Working with Keaton "BamBam" Consentine is similar to the uncontrolled chaos that his rapidly-growing Heroes of the Storm Twitch channel features. A story six months in the making, BamBam is the most raw, brash, blunt and, arguably, vulgar streamer of the consistently-growing title, turning on his stream and constantly sitting atop the viewership leaderboard.
The former professional player for Cloud9 Maelstrom, BamBam began appearing in Derek "DunkTrain" Arabian's streams either as a loud, charismatic teammate or an immensely skilled Diablo opponent that would terrorize the battlefield with his calculated aggression.
In the fall of last year, DunkTrain convinced BamBam to begin streaming and his personality was given a platform to showcase itself. While not necessarily "family friendly," there's no denying the freshness that his personality features and, in a world where being politically correct is expected, he'll tell you to kick rocks. Team Dignitas was a fan of his content so much that they decided to welcome him to their streaming team back in June.
Recently, BamBam sat down to chat with me about his journey from tiny-house living to Twitch streamer, his relationship with "mewnfare," being a "Diablo God" and more.
Before you began streaming full-time, what were you doing for work?
Previously I worked with my dad. My dad owns a carpet cleaning company so him and I just drove around and did that together.
Was that something you actually enjoy doing or did you just treat it as just a job?
It was just a job. I knew I was never going to that the rest of my life but I enjoyed it because I got to ride around with my dad and just hang out with him all day so that was fun.
Does he really understand what you do now for work? I know it can be difficult for parents to wrap their heads around Twitch streaming.
Yeah, he 100% understands. He watches all kind of streams. He watches timthetatman and stuff like that. I mean, he is subbed to me and everything. He has a Twitch channel so he knows.
Do you miss your pro playing days?
Nah, I had a nice pro-playing experience because I was on a team with four of my good, good friends so it was always fun scrimming and scrims were never toxic or anything like that or too tryhard. We would always just laugh and have fun but, yeah, I don't know. I don't think I would ever do it again. Scrimming for seven hours a day and stuff like that gets pretty boring and tiring especially if I still have to stream. There's no way I could scrim and stream for seven hours a day.
So you find the streaming experience much more just enjoyable than trying to compete at a high level?
Yeah, 100%, it's just much more laid back. There's no pressure really unless I fall into Master then chat flames me that for a couple days until I get back to GM but there's just no pressure or anything like that.
Do you think that you could still play at a professional level and do you think you are still good enough to make it on an NA team thought if you put the time into it?
Yeah, I think so. I wouldn't be able to stream and I'd have to play off-stream Hero League and grind and try hard and just fix a lot of mistakes I always make because when I am streaming I'm just chilling. I do try hard still because that's why I'm consistently GM top 50 but I don't put my full focus into the game. I'm watching my stream and then I'll look over and see what the chats doing or click a link so my full attention isn't always there.
Previously, back in your competitive playing days you actually went by the name of “biceps” and you transitioned over to the name of “BamBam” so can you talk about the transition you went through with your gamer names over the years?
I figured I was going to start streaming I just didn't want that douche-y of a name you know? I mean people already called me a “Chad” and biceps would have been a lot worse. I don’t even know how I even picked BamBam. I know I wanted something simple and not so tryhard so I went with BamBam.
What if I told you a year ago that you would be where you are right now in terms of your popularity and that you having a fanbase? What do you think you would have said back then?
I would have never thought that because I always watched Twitch and I played with DunkTrain and he would stream and it was cool for him. I was a pro player but he won BlizzCon and he was kind of a caster so that's how I figured he got a lot of his followers. I would have never thought that when I started mine I would be here.
What do you think it is about you that has attracted a fanbase? Now when you jump online you are instantly one of the top HotS streamers in terms of viewership.
I have no idea honestly. I don't know why they keep showing up. I treat chat and I treat everybody like I'm just chilling in the garage with my real-life friends, you know what I mean? And that might be part of it everyone feels like they're just hanging with a bunch of homies.
Is there a difference between Keaton and BamBam?
Not really, no. You could ask real-life friends like DunkTrain and Mewnfare, there's no difference.
A lot of people get burnt out because they feel like that to put on a performance for their viewers or they have to "turn it on" for the camera but you seem to just kind of be doing your own raw thing out there.
Yeah, that's really helped. I just treat it, literally, like I'm playing games and my real-life friends are just LANing with me and they're just chilling right next to me. That's just how I see it. I don't have to try hard or anything like that, I just hang out.
Do you remember what your first stream and what it was actually like? I know a lot of people heard of you just streaming with Dunk but to put a face to a voice is another thing.
Yeah, my first stream ever I was awkward and nervous and I was playing awful. Like, when you first start your stream up and you understand that people are actually watching you because I had DunkTrain so it's not like I had zero viewers, you know what I mean? So, people knew me from DunkTrain's stream and he also would host me and so I had a lot of people watching and I'd never streamed before so it was rough. It was weird but it gets easier, kind of.
Did you receive any tips or tricks from other streamers that they might have given you to help you?
I would ask Dunk, "Dude, how do you sit there with a facecam when everyone is sitting there just looking at you? It's so awkward, how do you still play so well?" He just told me, "Who cares? It is not like they are literally in front of you, it is just a little chat box. Just don't worry about it. Just be yourself and people will like you," so I was like, "Okay."
It is funny you mention Dunktrain because when I spoke to him he called you the most technologically illiterate person he has ever met in his life. He says you do not know anything at all about computers but you play at such a high level. Do you care to respond to that?
I mean, he is 100% right. I literally have no idea [laughs]. You know, just trying to contact me to get ahold of me for this story...you know. I just push the power button on my computer and if that works then I press start streaming if it works then I start streaming and if it doesn't work then I am calling DunkTrain.
Have you ever thought of adjusting your personality when it comes to streaming since you are not like other HotS Twitch streamers? You're dropping f-bombs, calling kids "squids" and saying you're a God. Are you surprised that it translated so well to streaming?
People don't want to see the same thing on every single channel. They don’t want just gameplay and a guy sitting there just breathing out of his mouth gaming, not talking and not really interacting, you know what I mean? Some streams like that are good but it's nice to have a different room to go to and just have some variety, I guess.
You joke on stream how you are the best tank in North America and are the “Diablo God.” Do you think that, for the record, you are the best Diablo player in North America?
I mean...yeah, I think so I don't know who would be better.
What is it about playing him, that continues to provide you with an urge to keep doing so? You’ve grinded over 135 levels on one hero and a lot of people may get bored playing one character that much or seek variety but you keep at it.
If we are talking old-Diablo, it is just like him and Garrosh, they are just the only tanks that can carry a game by themselves and you feel like you have an impact even when you're behind. As opposed to playing, like, Muradin. When you are behind on Muradin you are jumping around and kind of putting characters in front of your team and are like, "Hey, kill this character," and if they don't kill it then you lose. At least old-Diablo, you can just go in and make plays that's why I just like him so much.
Do you want more Tanks like that or do you kind of understand that not every Tank can necessarily be like old-Diablo?
We definitely need tanks that can make more plays. I mean, look at Support. Supports can even make plays now like Deckard Cain and Stukov, like, come on. Give us some playmaking Tanks besides Diablo and Garrosh that are banned every game. New Diablo is good so even he gets banned and picked out really early so you're forced to play Tanks that are that are just ResidentSleeper like Johanna where you are running around clearing waves and you are just a CC-bot.
I was going to ask if you were sad or happy that Diablo got reworked because he really only had one talent build in the past so I understand why they did it but I was curious what are your opinions are on his new kit.
My initial reaction was awful. Just testing builds and figuring out how to play him, I lost like 3K points in Ranked but now and that after the buff they gave him he's really good. I still don't think he's as good as old-Diablo but he does have a Q-build and a W-build. He can go with the more sustain-ey W-build with Lightning Breath or he could still go the Q-build and blow up a squishy.
"In high school, I wanted to be in the NFL. When I got out of high school and I went into college I was thinking about going into firefighting or being a police officer, stuff like that, maybe even military, just some "dude" stuff."
As you are someone who plays at a high level against some of the best players in North America, are there some mistakes you see a lot from Tank players that you can give some players tips to avoid?
Yeah, whenever someone asks me, “How do I Tank?” and that they feed all the time I just tell them: You have to make sure you're positioned well. When you are jockey for position verse the enemy team you just need to position to where you are not taking free damage. Like, if you are taking half your HP from poke before you even find the engage, you're probably just going to lose, especially if you're not getting healed up. You just need to make sure you are not taking free damage but you are still in position to get a good engage.
You do not have to force anything and, just because you have buttons, does not mean you need to press them. With ETC, players want to slide automatically. Sometimes when you slide, that is when you are most vulnerable and you get focused down. Just save cooldowns and stay calm, basically.
Now that you are full-time streaming do you think Heroes is a game that you can stream full-time as there are a lot of people who want to try different games?
In terms of the MOBA-genre, it is the freshest because of the different variety of maps and stuff like that. It's not the same map and the same thing every game. There are bunch of different maps, they come out with new maps and new heroes and the heroes are always cool because it is lore of Blizzard games. As long as they keep updating patches and matchmaking and stuff like that, I don't see the game going anywhere anytime soon. It's not the biggest MOBA in the scene but it has its niche and I don't think it's going anywhere.
Do you care if it is not the biggest MOBA? Does it bug you that if you were maybe a League or DOTA or CSGO streamer you would have more viewers or are you cool rocking with Heroes even in the state that it is in viewership wise?
No, I am cool rocking with Heroes. I cannot play the other ones. I get bored to death like absolute death. Even if I could get like 3,000 or 5,000 viewers playing Dota or League of Legends I do not think I even think I would. I would still play Heroes. It's just faster paced more variety with maps and and like you're not just sitting there farming a lane for half an hour before you even team fight for the first time ever.
Is there anything that Heroes can do to make your play experience better? I know sometimes the grind especially when you are playing Hero League can be very repetitive or when you are playing against the same people or playing against people who straight up do not belong at your rank. What can Blizzard do to help you?
Matchmaking is a big deal. But, a lot of that people have such an inflated ratings especially in Masters, right? GM maybe not really but in Master League, which GM's play with Masters a lot, because the queue goes longer as there are only so many GMs and half of them are scrimming or whatever so they have to fill games with Master players and a lot of those Master players ratings are inflated. A lot of them, because of previous placements or the previous way they did placements, if you are Diamond last season you are now Masters 1000. So, a lot of people are just hovering around Master and It's just tough but I do not know how they fix that. A full MMR reset would be awful but fixing matchmaking would help.
Do you think that streaming is a realistic long-term career path for you?
Oh yeah. Streaming is only getting started. Twitch is just a baby I mean, look at Ninja. No one ever thought you can get like 50,000 subs and he has like 250,000. It's brand new and it is just starting, so definitely.
Do you have a long-term goal when it comes to streaming? I know it's tough considering you haven't necessarily done it very long. Do you have this end-goal that you're looking to achieve or do you more or less live in the moment?
Freaking become Ninja with 300,000 Subs and duo with Conor McGregor
Are you willing to dye your hair different colors and market yourself to a younger audience in order to do so?
I will freaking shave my head and paint my whole body blue.
What did you want to do growing up or maybe in your high school college years?
In high school, I wanted to be in the NFL. When I got out of high school and I went into college I was thinking about going into firefighting or being a police officer, stuff like that, maybe even military, just some "dude" stuff.
"If there is a point system and a daily leaderboard, I can basically play a game forever because, I don't know, I'm addicted to fake virtual points."
Where do you live currently?
I live in Washington state but I'm about an hour and a half outside of Seattle I'm basically, like, in the woods so there's like nothing around me really.
Did you do a lot of woodsy stuff growing up? Very labor-intensive and stereotypical stuff?
Oh yeah. I was born in Henderson, Nevada and then we moved to North Carolina until I was about six or seven and we moved and I did a bunch of outdoor stuff there. We lived in the tiny little 800-square-foot house so I did a lot of fishing and then we moved back to Vegas for a couple years and we just didn't like Vegas because there was no outdoor stuff, really. You just go to the desert and die in the heat. We had family up here in Washington and we really liked it because there was a lot of salmon fishing, bass fishing and hunting so we decided to move up here.
When you are not streaming what are you generally doing?
When I'm not streaming I'm generally hanging out with my dog, Ammo. I mean, he's really my only friend up here since I moved from Vegas, you know what I mean? I left all my friends behind so it's basically just me and my dog.
Has there been a thought of moving closer to where more people are, like California or just going back home as you have this whole time streaming job and you can do it anywhere?
Hell no. I hate people. I prefer to be out here just me and a dog. Maybe I’ll get another dog.
It’s interesting that you don't like people but someone who you actually have built a relationship with is Mewnfare as who you guys have done some charity work with together and some IRL stuff. How did that relationship come about?
Well, I didn't really know him before I started streaming and then I started streaming and we got in a couple games together and we started talking and laughing and having fun. I guess he just started talking to me and giving me advice and things like that and some little tips and we started to game off-stream and we just became friends.
He has been vocal about his frustrations with the game and the burnout it has caused him playing it so much. Have you experienced anything similar?
For me, I do not burn out, especially in the same way he does. If there is a point system and a daily leaderboard, I can basically play a game forever because, I don't know, I'm addicted to fake virtual points. The only advice I have ever given him was to set goals. If you don't have goals you're just staring at your monitor and just roboting through the game. Basically, I set goals like, "Okay, today I want to be at at least 15K points or today I want to make top-15." Just small and attainable goals per stream. That's basically what I told him that helps me.
How would you describe your current supporters, "The BamFam" to someone who doesn't know anything about them?
I did a Brawl with the Blues event with Blizzard for “Nexomania” and I was awesome. I was on my best behavior and I told my chat to be on their best behavior but some of them were in the chat and [Blizzard] just wished that there that my chat was not as toxic as it is. I would describe my chat as an amplified version of myself. Like a horrible, horrible, horrible teenage kid that I have to deal with.
Would you have it any other way?
I would never change. I feel like my chat is the best in the community, I would never change my chat.
Is there anything you want to say to people who have enabled you to become a full-time streamer?
People who don't know about me: if you do ever find my stream, try to stay on there for at least 10 minutes. Initially, you are going to click on it and sit there and watch me for one minute and you're going to immediately want to leave and report the stream but just try and chill for 10 minutes and I promise I'm not that bad.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.