YouTube – Death of a Hobby

I never thought this would happen, but YouTube finally made changes that affect me.

Previously, channels had to reach 10,000 total views to be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). …starting today, new channels will need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months to be eligible for ads. We will begin enforcing these new requirements for existing channels in YPP beginning February 20th, 2018.

Now first, let me just say that I completely understand why they are doing this and don’t really have a philosophical or business problem with it. I mean, big brands like auto companies or Hollywood sure don’t want their ads going on a dinky channel with no barrier to entry like mine, right? If I were big business with big ads, I’d be complaining about that, too. It makes perfect sense.

But man, I was less than 1,500 views away from getting to 10,000 views. After like three years. I was so close to exploiting the system for my own personal gain! Imagine the tens of cents of free money I could have been pulling down every month.

Now I am roughly 980 subscribers and 3,800 hours away from the threshold.

With these changes, YouTube is very clearly saying, “We don’t want hobbyists as ad partners. We want committed, full-time creators only.” Which, again, makes perfect sense. YouTube is certainly big enough now that it doesn’t need hobbyists anymore.

It’s just a bummer for me. It’s now not even worth putting a couple of hours a week into anymore. So you probably won’t be seeing anymore polished videos from me, at least after I finish uploading the backlog on my hard drive. It’s mostly going to be “press the start button and hope for the best” content from now on, like when I started out. And like streaming! Zing!

And I just made a cool trailer for my Guild Wars 1 series starting next week. Arg.

Well, at least it prompted me to write a blog post when I otherwise wouldn’t have.


Out of curiosity, I wanted to see how far I could get after clicking the button to “apply” for monetization, despite knowing full well I didn’t meet the qualifications. After all, it said right there on the page that I was eligible! Maybe I was a special snowflake.

After you enable monetization, there is a 4-step process to go through where you accept some TOS and then setup an AdSense account, which is a tremendous pain because you have to insert some script tags into the header of a web site just to “activate” an account (a process that WordPress does not make easy). Then you setup your monetization preferences (which is basically how obnoxious do you want the ads to be in your videos).

It lets you go through all of that work even though you have zero chance of becoming a partner. Then you get to the final step:

I already knew those numbers from looking at my Analytics tab and doing some math (because it shows view time in minutes not hours–for me, at least, maybe it shows hours for Big Name People). YouTube, apparently, did not know those numbers until after I had given over all kinds of PII (Personally Identifiable Information) to the AdSense page. Things that make you go hmmmmm.

Top 10 Videos From 2017

It’s time for more video rankings! I know blog readers hate videos, but this is the only place I can put this information for posterity.

Major video releases from me in 2017 included:

  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (still unfinished)
  • Mass Effect Andromeda
  • Final Fantasy XIV – Stormblood, The Legend Returns
  • Guild Wars 2 – Heart of Thorns, Path of Fire, Living World Seasons 2 and 3
  • Dark Souls III – The Ringed City DLC (still unfinished)

Below are my top ten videos in 2017, according to YouTube running time. (This is as of December 27th, so technically it doesn’t count the last 4 days of the year.)

To nobody’s surprise, none of the videos that I actually worked hard on this year made the cut. In terms of video production quality, none of these would make my own personal top ten. (I would probably rate my Andromeda videos as best of the year. I was going to upload similar videos for Mass Effect 2 and 3, but my hard drive crashed and that was that. I only have the MP3s left of those videos from when I put them on my phone to listen to at work.)

10 – Battlefield 1 – Pt 9 – Cambrai (Through Mud and Blood). From 2016, the Battlefield 1 videos continue to have prominent placement on this list. I guess people like shooters or something. Down from #7 last year.

9 – Morrowind 12 – Dwemer Ruins of Arkngthand. New in 2017. The early Morrowind videos are not what you’d call super high quality, because I honestly wasn’t sure I’d even upload them until I got to around part 30 or so. Nevertheless, at least a handful of people watched them, and they are the only videos from 2017 that gained any traction. I think they are one of the first sets of videos that I’ve made custom thumbnails for.

8 – Morrowind 4 – Collecting Mushrooms for Ajira. New in 2017.

7 – Battlefield 1 – Pt 1 – Intro and Gallipoli (The Runner). From 2016. Up from #10 last year.

6 – Battlefield 1 – Pt 10 – Cambrai (Through Mud and Blood). From 2016, new to the list in 2017.

5 – Dark Souls II – Part 17 – The Pursuer Defeated. From 2015. Perennial favorite Dark Souls, down from #3 last year, but still hanging in there!

4 – Morrowind 1 – Arriving in Seyda Neen. New in 2017. The one that started the worldwide phenomenon! (As of this writing, I have recorded 72 parts, not counting 9 “side quest” videos that I am cutting out of the series.)

3 – Dark Souls – Sorcerer vs. Sif the Great Grey Wolf. Also from 2015, down from #1 last year. I still don’t know why this video is popular. I mean, other than the fact that I rocked the heck out of Sif and made it look super easy.

2 – Morrowind 2 – Finding Caius Cosades in Balmora. From 2017.

1 – Battlefield 1 – Pt 8 – Cambrai (Through Mud and Blood). From 2016, up from #5 last year. People really dig that Battlefield 1 tank gameplay I guess, because all three of my videos from Through Mud and Blood made this list.

In case anyone is wondering, I am planning to finish up Morrowind and record abridged videos of Oblivion and Skyrim in 2018. (I have played both of those games before so I want to keep the videos focused on the story.) I have recorded a bunch of Guild Wars 1 Prophecies videos. And I’ll continue recording Let’s Play-style videos of Guild Wars 2’s Living World Season 4 and probably FFXIV content updates as well. I also need to finish The Ringed City DLC.

I am up to 8,291 channel views as of this writing, so feel free to watch more of my videos. You don’t even have to watch them, really.* Just “press play and walk away” as John Hodgman used to say about his Netflix Ragnorak special. :) Because once I cross 10,000 views I should be able to start monetizing and then I SHALL RULE THE WORLD!

* Honestly most of my videos are designed to be listened to more than watched anyway. I have even considered the possibility of making a podcast out of RPG recordings.

Morrowind – Learning The Ropes

I’m trying a new thing here. This is both a diary of my Morrowind adventures and an index to the videos.

P. S. Don’t spoil anything for me, I haven’t finished the game yet. :)

Morrowind 1 – Arriving in Seyda Neen. Story. I’m a Dark Elf Witchhunter. I was released from prison and transported by ship to Seyda Neen, on the southern coast of Vvardenfell island in the Morrowind district. Apparently I was released by a personal decree from Emperor Uriel Septum VII. After answering a series of questions, I was given some gold and a package to take to a man named Caius Cosades in the town of Balmora, who would have more information [15:20]. I found a healing ring in a barrel. I was told by a helpful stranger that a silt strider (a creature which to me looked like a giant long-legged tick) could transport me to Balmora. I encountered a man named Fargoth [25:45] who claimed the Imperials had taken his healing ring. I said nothing. Tee hee. Eager to find out why I’d been released, I took a silt strider to Balmora for 15 gold.

Morrowind 2 – Finding Caius Cosades In Balmora. Story, Thieves Guild. After arriving in Balmora, I began searching for Caius Cosades. I was told to ask for him in the South Wall Cornerclub. There, I encountered a Khajitt named Sugar-Lips Habasi and joined the Thieves Guild on a whim [13:40]. After many fruitless attempts at persuading the people of the corner club, the owner finally told me where to find Caius Cosades’s house. I made my way there and found the impressively shirtless Imperial Blades Spymaster Caius Cosades [23:05]. Caius read over the package I delivered, then, by order of the Emperor, made me a Novice in the Imperial Blades (a spy organization). Caius ordered me to establish a cover identity as a freelance adventurer by joining the Mages Guild or the Fighters Guild.

Morrowind 3 – Exploring the Countryside. Mages Guild, Random. I decided to join the Mages Guild in Balmora, since it seemed like it would fit my skill set better than the Fighters Guild. I talked to the local recruiter Ranis Athrys [5:05]. She accepted me into the guild and told me to find Ajira to learn my duties. Instead, I walked into the wilderness to try my luck with my starting weapons [13:40]. I found and explored the vendors in the Moonmoth Fort [15:05]. I learned to use my Ancestral Ghost conjuring spell [21:30]. I went up a hill, encountered a mage on a bridge, and died [23:55].

Morrowind 4 – Collecting Mushrooms for Ajira. Mages Guild. Back in the Balmora Mages Guild, I found Ajira in the basement and asked about my duties. Ajira, a student herself, asked me to collect mushroom samples from the swamp on the Bitter Coast for a report she was writing. I made my way to the swamp and encountered a Nord named Fjol, who demanded 100 gold, then killed me when I refused to give it to him [15:15]. I wandered through the small fishing village of Hla Oad. I fought Scribs and Mud Crabs using my trusty Bound Dagger spell, the only weapon I found to be viable. I collected samples of two out of the four required types of mushrooms before getting killed by a Nix Hound.

Morrowind 5 – Lost In The Swamp. Mages Guild. I found and investigated a cavern door to Zanabi [3:15]. I found the ruins of Hlormaren [6:30]. Eventually I collected the remaining mushroom samples. On the way back to Balmora I got lost in the swamp and fought many creatures, somewhat ineffectively, with a Bound Dagger. I found a door to the Andrethi Ancestral Tomb [12:20]. Eventually I returned to Ajira in the Balmora Mages Guild. Ajira rewarded me for completing my first duty with some potions [26:05]. Then I accidentally picked up an alchemy device from a table (I thought it was an alchemy station) and was killed when everyone in sight rushed to stop me from stealing it.

Morrowind 6 – Ajira Versus Galbedir. Mages Guild. In the Balmora Mages Guild, Ajira asked me to plant a fake soul gem in fellow student Galbedir’s desk so Ajira could win a bet [2:30]. On the way, I talked to everyone in the guild to find out their roles. I discovered that Masalinie Merian in the basement could teleport me to various destinations [15:40]. I bought the conjuring spells Bound Longbow and Bound Longsword from her as well. I planted the fake soul gem and returned to Ajira. Ajira then asked me to collect samples of four different kinds of flowers from the shores of Lake Amaya for her report [17:20].

Morrowind 7 – Collecting Flowers for Ajira. Mages Guild. On my journey to Lake Amaya, I discovered that the Bound Longbow spell is useless without arrows [2:30]. I encountered a lovestruck lass named Maurrie Aurmine by the road, who asked me to find a bandit [9:55]. I refused, because I was busy picking flowers. I collected samples of three of the four kinds of flowers required, but the Stoneflowers remained elusive. I passed a wooden door to the Lleran Ancestral Tomb [15:35]. I encountered another woman Nevrasa Dralor on the road [16:15], who was looking for a holy place at the Fields of Kummu. I agreed to escort her because she promised to pay me 100 gold.

Morrowind 8 – Advancing In The Mages Guild. Mages Guild. With Nevrasa Dralor tagging along, I finally found samples of Stoneflowers and returned to Ajira to complete my guild duty [8:50]. Ajira gave me more potions and asked me to buy a ceramic bowl for her. I stopped by Ranis Athrys and she promoted me from Associate to Apprentice to Journeyman in the Mages Guild [11:00]. I also heard a rumor that Larrius Varro at Fort Moonmoth wanted to talk to me. After delivering the ceramic bowl [14:35], Ajira asked me to find her two reports which she believed rival Galbedir stole. Galbedir told me a rumor that the Balmora magistrate Nolus Atrius was “on the take,” but denied stealing the reports [20:12]. 

Morrowind 9 – Escort To The Fields of Kummu. Random. I bought the Bound Mace spell, since my Blunt weapon skill is better than anything else (or so I thought). Since Nevrasa Dralor was still following me around, I decided to set aside my guild duties for a while to escort her to the Fields of Kummu. On the way we passed Fort Moonmoth, and I spoke with Larrius Varro [9:10]. He asked me to deal with a nord bandit on the road to Hla Oad (back in the swamp). I continued to the Fields of Kummu with Nevrasa Dralor [19:15] and she rewarded me with 100 gold. I then returned to Balmora.

Morrowind 10 – Confronting Fjol. Random. Continuing to ignore my duties, I left Balmora to track down the nord bandit for Larrius Varro. I passed a campsite at the Shulk Eggmine [1:10], and was surprised to find them harmless (I had previously avoided them, thinking they were bandits). I arrived again in the fishing village of Hla Oad, and talked to some of the residents [9:50]. I was killed by an assassin after resting [27:15]. After many unsuccessful attempts, I finally killed the Nord bandit Fjol using Bound Bow when he got stuck on a fence post [32:00]. Returning to Fort Moonmoth, Larrius Varro rewarded me with 100 gold.

Top 10 Videos From 2016

I know blog readers don’t care about videos, but I wanted to record my Top 10 game videos from 2016 for posterity.

One day I decided to click on that Analytics tab on YouTube and found there was actually some information there, like which videos people watched. YouTube ranks videos by watch time, not views, which I suppose indicates that these are the videos that people actually stuck around to watch the most, for some inexplicable reason.

10 – Battlefield 1 – Pt 1 – Intro and Gallipoli. First of my Battlefield 1 playthrough, and first of four Battlefield 1 videos on this list, uploaded in 2016. I guess people like shooters. Interestingly, the “traffic sources” for these videos show a lot from “suggested videos.” I’ve no idea what that means or how that happens.

9 – Battlefield 1 – Pt 9 – Cambrai. More Battlefield 1.

8 – Dark Souls II – Part 15 – Ruined Aflis. This one was from 2015. A really action-packed episode in my epic Dark Souls II blind playthrough series. Starts with our first look at the Ruin Sentinels boss (from which we ran screaming), then goes to our first look at the Heide’s Tower dragon (from which we ran screaming), then ends up with us summoning Ruined Aflis to kill skeletons and turtle knights.

7 – T-Day Stream – Age of Conan, Questing in Eiglophian Mountains. A super oldie from 2014, when I tried streaming regularly for a month, and the only MMORPG in the list. A rare webcam appearance, from back when I used a headset, for the worst possible sound quality.

6 – Dark Souls – Sorcerer to Oolacile Township 2nd Bonfire. Another from 2015, and another rare webcam appearance. At least I had a condenser microphone setup by then.

5 – Battlefield 1 – Pt 8 – Cambrai. More Battlefield 1.

4 – Battlefield 1 – Pt 3 – Italy. More Battlefield 1.

3 – Dark Souls II – Part 17 – The Pursuer Defeated. Part of my epic blind Dark Souls II playthrough from 2015. This is the one where I finally beat that !@#$! Pursuer. Not shown in this video is the 500 times I failed in a previous episode of the series.

2 – Snap Judgment – Novus Inceptio. First (and only) 30 minutes of trying out Steam Early Access survival game Novus Inceptio. I guess people wanted to see it before buying it and apparently I was the only person willing to play it. Has the honor of getting 2 dislikes!

1 – Dark Souls – Sorcerer vs. Sif the Great Grey Wolf. From 2015. Me killing Sif in one shot with a sorcerer, very early in the morning, long before I cared about audio quality. I can only speculate it got a higher watch time because it’s only 3:30 long so people didn’t mind watching the whole thing.

By the way I’m debating uploading a Morrowind playthrough next.

Snap Judgment – The Division Open Beta

The Division isn’t for me.

It’s a very beautiful-looking game. The graphics are fantastic, and the urban environments are very realistic and detailed.

Unfortunately I didn’t see anything new or innovative in the gameplay. The whole time I was playing, I kept thinking, “This plays just like Defiance, and Defiance is free.” The only thing The Division has is the cover mechanic. And the fantastic graphics, of course.

I also couldn’t help but notice that there were very few other people around in this alleged MMO game. Perhaps that’s why they keep talking up the Dark Zone–because that’s the only place that has any people in it?

Anyway, I recorded my impressions in a video.

Trying Bound By Flame

Normally I would write about a new game I tried, but since I never have the time or energy to write anymore, I thought it might be fun to record my first hour of play instead. (Fun for me, at least.) This time I tried out Bound By Flame, an action RPG I got for around $5 in the recent Steam sale. In short, it’s pretty average.