Rant: D&D, RPG Games, and YouTube — You Love What You Hate

Celebrate Nerd Culture at Gen Con 2018 -- the Best Four Days in Gaming
Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes -- Halflings and Gnomes in D&D

Hello and well met traveler of the internet. I’ve got a little bit of a rant. Nerdarchy has been accused of using clickbait titles in the past. Sometimes it’s true and they are a little clickbaity. Other times we just don’t talk about a D&D or roleplaying game topic the way a viewer thought we were going to or how they thought we should. Let’s start by looking at some good examples of this.

YouTube channel
It’s okay, go ahead and click it. You know you want to.

Behind the YouTube channel curtain

In the first video we gave the four most common reasons we saw for Dungeon Masters using a DM Player Character. This is something we really don’t ascribe to in our own games and would advise against. Our opinion has always been to play the game however works for you and is fun for you.

In the second video, other folks wanted us to build the ultimate D&D party, but we honestly believe it is the one that is the most fun for your group. So we got a little angst over not min/maxing a party dynamic. We are of the opinion it’s more important to build fun characters that want to adventure together than it is to build characters who fit together mechanically.

4 Reasons a DM NEEDS to have A Player Character in D&D — GM 911

Building the Ultimate D&D Party in Your Dungeons and Dragons Game

If we are clickbaity at times, just know there is a role you play in that scenario. It is always the over-sensationalized YouTube titles that get the most views. We put BEST, WORST, MOST, TOP, Broken, OP, or anything along those lines because we’ve learned those videos will gain more attention and be watched compared to our Monster BFF, Terrible Terrain, or Mageforge videos, where we are creative and make what we believe to be interesting unique pieces of content. Our more creative endeavors have actually yielded inferior results in the past. The YouTube community actually disincentivizes us to make those videos. Don’t worry — we make them anyway. Our fans seem to really enjoy them, and that is good enough.

There are few things going on. First and foremost we are gamers we love D&D and other roleplaying games. Second, we have a D&D YouTube channel, therefore we are YouTubers. People often forget this. What is the point of putting content out there into the world if no one is going to watch it? At that point we could just sit around Ted’s basement talking D&D and skip the whole YouTube channel and website all together.

YouTube Channel

YouTube numbers don’t lie

I don’t know about you, but if I do something I want to be good at it. Whether it’s DMing a game of D&D or making YouTube videos. Therefore if you want to have a successful YouTube channel about roleplaying games you must become a student of your craft.

When we look at the numbers from a YouTube channel you can see what kind of content the audience is responding to. It doesn’t make sense to spend time, money, and energy on endeavors that don’t seem to be yielding results. Remember — when you find yourself on a D&D YouTube video complaining about the clickbait content. just by being there you are more than likely perpetuating the cycle. Unless the title is an out-and-out lie, I think most of us can tell by looking at the title at this point whether it is or not. It’s not the early days of the internet when audiences could still claim innocence.

Or we can just be honest with ourselves and accept this is what it’s like and it was what you came for in the first place. I’m not talking headlines and titles that are outright deceptive. If you are going to use a title you should talk about the subject matter in the content. People like sensationalized and contentious titles. As long as people respond to these titles YouTubers will respond by making more of them.

RPG GamesI took a look at our top 10 videos for the lifetime of the Nerdarchy YouTube channel. Over four years of creating content and closing in on 3,000 videos, all but three videos could possibly considered clickbait. People are watching these videos, up and down voting them, commenting, and even sharing them. That leads me to believe it is what audiences want.

Personally ,as a D&D nerd I think we like to argue and debate the game. It’s part of the fun. If you put a title that someone sees and instantly wans to interact with, is it really clickbait? Maybe, but at the same time it does seem to be what people want. Believe it or not the number of people complaining a video is clickbait is relatively small compared to the number people who want to interact with the content. Whether it’s to agree, tell you why you’re wrong, or to engage in friendly debate these are the topics that they gravitate to.

Like this?

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Thank you for your consideration and as always, until next time stay nerdy!

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Follow Dave Friant:
My name is Dave Friant I've been gaming off and on for over 27 years. But here is the thing it's always been a part of my life I've kept secret and hidden away. I've always been ashamed of the stigma that gaming and my other nerdy and geeky pursuits summon forth. Recently I decided screw it! This is who I am the world be damned. From now on I'm gonna be a geek, nerd, or however folks want to judge me and just enjoy life. Currently one of my greatest joys is introducing my 13 yr old son to table top RPG's.

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