Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Great Halo Schism and Halo 2

If you're reading this, one of the thoughts that may be plaguing your mind at the moment is "ware iz meh Halo 2 guide tyrantz?!"  This is one the leading questions I get asked on a day to day basis.  Yes, it's true that in the past I've shunned the game, and many of you already know that I consider it to be the black sheep of the series, but that hasn't stopped me from promising a guide eventually.  So now the question is, with Mythic and Legendary guides already in play for Halo  3, ODST, Reach, and soon to be Anniversary, what's the hold up?  I'm here to educate you on why I've been holding back and when you could possibly expect the first guide to pop up.

My original niche in the community was the Halo campaign overlord.  Yes, I'm being a bit egotistical with that title, but I've been told by even the developers that my guides tend to be the most referenced within the community itself.  That's quite a compliment coming from the people that I continue to admire and look up to on a daily basis.  This, of course, started back with my first guide produced on HBO back in mid 2008, and when the "Mythic Difficulty" became an avenue to earn Recon Armor the following year, it's presence exploded like a viral plague. 

Now under pressure for the community, I continued my "Mythic tradition" through ODST and Reach, but was ultimately very proud of my work and extremely grateful that I could use my knowledge of the campaign to help others in need.  The sense is nothing short of rewarding.

Following the close of the Reach Mythic Guide, I decided to start my own path and this was the birth of the Tyrant Productions YouTube Channel (  Admittedly this was my biggest personal downfall as someone who eventually wants to turn his hobby into a legitimate business.  YouTube had been a BIG thing for years, and I was getting into the act very late in the game, not just by YouTube standards, but also by the Halo Community's.  The channel officially began in November of 2010 and became the hub for all of my video guides.  With Bungie's support, I was able to gain the attention of MUCH of the Halo community.  They were the backbone of my channel's traffic.

However, in mid 2011, what I commonly refer to as the "Great Halo Schism" occurred in which Bungie relinquished themselves from Microsoft's grasp by forfeiting the rights to Halo.  The damage wasn't apparent at first, but once 343 Industries stepped up to the plate to become the main Halo hub via Halo Waypoint, it resonated like a tremendous West Coast earthquake.  The community slowly became divided between what had been their main Halo hub for nine years and the newly formed Halo Waypoint.  Soon, Bungie "went dark" all together, leaving the community to find their own way.

As I said before, up until that point, Bungie had been my main source for advertisement.  With millions of people surfing their site on a daily basis, and many of my guides being posted on their front page within a day or two of release (even once in the Weekly Update!), it wasn't unusual for my guides to receive 10,000-15,000 views on a regular basis with some going above 20,000.  When the Great Halo Schism hit, it hit hard.  The change could almost be seen over night.  With no source to connect people to the site other than the current subscribers, I was pulling in roughly 1,000-2,000 hits per guide video.  Had this been a business rather than a channel, I would have viciously sought the nearest buyer.  For those of you trying to do the math, that's roughly 90% traffic drop.  Looking at my video history, you can plainly see when and where this occurred.

343 Industries, the division of Microsoft handling Halo's production, sought out well-known community members to help bring them on board to the new order of things.  I'll give them props for trying, and hopefully with time, they can slowly regain the same popularity that had earned over the years, but even when they would post my items in their blog (which hasn't been nearly as often as Bungie), at best the guide videos would get roughly 2,000-3,000 hits.  To this day, the highest count post-Schism is around 6,300.  Not bad, but still severely less than how it began.

I do blame myself for much of this as I wish I had gotten into the game much earlier on.  Perhaps if I had gained more initial subscribers I wouldn't have felt the impact as badly as I have, but alas we cannot change history, so it remains to be what it is.

Recently, I've been in talks with a company called Game Station--a large YouTube network made up of popular gaming communities, and as of right now, partnership with them is in the works.  My hope is to gain back at lease SOME of the traffic that I lost after the Schism so that I may continue to reach out to people and spread the love of my guides.  Until then, we're still on the slow train.

Many of you have asked about the Halo 2 guide, especially since recently I've veered slightly off course with other games such as World of Warcraft, but here's the deal, subscribers.  When I create guides, I do it for two reasons.  The first is that I enjoy playing the game a lot, and in doing so, I learn to reverse engineer many of the campaign mechanics.  This leads to my second reason.  I like sharing those secrets and strategies with the world to help other folks better their experiences with the game.  What I do not do is make these guides for entertainment purposes.  The jokes and comments you hear are simply my nature and are a side benefit to the folks who watch my work.  So when I'm inquired to do things like pain-staking tasks in current games, OR going back and making a guide for a game I really didn't enjoy, I see little to no benefit from it.  If only a few hundred people are going to see it versus the tens of thousands who used to, is it really worth all the time and effort?  Hence I have made a bargain with my community.  I will commence with the Halo 2 Legendary guide ONLY when and if my partnership with the Game Station is finalized.

So what can you the viewers do?  If you're one to simply watch my videos and move on, while your views are appreciated to a point, you also do the least amount of anyone to pass through my site.  Many others take the next step and like, comment, and subscribe.  Others go even further and solicit my work to their own friends and colleagues to attract more attention to the videos I work so hard to produce.  A few people in the community have even gone as far as to actually taking advantage of the DONATION button on the right side of the homepage and have actively and financial found ways to help the site continue onward.  These folks are the true heroes in my eyes and have the most leverage in what I post and what I don't post.

So now you know the story.  There are many great things to come for, but you as the subscriber must take action as well.  Even if that means giving videos a chance that aren't Halo related.  Since I do play other games other than Halo (there's only so much I can do with campaign), give them a try.  Even if the game is different, if you primarily watch for the commentary and jokes anyway, than I doubt you'll be disappointed by what you see and hear.

Thanks again for reading my wall of text, and more so, for continuing to stick by me and my community as we continue to grow!

The Tyrant

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Origins of "Women of Xbox"

As many of you know, I began my YouTube channel ( in late 2010 by producing video walkthroughs of my favorite game series "Halo", and to this day, the gaming guides remain to be the primary focus of my work.  I love being able to share my knowledge with the community and helping folks when and where I can to help them dominate what I consider to be the most revolutionary series of our generation.  I had started writing walkthroughs in early 2008 on a site called "HBO" ( shortly after developing and conquering an in-game mode now known as Mythic Difficulty--a more refined version of the LASO challenges found in Halo: Reach--and wanted to be able to post more guides on a regular basis that would give folks a visual of the mission from start to finish rather than always being forced to read pages and pages of text.  I myself am a visual learner and suspect many other gamers out there are as well.

Shortly after my channel began, I started dating a girl who feigned interest in gaming long enough to reel me in.  In the months to come, I learned that not only did she not play video games, but in fact despised them and absolutely hated what I did on YouTube.  Her reasoning was "it will never get you anywhere in life".  Looking at successful companies like Rooster Teeth--folks who started out small just like me--I found that very hard to believe.  But even so, it didn't matter.  I still enjoyed what I did (and still do) regardless of whether or not it would transform into a career.  She once went as far as to saying that if I ever placed a ring on her finger (and thank God I dodged that bullet), the Xbox was going in the trash.  Keep in mind, of course, that I do not consider myself a hardcore gamer.  I don't play everyday, and when I do, it's typically for work purposes--guides and videos for the channel.

I tried numerous times to get her to at least give it a try, and if she didn't like it, THEN she could hate on it.  To me, test driving a new hobby is much like trying a new type of food.  You can't really bash it until you've at least experienced it.  However, she refused and continued driving my channel's progress into the gutter.

However, we had a mutual friend, female, who was no stranger to games.  She was absolutely in love with them, owning both a 360 and a Wii as well as a whole pile of games.  She loved playing, and whenever she visited, we'd often play together.  She was the first girl I'd ever met who actually had a true passion for gaming, and I grew to appreciate it deeply.  

Relax.  The thought of cheating never crossed my mind.

A few months later, I attended PAX 2011 and learned that she was far from being one of a kind.  There were entire organizations dedicated to female gamers from all over the world!  Groups such as the PMS Clan and the Frag Dolls proved to me that not only were there women out there who didn't classify gaming as a "men's-only" activity--which is absurd to begin with, but that many of them were some of the top gamers on the planet; even competing and kicking ass in the all-powerful MLG organization.  These ladies are actually PAID to steamroll everyone else out there and do a fantastic job with it.

After meeting with these talented women, I was inspired to create a new show on my channel; one that would both champion the female gamers of the world as well as encourage others to play who may have previously been sexist towards the activity.  Halo's Grifball community manager Goosechecka, bravely stepped up to the plate and took the show by the reins.  Her presentations were nothing short of incredible with each show bringing in well over 1000 views.  Her sense of humor and insane Halo skills spread like wild fire, taking the community by storm.  Since then, many other talent gamers have stepped forward as well and presented their skills on the show, making me proud to be associated with such a positive organization set out to do the world some much needed good.

The relationship that brought me to this point was a painful one, but it did inspire me.  Thanks to that, my appreciation for the female gamers of the world has never been greater.  The goal of the show remains the same; to champion the talents of the community, share them with the world, encouraging others to play, and eventually bringing the online hate to a halt.  Ambitious, I know, but I dream big, and that's how nearly every revolutionary global accomplishment started... with a dream.