RGL YouTube: 2021 Recap/Stats and Changes Going Forward
Before the article starts, I want to mention that this was written by Maven
, who has now retired from RGL. I (QueeQuey
) am now the video team leader, but I thought it’d be best to post the last article that he wrote as it is written well and paints a good picture of where the team is at the moment. I will add more to the end (and will mention when I am adding more), for more information that is relevant.
2021 was a very eventful year for the RGL YouTube channel
. Most importantly the RGL Video Team started uploading this year. Before 2021, the video team had existed for a few months but only in concept, a small list of names and ideas, and occasionally pinging @exa then asking if I can run the YouTube channel.
Time for a stat dump! We had 305.1k Views, 1.5k new subscribers, and 195 new videos. Of those new videos, there were 47 Highlights/archives, 38 Dispatch episodes, 3 Pro Players VS, 3 Demo Reviews, 2 Videos I uploaded without telling anyone, 99 VODS, and the last few are MISC. I didn’t bother counting the numbers for the previous year but in terms of uploads and pure variety of content, we have grown quite a lot, however, the content is not all enjoyed equally.
Of the new content, people’s favorite videos leaned toward the Demo Reviews, Pro Players VS videos, and the other MISC videos, while it looks like nobody cared at all about the highlight videos. The VODs did not change in people’s minds and Dispatch has its little conversation to discuss later.
The Demo Review series
fills a niche that isn’t super common on the whole of TF2 YouTube, and it looks like everyone enjoyed the idea of having someone there to ask questions and help explain things in a way everyone can understand. This is a series that entirely relies on people being interested in learning the class I’m talking about in the video, so the wildly different view counts between them isn’t surprising at all (Roamer having double the views of the Medic video). Even with the varied view counts, the feedback on them has been universally positive and I hope to be able to continue making great demo reviews.
The Pro Players VS
videos are special to me personally due to how labor-intensive they are, so it’s nice to see the love that they receive. Each video has its own unique theming and feels to it that makes the series stand out, and by the looks of it and what I’ve been told, that is appreciated. I wasn’t sure how people would take having me discuss the frailty of life and using the 7 stages of grief
as the framing of a video on funny highlander but that one has the most views. These are very intense videos for me to make. Each video so far had taken about a month but the next one to come out has been in production for more than 2 months now. I host the pugs, download and study the live streams, outline the video/theme, write the script, animate and edit it. That process added to my 40+ hour work week, the other videos on the channel, and desperately attempting to have a life of my own, results in a very slow release schedule.
The last section in the good news category is the MISC/uploaded without telling anyone videos. This range wildly in content from show matches to using marshmallows as a measurement system
to nothing but decloak noises
. These videos get the most positive feedback/view count out of them all. The videos above have a 99.1%, 97.8%, and 99.4% like ratio respectively while all having more views than any VOD uploaded around them other than Grand Finals. It’s not entirely surprising that these are popular since they are purely there for entertainment and some lighthearted fun, but it’s nice to see people agree with it. The conclusion here is that I’m going to keep making non-sense videos when I’m sad as people tend to enjoy those quite a lot.
The highlight videos were always intended as bite-sized versions of the full VOD for people to watch during a lunch break or between classes. Eventually, we looked at the stats and noticed that if people wanted to watch TF2 footage, they would just watch a full game or something else entirely. The Archive
videos do tend to bring in more views than the highlights videos did. These are the same thing except instead of doing a recent match, we do older matches we know were good. It ends up making the content more interesting on its while also showcasing older matches and VODs on the channel. All in all, the Archives format is much better than the Highlights format, and therefore Highlights themselves will be discontinued. RGL Dispatch
is a weird one to talk about, on one hand, it was liked by pretty much everyone that watched it, the series has an almost perfect like/dislike ratio. On the other hand, nobody ever watched it. The show itself built up a small following and those that did watch it, consistently watched it, but that number was very low. Unlike Highlights though, Dispatch was never canceled. It was run, edited, voice acted, and pretty much entirely made by QueeQuey
and another staff member who has since left the team. Losing a staff member was a big setback but it didn’t kill the project. The only reason the series isn’t uploaded every Saturday is that each video takes 6-8 hours of work, and they need to be uploaded weekly. 6-8 hours a week isn’t the worst thing ever until you realize that QueeQuey, similarly to me, also has a life outside of TF2. Life happens, gets in the way, and can prevent you from being able to keep up to date on the latest standings, forum posts, and roster changes. Given the nature of a news show, if you’re late, you’re outdated. I’m hopeful that we can get Dispatch up and running again eventually.
Lastly in our recap, we have the topic of the VODs. The growth of the channel has resulted in the growth of view counts on all videos but that has impacted VODs the least of all the video types. This is weird because they are more than half of the videos we upload. The popular VODs get a lot more views while the unpopular ones only get a little more. To showcase this best, we can look at a few VODs. Highlander S8 Grand Finals has 1,446 views at the time of writing, meanwhile, the S9 Grand Finals that was uploaded much more recently has 2,570 views. If we look at the same distance but another set of VODs, the Sixes S5 W2A VOD between Witness Gaming and Rebirth eSports has 735 views, while the S6 W2A VOD of Witness Gaming vs Ford Gaming, has 808 views. Both have received 0 views in the last 48 hours. This leads nicely into the channel going forward.
The topic of goals for the channel has come up quite a few times when talking about it with Sigafoo
. My goal for the channel has always been to put out entertaining content for people to enjoy focused on competitive and TF2. Before I took over, the channel was almost entirely just an archival channel, all it was used for was reuploading VODs from Twitch. This was functional but resulted in the very same thing repeatedly structure to the channel. When a season wasn’t running the channel was also empty and didn’t upload for long periods. Both are issues I’ve been fighting to solve since I took over, but they have also given the channel a reputation for that functional nature.
After quite a few discussions and randomly asking people in the RGL discord, it’s come to my attention that a lot of people don’t know that we make videos that aren’t VODs. This kind of goes at odds with what I have said previously about MISC videos that have done well but if you look at the channel from a new viewers perspective, the videos that aren’t VODs are currently being drowned under the weight of every other video being a VOD of a match they probably don’t care about or plan on watching. Even if you are looking to watch a VOD of a match, how do you know which ones are good? How does anyone coming into competitive TF2 know which matches are worth watching? You really can’t.
Going forward, I want to help emphasize the videos that matter to people, the close matches, the marshmallow measurements
, and so on. To do this, we will be splitting up the VODs on the channel. The close games or exciting matches will all be uploaded publicly as normal, but the lesser matches, the complete rolls, the stalemates, will all be uploaded exclusively to YouTube Members. Every match will still be viewable on Twitch if the VOD is there as well as streamed live completely as normal. This way, anyone who is showing up to the channel or just wants to see a good game, doesn’t have to dig around to find the best one worth watching, and people who like to watch every game still can, either on Twitch or by being a YouTube member.
This solution comes with the drawback of having fewer views on the channel, and I fully understand that. I’m willing to lose views on those videos if I can make a new viewer and new competitive player's entry into the channel as easy as possible and as entertaining as possible. Ultimately it just comes down to giving the best experience on the channel for everyone.
The Future (addendum) and applications
Ok, It’s QueeQuey again. Since Maven has left, anything that was run by him will be put on hold at least for now. The video team at the moment is very small, with only 4 designated members total (including myself), 3 of which are video editors. The plan is to get future VODs up as quickly as possible, that way you don’t have to go to Twitch to watch them after a match. This means that the quality of the edits will be lower, but you get the content in a more timely manner. The VODs will be split up as Maven mentioned previously, mostly off of the quality of the matches. The matches that you generally want to see, aka those with large significance and matches that don’t have rolls/long stalemates will continue to be public. The less interesting matches will be uploaded to the YouTube channel but will be behind the membership; that way that anyone new to RGL or competitive TF2 can click on any video and have a good experience and see what Competitive TF2 is all about. Next, for the future of the team, after talking to Sigafoo we’d like to see more dedicated applicants for the video team. Both to work on VODs when needed, and to create videos in general for the team. We’d like to have more entertaining content for outreach to the general TF2 audience rather than just appealing to the people who are already playing competitive TF2. A good example would be the “Pro TF2 Players VS” series, it incorporates RGL and competitive TF2 while being an entertaining series, my favorite was the Medieval one. Maven became the prominent personality on the RGL YouTube channel through those videos, just like how some of you might already know me from Dispatch. The goal is to get a few personalities to be prevalent on the channel and to have a returning viewer base for those personalities. If you’re interested in volunteering for the RGL Video Team to do VODs, project videos, and more you can apply at the link below.