this as a business. And to be frank, the business is better if streaming is done on Twitch.
It's something that we considered a few years ago, because YouTube streaming was starting to get some traction. I don't want to say blowing up or whatever — because, yeah, it blew up — but it's still a small fraction of what Twitch streaming is. The main issue that we faced with YouTube is that YouTube's algorithms for the VOD system — the regular videos — have always been very quirky. Historically, the bigger content creators have taken advantage of it, the bigger guys stay on top as a result. So there's a lot of very weird stuff that happens with the algorithm.
And in recent years on YouTube, if you don't have a favorable algorithm, even people that subscribe to you will not see your videos in their subscription feed. We've even had discussions with YouTube representatives and it's come in some cases to ridiculous realizations. We asked them to do a comparison with another Hearthstone content creator. And he showed us the metrics that the YouTube representative himself couldn't make sense of. Because it seemed like whenever our videos would show up in our subscribers' feeds, they would have a much higher rate of being clicked on. But our videos were less often in subscriber feeds of our own subscribers relative to other Hearthstone content creators. So their algorithm literally doesn't make sense.
And if we want to go back to your question and talk about streaming on YouTube, the issue with streaming on YouTube is that streaming on YouTube is done through your main channel, which is generally how you want to do it because it's pretty hard to start up a fresh channel — it's going to mess with your regular video uploads. And it being a fairly critical concern to maintaining our viewership on YouTube, it's just not something we wanted to mess with. So I haven't looked into it recently, but as long as that is a lurking problem, I don't think a lot of content creators will stream on YouTube as their first choice.
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.