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Streamer Interview – CatmasterOP

Home » Path of Exile » Blogpost » Streamer Interview – CatmasterOP

Streamer Interview – CatmasterOP

In today’s news post, we sat down with community content creator CatmasterOP, who you might know from his Fated Connections podcast! Check out the interview in today’s news post! Check out the interview below!

Hi CatmasterOP, thank you for taking part in the interview! Please introduce yourself.

Hi everyone, I’m CatmasterOP but most people just use “cat” as my nickname. I do a variety of Path of Exile content. Most people know me for hosting the Fated Connections podcast where my cohost BalorMage and I talk to many different creators and players in the Path of Exile space and discuss the latest additions to the game quite passionately.

When did you first get into Path of Exile?

I made my account way back in early 2013 already when I first saw the game on wingsofdeathx’s stream. Being early allowed me to secure my “Catmaster” account name. But it wasn’t before late 2014 that I actually downloaded the game and fully started getting into it with two friends. By the time Torment/Bloodlines came around, I was already so immersed that I started to watch PoE streamers (shoutout Ziggy, Pohx, Zeno) and played the hardcore challenge leagues exclusively.

What one thing caught your attention in the beginning and what one thing kept you coming back?

I remember really liking Diablo 2 back in the day. But I never had internet access at home before I turned 18. Of course, that didn’t keep me from playing, but I never really got the full online gaming experience and never acquired a good solid understanding of the game and made very inefficient characters.

When I first played Path of Exile, I was amazed by how much the game was able to replicate what felt good and fun about Diablo 2 for me. One of the most memorable moments in D2 was when Charsi offers to turn an item into a rare item for you.
When I found that in PoE you can do that by using an Orb of Alchemy I was pretty hooked already.

The item system, usable currencies instead of gold, being able to customize skills and characters so heavily, the f2p model, challenge leagues, racing… All these aspects were really fascinating to me and drew me in.

What really kept and keeps me coming back though is that I feel so much of the passion of the people who make this game. There are so many incredibly talented and hard working people involved with the game (and the community) and I can feel their genuine excitement about making a game that they themselves like to play.

Are there any highlights from your time playing Path of Exile that stand out in your memory?

Too many to mention them all here.

Early league start race HC RIPs mostly. For example, dying in (I believe it was) Bestiary HC as rank 2 Assassin on the ladder some hours into the league with a crit BV/EK build. It was the first time I missed the reflect mod on the map I had rolled.

Or the one time I trash-talked the Act 9 Boss and then instantly messed up and died to the purple blades.

Or when the Vaal Oversoul was bugged on Metamorph league start and fired a barrage of lightning beams at my character, transferring it to Standard.

Outside of meme worthy deaths, I think the most memorable has been finding and sixlinking the Carcass Jack I was looking for during a voided 1 Week Event and then finding and six linking another one and corrupting it for +1 all socketed gems (this was before double corruption altars existed, so the best possible outcome in a way). I laughed so hard when it happened my chat thought I had lost my mind.

Do you have a favourite build?

Hard to say. I like to play all kinds of different styles. Most played skill is definitely Blade Vortex because dealing hit damage while moving is super strong and, over the course of the years, there have been so many different ways you could scale it into a decent endgame build.

But I also have a special place in my heart for Cold Dot, Animate Weapon and Toxic Rain.

Which expansion has been your favourite so far?

There are a number of expansions that come close but nothing dethroned Betrayal so far. The hype from the trailer which just came at the right time and coincidentally used the word “Immortal” in a really pokey way, seemingly referencing another game announcement. The amazing lore twist of having the NPCs that previously were your allies turn against you and form a weird necromantic syndicate on top of a relatively complex very replayable system that would allow you to work towards the rewards you desired. The constant fear of being ambushed by Intervention assassins every time you enter a new zone. The return of the beloved Einhar, Alva and Niko.

For context, I have to add that the scope of expansions has constantly grown since then, and Conquerors, Echoes and Siege are just such massively great expansions. Rationally speaking I should pick one of them, but my heart says “Betrayal”

What’s one thing every Path of Exile player should hear?

The soundtrack. (way too many people play with the music muted and never get to enjoy the glorious compositions)

When did you first start streaming? How did you get into it?

I had been occasionally broadcasting my gameplay into the world before but in 2017 just after the release of 3.0 and in anticipation of 3.1 being a big endgame expansion I decided I would give it a proper go.

A 1 year contract with an employer had just ended and I had some savings so I figured “now or never”. I was always into graphic design and had done web design in the past so setting up and running a stream was pretty fun for me. At the time I quickly gathered followers and my stream seemed to be growing quickly, so I just kept going.

What can people expect from your stream and schedule?

Mostly fun vibes and real companionship. We have a small tight but really cool community with real authentic characters from all over the world and honestly from all kinds of different age groups. We help each other out on league starts and share build advice and pool resources. There is a lot of memeing and joking but also real talk and very little pretentiousness or tryharding. I like my community and I am grateful for the attention I get especially nowadays when my schedule has been all over the place recently.
I used to stream 200+ hours every month but I have reduced my output in the past year or so to prevent burnout. The world of streaming and content creation has changed massively in the last couple of years so I constantly have to adapt in pursuit of economic viability.

My main focus these days is to plan out a large number of podcast episodes around every league start because they’re very well received and I know many people would be sad if I discontinued it. Keeping the podcast going is my number one priority and all my other content comes second. I do have plans to up the stream time as soon as I sort out a proper content schedule for myself.

What were you doing before you started streaming?

I was sitting on a Bachelor’s degree and, not wanting to do more University, honestly just went from one underpaid and underappreciated position to the next one because I was too young and dumb to recognize my value. It’s kinda embarrassing but I hope by being honest about it other people can learn from my mistakes instead of having to make their own.

What hobbies or interests do you have outside of streaming?

I am a self taught Music producer, I make all kinds of beats, hip hop, trap, edm stuff and enjoy listening to a variety of stuff.

If you’re curious, I appeared e.g. as “Al Bern” alongside many well known german producers on a 2010 promotional remix tape called “Rap im Naturdarm Vol. 1”

I also cook quite decent meals and love adding new recipes to my repertoire, adjusting them to my equipment, to the local availability of ingredients and my preferences. Butter Chicken, Ragu Bolognese, Penne Norma just to name a few of my current favorites. I did stream cooking once or twice and actually might make some cooking content in my scuffed kitchen setup in the future.

Bouldering is something I used to do quite frequently. I dropped it during the pandemic but I intend to pick it up in the future again. It’s just that shoes and subscriptions are so expensive now and going to the gym always takes more hours out of my day than I planned lol.
I also love cycling, especially uphill routes, and that’s a bit easier to implement into my busy days. I just bought a really nice hardtail mountain bike after my last one was stolen within 2 weeks of owning it 🙁

How has your life changed from before you were streaming until now? What role has streaming played in that transition?

There are many changes that happened between 2018 and now.
I am somewhat more organized and structured, which previously was one of my weak points and I still strive to improve in that aspect.
The most important transition that was influenced by streaming is how I recognize more value in managing time and allocating a decent part to building and maintaining relationships, both in my ‘professional’ streamer/podcaster life and in my personal life. I am quite a bit more reflective than I used to be, so that helps, but I still fail to keep in touch with everyone as much as I would like.

Fated Connections is a beloved Community Podcast that you’ve been hosting now for years! How did you get into starting the podcast, and where can people find the latest updates on it?

Well first of all I gotta give credit where credit is due and shout out all the OG podcasts and creators that I drew inspiration from and who did a lot of things better than I do. I was a big fan of State of Exile (Zenocidegenius), Lioneye’s Watch (ProjectPT) and Baeclast (TarkeCat). Special Mention to Nugi’s and Mors’ Coffee Talk. I probably listened to hundreds of hours of PoE podcasts before I even considered starting my own.

When I started streaming, I linked up with another up and coming streamer called WaifuGate who suggested we do a podcast together because we felt there were so many things we wanted to talk about. It was also WaifuGate who came up with the name after I suggested we use a term from the game like a Divination Card, Jewel or Prophecy name.
At the time I played almost exclusively HCSSF while WaifuGate was a MagicFind minmaxer in Softcore Trade so our approaches could not have been more different. We started to bring in guests both for interesting conversations and networking.

When WaifuGate decided to leave ARPG content creation at the time, I experimented with different setups but found a solid and reliable replacement in BalorMage. Now both Balor and I have our ultra passionate fans and haters and our dynamic has become a core aspect of the FATED podcast’s identity.

To stay updated about the podcast I recommend following my Twitter and subscribing to my YouTube, but you can also pop into my live stream and use the !fated command. I post updates about planning and announce new live episodes and when they become available as VOD. I also have a linktree where I link a countdown to the next upcoming episode as soon as the planning is done! In the future I also plan to make a web page for FATED so that all the info can be found in one place.

Do you have any advice for people who are looking to make their own career out of streaming?

I think the nature of social media and the internet in general can be blamed for a strong misalignment between perception and reality when it comes to this weird niche job. So I think I want to be very honest about this:

Firstly, it is really hard to turn your passion into your main source of income without losing the passion in the process. You might be passionate about it now, but once it involves data analysis and making decisions that are dictated by market mechanics it can really become really draining and make you forget what you enjoyed about it in the first place.

Secondly, while streaming and gaming and making content about it is fun, you don’t want to build your life depending on being able to enjoy sitting on a computer for 10+ hours every single day, possibly even in a single game/ genre. It might seem like fun now, but what about 10, 20, 30 years from now?

Third, a lot of the streamers you may be looking up to have been streaming for a decade or longer to get where they are.. But the world of streaming and content creation in general has changed so much since then. Every PC can stream now, there are a lot of people who can afford entire teams of creators to make their content and grow their channel for them and quality standards for viewer expectations are very high nowadays. Competition is very tough, in many countries, being a “Youtuber” is among the top 10 dream jobs for teenagers nowadays.

You need to be very passionate about this and have something really special to offer, otherwise you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. If you just want an easy income, build a skillset that’s really valued in the world of employment instead!

But I don’t want to discourage anyone if it’s what you truly want, just do it the smart way:
Find a way to cover your costs of living with a part time job, possibly even a remote position from home to maximize the amount of time you can spend on content creation while at the same time removing all pressure for growth and success.

Do set yourself goals though and try to consistently work towards them.
Any and all revenue you make from content creation should be reinvested into making more and better content, i.e. purchase hardware, software, hire people who do the work you’re not good at so you can focus on what you do well etc. until eventually you become successful enough you can make an informed decision to quit your main job and become a full time creator.

Most importantly: Never forget to have fun! Once you lose the fun, it just becomes a very underpaid job with extremely inconvenient times, bad benefits and poor job security.

Are there any up and coming streamers that you’d like to shine a spotlight on?

I feel like it’s not too long ago that I was shouted out in this segment of GhazzyTV’s streamer interview. But it’s been 5 years. Time flies.

I originally planned to shout out TalkativeTri here months ago when I first started looking at these interview questions, but I guess I kinda missed the window 😀 since everyone has already discovered him now.

Honestly, we are blessed with so many great community members and creators in our space and thankful to have a great variety of guests on FATED who always provide great and useful perspectives.

Do you have any projects on the horizon you’d like to talk about?

We’re doing a small Private League Group-found for Necropolis with my community and others and I think with all the endgame changes it will be great to return to a non-trade environment and move towards my HCSSF roots again.

Going forward I am prioritizing the podcast and improving my organisation and hosting/moderation skills. A website for FATED as well as some merch would be cool as well, though there aren’t any concrete plans yet. Last but not least: more content and (maybe) die less than Ziz does!

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