Today, Wizards Of The Coast and Dungeons & Dragons will broadcast the "Stream Of Annihilation" live on Twitch, revealing the brand new story arch coming later this year as well as a few other tasty tidbits of info. All while several high-profile D&D streamers play the new campaign over the course of two days from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. PDT.
Before the stream kicks off, we had the chance to briefly chat with Greg Tito, Communications Manager for Wizards of the Coast, about his time with the company and the upcoming stream.
BC: How did you first get involved with D&D growing up?
GT: When I was a kid, my older brother had a copy of the DMG and the Player's Handbook on his shelf, along with LOTR and Hitchhiker's Guide, and I always fascinated with thumbing through its mysteries. I tried to play but my upbringing was pretty Catholic so when my mom figured out what was in those books, they quickly went away. I would still go to the public library and look at the sourcebooks they had there as a forbidden fruit! It wasn't until I was an adult living in NYC around 2004 that I found a weekly gaming group and jumped into D&D whole hog!
Any particular version or adventure that was your favorite to play?
I played a lot of 3.5, especially the Age of Worms campaign that was in Dungeon Magazine. That was my entry point into the world of published adventures, and the world of Greyhawk. It will always mean a lot because it was first.
How was it for you joining up with WotC and becoming the Coms Manager for the company?
It was a dream come true, honestly. Back when I was an aspiring playwright and standup comedian 10-15 years ago, I said to my wife that I'd love to work for a company like Wizards. And here I am!
How has it been for you watching the popularity grow with 5th Edition since its release?
Amazing and humbling. I knew the edition was going to be popular but it's been so strange to me working with people from Hollywood and hearing just how pervasive the game is among that crowd. Actors, writers, directors, makeup and hair people, grips, cameramen – they all talk about D&D like it's some secret handshake. And now, it's becoming a lot less secret with people Joe Manganiello, Matthew Lillard and Dylan Sprouse letting their D&D fandom fly!
What was everyone's reaction to hearing and seeing people play D&D games for podcasts and videos early on?
Well in some ways Wizards started that trend all the way back in 2008 with the first Acquisitions Incorporated podcasts with Penny Arcade. Back then, I don't think anyone could have predicted that watching or listening to people play the game would be as crazy entertaining as it was. I remember listening to those as a fan and instantly being transported into their world. Now that video streaming has become so ubiquitous – it's a great way for people from all backgrounds to share their game with the world!
At what point did WotC take an interest in the live streaming games that were happening on Twitch?
Ever since I arrived here around two years ago, I've been pushing for us to reach out to the live streaming community. It was always on our radar – we've been streaming the big live shows with Acquisitions Incorporated at PAX West for a while – but the missing bit was working with streamers to give them the tools to engage with our storylines.
Did you send anyone support of any kind or was it more of a "wait and watch" type of thing to see where people would take their streams?
We had been talking to Matthew Mercer and the rest of the cast of Critical Role since they began and offering up minis and supplies, as well as regularly reaching out to the other groups out there like Misscliks and HighRollers with some support. A lot of the relationships we built are now culminating in their involvement with the Stream of Annihilation!
What prompted you guys to do the Stream Of Annihilation?
We wanted to provide a reason for all these groups to engage with the new storyline we're announcing and to create a greater sense of community between all these groups and individuals. I'd seen on Twitter and other social places that sometimes different people will sometimes interact and we wanted to provide a hub for them to get to know each other better. We're really hoping that new relationships between the groups are formed at this event so you'll see some of them guest on each other's streams to really cement the idea that the D&D streaming community is all connected.