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Beta Testing 101: How to stream your beta sessions

I've recently gotten into livestreaming. If you visit my channel on Own3d, you can see some hilarious and heart-wrenching wipes that I've recorded in heroic Dragon Soul. If you're into League of Legends, you can see a few games there (900 ELO bracket, represent)! I'm making an effort to stream our raiding attempts and narrating as I go. Did you know WoW Insider has a livestream page over at Twitch? (Subscribe to that, too!)

Today, I'll go over some of the tools and techniques for streaming so that your viewers can watch a polished live stream of you and your activities. I believe the best live streams are of players who are both entertaining and educational. I like watching different player perspectives so that you can see what's going on from their angle and gaining an understanding of what they go through.

I highly recommend using Xsplit as the program to stream with. You don't have to buy any licensing, but it's not a bad idea to invest for the additional audio quality if streaming is an activity you think you'll get into.

Once you have the program downloaded and configured, the next step is to settle on a streaming service. The two biggest ones out there are Own3d and Twitch. Either service will work. Both services have a revenue stream program making it possible to make a money on the side based on the amount of viewers your stream gets.

Streaming recommendations

You'll want to have a fairly decent computer with a strong internet connection. I'm on a 2.5 Mbps (that's megabits per second) upload connection, and the delay my viewers see fluctuates between four to eight seconds. I'd recommend a duo core processor computer along with at least 4GB of RAM, but it is possible to fiddle with the settings so that a lower-end computer can stream.

The important part is the upload. Without a decently fast upload, your stream will end up lagging further behind as time goes on.

Configuring Xsplit

No matter what, make sure the games you broadcast are played on windowed mode. Playing WoW in full screen (windowed mode) will still work.

For the purposes of this guide, I'll go into detail about how to create a stream on Own3d.

Adding your channel
  1. Under Broadcast, go into Edit Channels.
  2. Click Add, followed by Own3d.
  3. Enter your username and password.
  4. Your quality should stay around 6. Don't use 9 or 10 at high resolutions.
  5. Pick the Location closest to you.
  6. The maximum bitrate should not exceed 1,500kbps. Start with 1,000 and play around with that value until you're comfortable.
  7. Buffer size and resolution shouldn't be touched and should stay at their default settings.
  8. I suggest your audio be set to 44.100 KHz Stereo with MP3 codec (or AAC if you don't have MP3).
  9. Click OK to save all your settings. Feel free to click on the Test bandwidth button to see if your settings are optimal.
General tab
  1. Ensure "Optimize for motion picture" is enabled.
  2. Disable capture of layered windows.
  3. Boost Capture Framerate is enabled.
  4. Don't check any other box if you don't know what it does.
  5. Choose your microphone. This is important if you have a webcam with a microphone and a headset microphone. Make sure you have the right one.
Adding your stream capture areas
  1. Select Scene 1 and feel free to change the label to World of Warcraft, if you like.
  2. On the top left, select File, Add Screen Region, then click and drag the frame to match the area on your screen that you want to add.
  3. Adjust the size of the window you see on the preview pane by dragging the borders out.
Stream view settings
  1. Click on View, then Resolution and select the resolution that you want to broadcast with. If your resolution is not on the list, go to Tools, then Settings to the Resolutions tab and activate the desired resolution
  2. Click on View, then Framerate to set your broadcast FPS (25 frames per second will suffice).
Going live
  1. Ready to stream? Select Broadcast and click on the channel where you want to stream to. In my case, it would say Own3d - Matticus. Yours should say Own3d - username or Twitch - username. If everything goes according to the plan, the Xsplit title bar will have red text saying that you are broadcasting and the speeds.
  2. Done streaming? Click Broadcast and click on your channel name to turn it off
Extra tips

Both Twitch and Own3d allow you to record your streams as you go. This is great if you want to examine things like boss wipes or saving educational videos for your viewers.

Have a webcam? If you feel comfortable, you can add it into your display area. I use it to cover up officer chat. This way, your viewers can actually watch you play, along with your facial expressions and any wild gestures you make throughout your stream. You can do this by clicking on File, Add Camera and selecting your webcam.

Having some music going in the background isn't a bad idea, either. Make sure you set the volume low enough that you can still be heard when you're narrating your activities. I suggest using music without any vocals, but that's just me. Have your desired music player of choice in the background, and just start playing.

If you have other chat windows open, I strongly suggest covering them up with a graphic or an overlay. I like to have my guild logo and website in an image file, and I'll throw it over top of it. To add an image, click on File, Add Media and look for the desired image.

Get used to talking. Talk about what you're doing. Talk about why you're doing it. Why did you use these spells here? Why did you move from this point to that point? What're your thoughts on your current activities? Viewers and listeners are always interested in information.

For Elune's sake, smile if you plan to put yourself on camera. No one wants to watch a sad and depressed streamer. With that, you're well on your way to broadcasting your adventures in Pandaria. Good luck, and have fun!

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

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