Fiamma – Australian WoW Streamer Shares Practical Advice for Smaller Channels Looking to Grow

Fiamma – Australian WoW Streamer Shares Practical Advice for Smaller Channels Looking to Grow

Tell us your history with video games 

I’ve been a gamer as long as I can remember, even before that! I don’t actually remember it, but my parents have a VHS tape of me as a 2 year old playing an MS-DOS based colouring game involving dinosaurs and a bucket fill-type tool. The video is of me showing my mum how to play, which is of course adorable.

Growing up, I played games with pretty much anyone who’d join me; my brother, the neighbourhood kids we were close with, some school friends and my dad. He was the one who inspired my brother and I with tech; he worked in cabling when I was very small, and had a passion for computing. He built that PC I used as a 2 year old, gave me my first laptop as a preteen and built me my first desktop as an early teenager. I occasionally still play with my brother and father, I’ve had Dad on stream to play WoW too.

Fiamma actually comes from WoW, my first character was a blood elf mage, I was drawn to mages because of the mention of fire spells in the class description, and to name her I stuck a bunch of fire related words (fire, burn, explode, flame, cinder, ember, etc.) into Google translate and flicked through languages. When I found the Italian word for flame, and it was available for my character, it became a part of me.

Gaming for me is all about the challenge. I’ve always loved jigsaw puzzles and the sense of satisfaction as the last piece clicks into place, and gaming gives me a lot of that feeling. Watching a boss's health tick to zero, finishing that time-consuming achievement, the small celebration when you hit a new level. It’s also a phenomenal vehicle for storytelling; I was the kid who got into trouble a lot for sneaking a torch to read books after bedtime, and seeing stories come to life through video games is magical. Being a part of those stories is another level.

What’s your backstory and how did you get into streaming?

Heh, so I started streaming as a way to attract new recruits to our WoW guild. Hot tip: It didn’t work. Once I realised it wasn’t working though, it was too late, I was enjoying myself far too much to stop. Nearly five and a half years later, I’m still here, and still going strong.

My first stream was super basic, just the game, an alert box for follows, and my camera which was terrible quality. I still spent around six or seven hours meticulously combing through every single setting in OBS, researching what it did and what the right settings would be for me, getting everything just right. Those settings haven’t really changed a ton through the years, just small adjustments here and there when I’ve upgraded my equipment.

I had zero knowledge of streaming when I started, I’d never even heard of Twitch before I created my account. I think what helped me in those early days was my performance background. I’d done school musicals, drama classes, had performed in some of Melbourne's largest venues, so I had a bit of experience in ensuring what I was feeling or thinking played out on my face, through my voice and body language, and this helped to entertain the small number of people who found me.

Fairly early on I experienced some pretty horrendous harassment, I cancelled my streams, but pretty soon I felt the pull to come back, so after a month off I jumped back in with some new mods by my side, and I haven’t taken a break since.

Tell us about your channel and community

My Fiamily are ridiculous, bonkers, have no idea what they’re doing, and are absolutely amazing. Without a community, we’re nothing. We have no influence, we can’t access opportunities, and I truly recognize that I wouldn’t be where I am without the support of those who tune in and hang out day after day.

They are a super welcoming bunch, unless they feel you’re someone they need to defend me against (read: trolls) in which case they ruthlessly protect me and the rest of the Fiamily. One of the best things is seeing members interact with each other, helping and uplifting another member of the community without any input from me at all, and realizing that you brought those people together. There’s been at least one romantic relationship formed in my chat, and they’ve been together for a few years now! It’s beautiful.

I pretty much stream just WoW these days (though that’ll be changing soon!) and it really is one of my favourite games. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have been playing it for 14.5 years. Outside of WoW though I adore puzzle games, management simulators, and pretty much anything with an outstanding story. I’ve streamed all of these things in the past and likely will again in the future, I don’t think my gaming time would be spent any differently if I weren’t streaming, there’d likely just be a lot less of it!

If I’m playing something multiplayer, I love pulling my viewers in. It means that I’ll be in a team with like minded players who are just looking to have fun and make memories, and we hardly ever find ourselves with an empty slot. Shorter queue times are definitely a benefit too!

Tell us about your brand and how you’ve been able to obtain success

My brand is me, but it’s a curated version of me. I’m as true to myself as I can be but there are still chunks of my life that I choose to keep private, and that’s okay. Even as someone with a performing background, it’s super difficult to be a created character for long periods of time, super repeatedly (I stream for 6 hours, 4 times a week currently, but also do marathon streams) and I feel like I simply wouldn’t be able to maintain that, plus if you ever get bored of that character, you risk having to start from scratch and rebuild your audience with a new one.

Growing my channel was a really tricky one, nothing works for everyone. I was super lucky in that I had an inbuilt, albeit tiny, audience from my guild, and in the first few months I got an enormous raid from a well known streamer at the time, but I very quickly learned that 1,500 new followers does not translate to an increase in viewer numbers.

Over the first couple of years I saw steady but slow growth, not doing anything in particular to try to grow, just being discovered organically, and once Twitch made the shift to Recommended browse pages rather than sorting by viewer numbers, I saw a bit of a jump as more people found me that way.

Once I made the decision that I wanted to actively work towards Partnership (prior to this it was always a goal, just one I thought was a pipe dream) I focused on my stats. Hard core data analysis. Yes, it sounds boring but holy moly you need to do it. Every couple of weeks I would ping my mods in Discord and have a conversation about what I had noticed in my Channel Summary, highs, lows, patterns, etc. I had spreadsheets with average viewer data with conditional formatting to show me in green when I had hit something good, fading through to red if it was kind of a splat. I learned that the longer I stream the better my numbers, then later learned that this was because I had super low engagement right at the start, so I started a “beginning of stream” giveaway every single stream. Numbers improved. I noticed WoW gave me my best numbers, so I slowly (whilst watching those stats like a hawk) phased out other games, then because WoW is so multifaceted, I started looking at what activities in the game did well like mount farming vs. levelling vs. PvP. Data is everything, and Twitch gives us it all. I will scream this from the rooftops forever, use it. It’s not useless clutter, it’s your lifeblood.

I feel like I should say my biggest achievement was Partnership, but although that was an amazing moment, I’m not sure anything will top seeing that notification that Blizzard_ANZ followed me back on Twitter, leading into a conversation about my channel appearing on the game launcher, leading to my first, second and third sponsored streams. To be actively working with the company that makes the game I’ve been playing for nearly half my life is ridiculous, and I’m still slightly confused as to how that happened. Very close to this was fighting for my (not actual) life in the Logitech and Blue Microphones Clash of the Creator and actually finishing in the top 5, watching my community come together and scream with me in those final minutes was just incredible.

Biggest obstacle for me has to have been the trolls. For a while there it got pretty extreme, I ended up having to get law enforcement involved, and the little things day to day do get to you. A good moderator team is the core and backbone of a good stream and community. The streamer is the face and sets the vibe for the group, but the moderators take care of the nitty gritty as it happens, and they are invaluable.

I’d been streaming for over a year when the Affiliate program was launched, and as I met the requirements already I was pulled in during those first waves, so I’m not sure it’s super relevant, but about 1 year, 2 months, but Partnership took me 5 year and 4 months of streaming. I completed the Path to Partner achievement the night Clash of the Creator voting closed, 1 year and 4 months after I decided to focus on Partnership as an achievable goal, and after one rejection, was accepted 4 weeks later after my second application.

Full-time streaming is the next goal on my journey, though no doubt there’ll be 101 more goals between here and there! I truly hope that when I get there, that the majority of my income is from companies; sponsored streams, posts, contracts or similar, as companies have marketing budgets that they’re happy to spend, whereas subs, cheers and donations come out of individuals' disposable income. I hope that I’m able to be valuable enough to companies that my viewers can keep those dollars for themselves.

What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve ever received from a viewer?

A viewer thanked me for being open and honest, because it let them know that they can survive what they’re going through because I did, and it just floored me. Being thanked for distracting someone from their troubles for a while is pretty awesome too.

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you because of your streaming?

I’ve had some pretty amazing opportunities related to my channel, but nothing unrelated or out of left field just yet. I did have someone offer to pay me to lick peanut butter off my knee, does that count? *facepalm*

How do you balance streaming and your day-to-day life?

I’m not really sure I do balance them at this point to be honest, though I know I’m one of those people that functions better with a constant stream of things to do.

I stream in the evenings, so prior to streaming, during the day I do my best to keep on top of housework, scheduling social media posts, any errands that need doing, and the occasional thing that pops up, you know, life. The biggest part of getting ready to stream is my makeup, I love to experiment! Each day I choose a WoW mount and design a makeup look inspired by the mount. (The cover image of this article was the Astral Cloud Serpent!) As I start stream a little while before the sun starts to set, I have to fiddle with my camera settings right before I go live as there’s a gap in my blinds that lets in a fair bit of light, then checking that all the bits and bobs are working, updating my title, turning on closed captions and sending out a tweet, then the fun begins! After stream it’s pretty simple as it’s kind of late, I spend a bit of time hanging out in the channel we’ve raided, and I shoot out another tweet thanking other streamers for their raids and pointing my audience towards whoever we raided. All the stats and stuff wait until the next day, because I am tired, ha!

I have a day job (I call Twitch my night job) so all up I work a fair bit. 16 hours a week for the day job, 24 hours live for the night job, plus I’d estimate a good 20-30 hours a week behind the scenes on social media, interacting with my community, preparing for special events and other random stuff that comes up. It’s a big job.

Explain what my days off look like… okay so I get one day off a week. :joy: I work Tue/Thu, stream Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri, so Saturday is my day off. This is when I book medical appointments so they don’t run overtime and impact work/stream, I do grocery shopping so my housemate and I can go together (he has a standard Mon-Fri job), I do meal prep, fold laundry, and we usually get takeout and play games together at night. Lately we’ve been conquering the known world in Crusader Kings 3. Obliterating entire countries via war is a great stress reliever! I am super, super lucky in that I love both my day and night jobs, so as much as it might surprise you, this schedule actually seems to work out pretty okay for me. I haven’t felt burnout since I had a full-time day job 3 years ago.

I don’t really get anxious at the lack of face-to-face interaction, I’ve always been fine with my own company, but also I have my housemate who is also my best friend, and I’ve had online friends since mid high school, and those interactions do charge my social batteries.

The vast majority of my friends and family reacted with confusion when I told them about my streaming, mostly because they just had no idea what I was talking about. Gaming is not a super publicly loved pastime in Australia, most of my life it’s been considered weird to not want to go outside and enjoy the sunshine. So the idea of gaming and broadcasting it so others can watch was super foreign when I started, at least in my circles. Nowadays people don’t really react at all, it’s just part of who I am.

I do feel like my life is a sustainable lifestyle, I think the only change I would make is scheduling myself “no work” periods, or having a second day off. Because I feel like I work 2 full days and a bunch of half days, I do occasionally feel like I’m always “on”, but that might also be a part of my personality, so who knows!

Tell us what tools you use for your stream

I use OBS Studio, I’ve tried XSplit and SLOBS and find that OBS Studio provides more of what I need and less of what I don’t.

Streamlabs handles most of my donations and notifications, I’ve been using them since I started and haven’t felt the need to try anything else.

I used to use Ankhbot as my chatbot (the username is K0ALATR0N and I love it), the program has now transitioned to Streamlabs Chatbot and it still runs perfectly. They do also have a Cloudbot, I haven’t felt the need to try it.

I do have a Discord server, you can find the link in my socials info at the top of this interview if you want to say hi!

I used to use an overlay but did away with it after a little while, they’ve always felt super cluttered to me, I prefer a minimalist approach. All the graphics and emotes and whatnot I have around are commissioned though, always pay an artist what they’re worth!!

The extensions I use are; Stream Closed Captioner, because not everyone is going to be able to hear you or listen to you, even if it butchers my accent a lot of the time, that just provides an additional layer of entertainment; and Streamlabs Stream Schedule & Countdown, because I’m terrible at timezones and telling someone to check when the next stream starts by scrolling down is easier.

Which 3 streamers inspire you the most?

Oh dear, only 3? Impossible! Okay, I’ll try.

  • Arianna - She is endlessly entertaining and is living my dream, full-time. She also has an incredible team of mods around her that help her run some phenomenal special events and content.
  • LevelUpKent - At time of writing, he’s on a streak of 653 days without a day off. The man's dedication and persistence is second to none. That work ethic!!
  • Qyune - As a collector in WoW, this guy is amazing. His community is so engaged as well, so many of them participate in the collecting challenges too.

What are your top 3 streaming tools? 

  • Water bottle - mostly because my viewers attempt to drown me with hydrate redemptions, but also because if you’re not healthy, you can’t perform at your best. Same goes for nutritious and delicious snacks.
  • Softboxes - or any kind of phenomenal lighting. They’re often cheaper than a camera and they make for a much larger improvement.
  • Chair - you’re going to be sitting in it for a looooooooong time. It’s worth investing in something expensive that fits your body properly and that will last years. Chronic pain from bad furniture is no joke.

What advice would you give to small channels trying to reach Partner? 

Study your stats. Have fun with whoever turns up, if a new viewer drops in and you look like you’re having fun, they’re more likely to stay. Study. Your. Stats. 

If you could change one thing about Twitch, what would it be? 

More staff on their moderation team, so that they could take the time to really check in on reported interactions, watch the VOD for context, and keep logs on users' sketchy interaction histories. Though truthfully, those users are only on the platform because of a handful of streamers who encourage toxic interaction as part of their communities without technically going outside ToS, then those users bleed to elsewhere. Also, they’d need more money for more staff, and people seem to already hate ads, haha!

What are your plans for the future? 

More streaming! But seriously, continuing to build relationships with the companies I work with, and develop new ones with new companies, work with them to bring even bigger and better things for the incredible community who has supported me through the years, and eventually, hopefully, move into full time content creation. One day. :)

Fiamma29 Stream Setup
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