Published on: Aug 24, 2015 @ 15:06
While it’s taken a while for gaming to become a part of the mainstream, most people are aware that video games are often used as an escape from real life for a while.
Gaming is a very common hobby, and it’s not “just a game” for many people. It’s not just about playing the games either: It’s about watching them, interacting with streamers, and forging friendships.
Destiny, and many other games, are becoming more and more of a social experience. One of the top games streamed on Twitch is Destiny, which is impressive in itself as the other top games include mostly eSports titles like League of Legends. Just this past month in July, Destiny was the 10th-most watched game on all of Twitch due simply to an extremely passionate and growing community and a plethora of friendly & entertaining broadcasters.
As the Destiny Twitch community has grown over the past 11+ months, many friendships have been formed, such as the bond between KingGothalion and ProfessorBroman. A few months ago, the two of them decided to have a meet-up event, to come together as a community for both broadcasters and viewers. The meet-up took on the unofficial name “DestinyCon” – comprised with tons of Destiny fans that otherwise probably wouldn’t know each other if it hadn’t been for the strong bond that Destiny/games delivered.
@Gothalion @InsideDestiny @Professorbroman @LacedUpLauren @DattosDestiny It was awesome meeting everyone! #destinycon pic.twitter.com/chUwaEhatO
— Harrison Hethershaw (@HHethershaw) August 15, 2015
The bar and grill venue was packed from wall to wall with people of a wide age range, everyone from middle-aged kids to adults. Attempting to walk from one end of the room to the other was nearly an impossibility as fans lined up for a chance to interact with their favorite personalities from the community. The restaurant’s management was blown away by the crowd, which was much bigger than they or anyone expected as the number of visitors climbed into the hundreds.
Gothalion was like a rock star as people followed him wherever he went, eager for a chance to interact with him. The crowd went crazy as he threw Engram stress balls into the masses, a gift from Bungie themselves, who took notice of the unofficial DestinyCon event.
“There’s something to be said about the connections that you make with people on the Internet on a daily basis,” said Gothalion in a recent YouTube video about the event. “It’s been absolutely amazing, just to surmise this whole experience.”
An amazing time with literally the best group of people one could ask for. A community that's now become a family. pic.twitter.com/DWV1MnmWPc
— Ari Smith (@tripleWRECK) August 15, 2015
The vibe inside the bar and grill was incredible, bursting with positive vibes and enthusiasm. It’s easy to be swallowed up by the negativity in any community, and Destiny is no different sometimes, but the Destiny Twitch community is a rarity where mostly everyone is friendly and supportive of each other. “There were people coming out from as far as Iceland, I met a kid who was from Iceland and it blew my mind,” Gothalion said.
Laced Up Lauren is another Twitch broadcaster who attended the meetup, who’s also going to be taking on one of the Taken King’s live streams. She has played Destiny since the beta and has seen her channel grow immensely since the game released.
“DestinyCon was one of the most exciting and fulfilling nights of my life,” said Lauren, who just recently reached 250,000 followers on Twitch. “I will never be able to truly explain how amazing it was. I was constantly surrounded by loving and kind broadcasters and viewers that have helped me through building a community within Destiny.”
After we entered the packed-to-capacity bar and grill in Tampa, I watched as person after person approached her and asked for a photo or an autograph. Many people expressed their admiration for her and her channel and many others just wanted to talk about the game. Even more talked to her about how her stream is a happy place for them, and a way to escape everyday life.
Last night was so amazing, surprised I don't have a hangover to match it #DestinyCon pic.twitter.com/zZXV9fZOZD
— Sydney (@Mermaid_Sydney) August 15, 2015
“It’s a pretty weird and crazy feeling having a person come up to you and ask you for your autograph when you’re just someone who plays video games on the internet,” she said. “But through years of streaming you create bonds and friendships with a person behind a username. You get to put a face to their name and it kind of feels like when you talk to these people that you’ve known them forever even though you’ve never met.”
DestinyCon was a way for broadcasters to meet fans, but it was also a way for anyone who streams Destiny to come together and hangout to talk about their passion on more real level than is possible in the virtual world.
“Every broadcaster at DestinyCon is exactly who they are on stream,” she said. “They are all really supportive of one another and everyone just wants to see the Destiny community succeed. It makes me feel like part of a family. I was a broadcaster on Twitch way before Destiny but this game’s community is where I feel comfortable and it definitely is what helped blow up my channel. I have a pretty big attachment to Destiny in more ways than just my channel, though. It’s helped me find some of the best friends I have. It’s more than just a game, it is a huge part of my everyday life.”
Lauren’s “Cool Kids Table” came out in a big way to meet her in Tampa and it’s something that she won’t soon forget or ever take for granted.
“If I’m having a rough day, they can instantly turn it around with kind words and just being there to support and watch my stream,” she said. “Thank you to everyone who has ever supported The Cool Kids Table. If you made the trip to DestinyCon, you are awesome. I’m glad that I can provide people with entertainment and a smile once in a while. Just know that you have changed my life if you have ever tuned into my stream. Thank you so much.”
Lauren will have another chance to have an impact on many lives and make The Cool Kids Table proud when she visits Bungie as their special guest for the “Court of Oryx” live stream on September 2nd.
More Than a Game
It’s now more apparent than ever that Destiny is so much more than a game to many people. I’m still trying to register everything I saw and heard at DestinyCon, as it seemed more like a celebrity meet-and-greet than an interactive event between a bunch of people who play video games.
One of my biggest takeaways from the evening was simply just how incredibly nice everyone was. All of the broadcasters, no matter how big or small they are in the grand scheme, were friendly and eager to meet anyone and everyone. All of the fans who attended the event were also incredibly kind to everyone they met.
Pardon my unkept hair but this #DestinyCon is a dream come so true. pic.twitter.com/BtJkrDHVfg
— Pucci (@Vespucci95) August 15, 2015
Day in and day out, broadcasters like Lauren, Gothalion, Broman and many others are welcomed into the homes of thousands of people across the world. The amazing thing is that the attendees of DestinyCon were just a small sample size of those who look up to and admire people like them. To see the kind words of someone in a chatroom, doesn’t come close to comparing to the sight of seeing a fan’s eyes light up as they meet their favorite broadcaster, or seeing their hands shake with nervousness as they hand them a pen to sign an autograph.
Later in the evening, the event continued on to a different bar for a 21-and-over portion. The large amount of participants soon filled the new venue to capacity and another bar was found shortly after to round out the night. People who had just met in person that night were grouped together like long-lost friends. And it was all because of Destiny. Bungie’s “ten year” vision for Destiny is clear. Although Year One was rocky in a number of ways, Year Two looks very promising and it’s only going to improve. However, no matter what turn Destiny takes, the friendships and memories that have already been forged will last a lifetime.
I recently got an email from Lostwitstillhope – a fan who wanted to share his personal experience:
Destiny is more than a game to me, I haven’t met anyone yet from my clan or gotten together with players but I’m sure I will eventually! I will say this, before Destiny, I was suffering with deep depression due to the lost of an important family member. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of the game or even knew anything about it just that there was a lot of hype. Every time I played I got more attached as if it was healing my depression and giving me an opening to relieve my pain. As I continued to learn more I met amazing people, I’ve had 2 clans before forming ALC. They have helped me recover and look forward to the future.
Destiny has done more for me than many other games. I’ve been in other communities and I feel like what Destiny’s at large has created is rather spectacular. But it isn’t perfect. We all have room to grow and things that need to change, but my hope is this has given us a better understanding of how these things are cultivated so we can begin to make this place more like a home.
Because that’s what a good culture is: a Tower to hang our hats in. Sure, there might be a few weeds springing up in the Iron Banner’s courtyard, but they seem to be rooting themselves out when the community operates as it should – picking the bad ones and leaving the rest to grow strong in the light of the Traveler.