Know Your YouTuber Series: Drift0r

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We’re kicking off a brand new recurring feature here on MP1st, and it’s called “Knowing Your YouTubers” where we put the spotlight on today’s biggest and brightest YouTubers that focus on multiplayer games.

Kicking things off is “Drift0r” who covers Call of Duty games, and usually does a good in-depth video regarding the weapons, and their stats. Check out our Q&A with him below.

MP1st: For those not familiar with you, why is your YouTube name “Drift0r” and what’s with the yin-yang symbol?

Drift0r: The answer to both of these questions is the same. I just like them. I liked the name “drifter” and used it for a long time. However lots of people use that name and getting unique accounts on some websites was hard so I started using “driftor”. As the internet grew, so did the number of people also using “driftor” and eventually I had to start putting in 1337 letters. Eventually it became “drift0r” and not many people used that name so I didn’t need to change it. I think yin-yangs just look cool. I’ve had several items with that design over the course of my life starting with a yo-yo in 2nd grade. Thankfully the Halo 2 emblem editor allowed me to use a yin yang so I chose that as my player icon. The yin-yang I use today is a just a fancier version of this one from Halo 2:
^that is actually the original file pulled from Bungie.net ages ago.
MP1st: A lot of people think or assume that YouTubers who focus on one game, are in the publisher’s pocket. How do you react to this? 

Drift0r: That is rarely the case. The reality is more that they are pigeonholing themselves to one particular audience. Publishers rarely have any sort of contractual or even quid-pro-quo kind of agreements with YouTubers. Big publisher marketing budgets don’t normally cover long term sponsorships of influences who rise and fall faster than a big corporation is even able to make a plan. That is the general view of the scene. But yes, some companies pay for game converge. The FTC has been incredibly strict the last few years so any company and (any) YouTuber with half a brain should be putting FTC disclosures in their videos for sponsored works. I know that since I am mainly a CoD channel and that this an article for a CoD audience I might as well address the current elephant in the room: Activision doesn’t pay. Period. I wish they did. If ATVI paid I would be able to afford a new computer instead of waiting and part shopping. They set up a hard rule over six years ago to literally never pay influencers. It sets up an unhealthy dynamic and is arbitrarily expensive in their eyes. They don’t have to pay when CoD is such a hot brand.

One exception to all of this is mobile game publishers and YouTubers. I have noticed that some mobile game publishers basically buy a YouTuber to only post content form their mobile games. It’s weird and I avoid mobile games like the plague so I don’t pretend to understand it. Sidenote to upcoming YouTubers, if you want to make fast cash and don’t give a damn about your audience, just promote a ton of mobile games.

MP1st: What do you do if you tweet, publish a video that Activision doesn’t like? Have you ever buckled under a company’s demands (you can choose not to name the game/company, etc.)

Drift0r: This answer to this is situational. Leaks, embargo dates, hacked or mined data, and incorrect info are legal matters that need to be abided by. Most game companies are focused on bad PR and impossible promises. A massive leak or sharing unfinished game assets but saying they are real causes huge problems for big companies. I try not to do those things because it hurts the company and rarely benefits me in the long run. As for stuff ATVI doesn’t like, oh man, ummm, I’m sure they would everything to be super positive all the time but that isn’t reality. If I’m going to criticize, complain, or be damaging, the goal is to do so in a sane and controlled manner. Helpful criticism is best too.

MP1st: How do you handle the so-called YouTube Adpolcaypse given YouTube is your full-time gig?

Drift0r: For no particular reason my channel has been almost unaffected. Out of 2,500 videos, only 12 have been demonetized. Of those 12, they are mostly ones that should be demonetized. I think my channel was somehow whitelisted. Any video get gets demonetized is usually fixed in less than a day. So as of now, my main channel is unaffected. My second channel is getting murdered by yellow dollar signs though. Funny thing is that I will upload videos there privately with the same title, tags, description, and thumbnail. They get demonetized on the second channel but are fine on the main channel.

All that being said it terrifies me. It absolutely terrifies me because YouTube is my full-time job that I use to support my family. However, I am subject to the whims of ever changing algorithm built on 10 years of fraken-code that basically nobody I’ve talked to truly understands. YouTube changes how it rewards creators (views, likes, video length, ad category ect) all the time and changes rules all the time. It makes me very uncomfortable to work in an environment where the rules will arbitrarily changed and not be explained. That is why I started streaming on Twitch again. My Twitch is small potatoes compared to YouTube but at least it is a plan B.

MP1st: What’s your favorite Call of Duty game of all-time and why?

Drift0r: Black Ops 2. It has the best overall balance, polish, and design of a game. I love CoD4 and MW2, but Black Ops 2 has far less flaws than those games. I can still boot up Black Ops 2 today and have fun. It had great zombies, DLC cycle, iconic weapons, fun streaks, fun maps, and just about everything I could want in a CoD game.

MP1st: Who’s your favorite COD developer?

Drift0r: I would rather not answer this question because I know people at all three studios and don’t want to hurt any feelings. I will say that Raven is underappreciated. They help make games for all three studios but don’t get the credit in the community. I for one want to see CoD on a four-year cycle with Raven in the mix.

MP1st: What are your plans for when Call of Duty “flatlines?” You have a backup franchise to fall back on?

Drift0r: Take up alcoholism and pray a lot. I realize that I am a long time overdue for a bigger and more serious backup plan.

MP1st: Do you often get asked by Call of Duty studios for development input regarding gameplay? Can you cite an example where it turned out well?

Drift0r:Nothing formal but I do talk to devs. Everything at the studio is under NDA and private conversations are private for a reason. I have to be vague, but the yes I do offer feedback. Devs from all three studios listen and sometimes incorporate changes from YouTuber/stream feedbacks. Most of the time it’s something that the studio is already having internal debates about and getting feedback from a high level player is helpful. Sometimes it”s a small detail that is missed. And sometimes is just a off that wall suggestion that is easy to implement. Rarely is it anything high level or radical. I can’t give specific examples though for reasons.


MP1st: What do you think keeps gamers coming back to Call of Duty each year? Most shooters are 60fps now, many have incorporated RPG-esque ranking up and customization mechanics, and yet Call of Duty remains strong. 

Drift0r: The game is snappy and responsive in a way that very few consoles shooters are. Hits register fast, momentum changes are instant, controls are response and easy, there is no input delay, there’s no “50fps is almost as good as 60fps”, and when I shoot people in the face they die. CoD is game that runs fast with few delays. I know that many people reading this will instantly want to criticize lag, low damage, and magic bullets. But think of how many console shooters you’ve played that were 30fps, 45fps, or an unstable 60fps. How many of them had slow moving or unresponsive characters on top of input delay that makes aiming impossible. How many times have you played a CoD killer game for an hour and though “Was this developed by gorillas?” CoD simply works in ways so few games do on consoles.

MP1st: Favorite weapon, map, killstreak, etc?

Drift0r: For CoD WW2: M1941 Johnson, Operation Breakout, Paratroopers (I know yours are bad, but my Paratroopers get 6-8 kills every time). For all time: BO1 Akimbo Skorpion, BO2 Grind, BO2 Dogs

MP1st: If you weren’t a YouTuber today, what would you be?

Drift0r: Depressed.

MP1st: Any advice to those people who want to start a career as a video game YouTuber/streamer? Is it still a viable career path?

Drift0r: Start today. Don’t wait on exactly the right capture card, and exactly the right mic, and the best video ever, and best topic ever and best blah blah blah. Too many people make huge plans on how to take over YouTube and spends six months to a year waiting everything to be just right. Few ever end up doing anything. If you wait too long your dreams will just become day dreams. You actually have to start doing it now — today. You have to get serious about making something then go and actually do it. Tomorrow ins’t good enough. You also need to realize that you will fail hundreds of times before you ever get true success. The hardest part of YouTube/Twitch/Mixer/Instagram/Twitter is starting out with 0 followers. You have no reach and nobody cares. What you have to do is just follow your own passion and make content about things that matter to you. Don’t emulate what is popular, nobody will care. Instead speak from your heart or follow your dreams on stream and do exactly what you want to do. People will respond to that passion and care. Then it all starts to snowball. You first 100 follower is harder than reaching 500. Reaching 500 is a lot harder than reaching 5,000, and so on and so on. YouTube is still a super viable career path. It is just chaotic and hard.

MP1st: Are you privy to advance stuff from the COD devs? Aside from capture events, are you “in the know” usually when it comes to future titles, maps, specifics but can’t talk about it?

Drift0r:
😉


We’d like to thank Drift0r for taking the time out to answer our questions. You can watch his stuff on YouTube or follow him on Twitter for the latest updates regarding his work.

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