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Behind-the-Streams of D&D’s Stream of Annihilation

Behind-the-Streams of D&D’s Stream of Annihilation

On June 2 and 3, some of Dungeons & Dragons’ brightest stars and most passionate players and dungeon masters gathered in Seattle for a role-playing extravaganza. The Stream of Annihilation, as it was dubbed, was both a product announcement event for the new storyline Tomb of Annihilation from Wizards of the Coast, and a celebration of D&D groups who stream online.

Part of the cast of Critical Role was invited to play, along with role-playing games luminaries Ivan Van Norman and Satine Phoenix.

Here are the highlights from an amazing weekend of Dungeons & Dragons.

A Focus on Community

While part of the stream focused on new products coming from Wizards of the Coast, including Tomb of Annihilation and Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate, it was the players in attendance who really stood in the spotlight.

A group of diverse D&D players were invited from all over the world, including Geek & Sundry, Force Grey, Acquisitions Incorporated: The “C” Team, Misscliks, Maze Arcana, Dice, Camera, Action!, High Rollers (U.K.), and Dragon Friends (Australia).

“One of the goals of this event is to get all of these awesome D&D streamers together in one room, shaking hands, kissing babies, trading emails, because a lot of them have seen each other online and watching stuff, but have never met,” said Nathan Stewart, Sr. Director of Global Brand Strategy and Marketing for Dungeons & Dragons. “Now all of a sudden they’re like, ‘Oh, hey! Maybe I’ll come on [your stream]!'”

Stewart is a fan of online D&D streams not only because of the fantastic storytelling viewers are treated to, but also because of the worlds that are opened when someone tunes in for the first time. “I think that’s why I like getting all these fun people together,” says Stewart, “because if you think D&D isn’t for you, and then you look at [the players streaming], you’re like, oh, why isn’t for me? I mean, who do you see on here that isn’t you? If you don’t identify with him, what about her? Of course it’s for you. It’s for everyone.”

Even the crew filming the second season of Force Grey found themselves swept up in the story, says Stewart. “Matt Mercer is a great storyteller and just weaves them in. There were times when the crew was just [mesmerized], and I think there’s some shots they didn’t get because they were watching instead of filming.

“I heard one guy say, ‘Wait, this is what D&D is? I’m totally going to play!’”

D&D on Twitch Levels Up

With that in mind, Wizards of the Coast is using their recently renamed Twitch channel to pack every single week with Dungeons & Dragons.

“These are all groups that we have worked with to develop streams that will probably go about the next three months,” Stewart says. “So every week they’ll be playing through different storylines of the Tomb of Annihilation, and so they all have the same big beats… they’ve all developed their own story within it.

“They might go different ways, but all these groups will start a stream on the D&D Twitch channel that people can tune in weekly. Basically every night of the week, you can watch somebody else playing D&D.”

During the event, D&D Beyond also teased new Twitch streaming integration for D&D players, so the future is bright for streamers and viewers alike.

Stream of Annihilation

Watch Geek & Sundry Annihilate the Stream

If you missed the action live, you can still catch up on the incredible D&D sessions played by Geek & Sundry personalities on the Dungeons & Dragons YouTube channel. Here’s a cheat sheet of where you’ll find them:

What was your favorite part of the Stream of Annihilation? Tell us in the comments.

Photos: Kelly Knox

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