Twitch drops for WoW and Overwatch are marketing from hell and it’s just annoying

WoW Dragonflight field rake title 2

My MMO demon Cortyn is fed up with twitch drops. They are marketing from hell – and devalue the good content.

The whole thing has probably been a problem for a lot longer, but it only seems so aggressive to me since Blizzard jumped on the bandwagon – which has simply happened more and more in the last few months: twitch drops and their penetration. Since I regularly find myself in three Blizzard games, it’s almost impossible to avoid this ad:

  • “Watch our Hearthstone reveal stream and you’ll get a card pack!”
  • “Watch this Overwatch tournament and you’ll get a Halloween skin!”
  • “Watch WoW for the release of Dragonflight and get exclusive mounts!”

I know this will cause confused eye rubbing and amazement among the “I’m not buying the game, I can also watch it as a Let’s Play” generation, but:

I’d rather play games myself than watch others play them. Of course there are exceptions. Sometimes you want to see a guide in video form, just hear a Twitch streamer’s opinion, or just get a little “drinked” while eating.

This dragon is there if you watch Twitch – during the release of “Dragonflight”.

Twitch Drops invalidate the content that grants them

On the one hand, I understand the reasoning of the players who just want to get free stuff. Having some player running in the background so you can grab free in-game skins, toys, or mounts is tempting in a way, of course, and depending on what you can get, it’s also a nice thing.

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I also realize that it’s a nice bonus if you’re interested in this type of content anyway. Anyone who follows the “Overwatch League” anyway and is interested in the matches will also get rewards because the content really interests them.

On the other hand, the whole thing is so transparent. Conversely, more viewers on Twitch or YouTube means that a game is displayed particularly prominently and in turn attracts even more viewers, who may then become players. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing – just a clear PR campaign to create more awareness for the game. So in a few months you can say, “World of Warcraft has gotten more exposure than ever before” or “The Overwatch League is getting more viewers than ever before.”

But is that true? At least in my circle of friends, the Overwatch League hasn’t “reached” anyone.

In the numbers and statistics, it still looks good later. Because you can say (quite correctly) that X-thousand viewers tuned in to the league every day. They just saw very little of it.

It would probably annoy me if I were one of the content creators for these games and realized that I suddenly had ten times the number of viewers – but actually only 10% really wanted to see my content. The rest then minimized and muted me in the background to grab any rewards. I could hardly imagine a greater devaluation of my own work.

Overwatch 2 free skin twitch free werewolf winston cover art
Watch Twitch for a Winston skin. Who did it? I. Naturally.

Overwatch League: streamed for 20 hours, didn’t see any of it

Especially with Overwatch 2, it has been a part of having some stream running in the background in the last few weeks. Either some content creators or the Overwatch League on YouTube. That was then rewarded with legendary skins, voice lines and other cosmetic stuff. A lot of my friends – myself included – have used it and barely seen a minute of the content.

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The reality is that you start such a stream, then banish it to silent in the background and eventually turn it off again when you end the gaming session anyway.

It’s similar with World of Warcraft. If I run a few hours of WoW content on Twitch there at the launch of Dragonflight, there is a mount that used to be worth $3,000.

I know this is another Cortyn’s Insane Gaming Views of the Last Millennium chapter, but with the launch of a new World of Warcraft expansion, I really have better things to do than watch other people play. Random sample: Play the expansion yourself.

The whole thing always reminds me of a somewhat dystopian sketch by the satirist Volker Pispers (via YouTube), who suggested that the unemployed could be made to watch ads so that the industry would have a guaranteed amount of ad viewers.

Twitch drops are as dumb as we are, so do we deserve them?

One can ask oneself which of the two sides is more stupid. The PR guys because they think that drops like that really make you become a fan of streaming content like that, or we gamers because we go along with any crap for a 2 second voiceline because people just love collecting. The two sides probably don’t give much to each other.

Last but not least, it annoys me which rewards are given there, because they make the respective game poorer.

In a few years, if someone asks me where I got that cool rock-infested dragon from, it would be much more interesting to be able to say “I got it from this rare enemy” or “It waits at the end of a long riddle”.

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Instead, the honest answer is, “There was if you had a stream running, but I don’t even know what was on because I didn’t watch it.”

I hope that all this “drop madness” on Twitch and YouTube will subside in the years to come – not just for Blizzard, but for all games.

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