We're happy to announce that this week's community streamer interview is with none other than Mathil! He's been playing Path of Exile for many years, has two Build of the Week episodes based on his characters and has been massively influential in Path of Exile's gameplay meta for many leagues and let's be honest, who can get past that hair.

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

Hey Bex, thanks for setting these interviews up and inviting us on to share our experiences.

I'm Kostya (aka Mathil - a randomly generated World of Warcraft name for my mage over 10 years ago), I stream for a living and am passionate about gaming, track running and rock climbing.

I was born in Ukraine, however I moved at an early age with my parents and older brother to Australia where I've now lived most of my life.

How long have you been streaming for? How did you get into it?

This November I'll hit 4 years since I started streaming. I began because I'd like to think I was always gaming at a higher level than most, dedicating the majority of my free time to it and always trying to be competitive in what I played. Being part of a clan in Counterstrike 1.5, topping ladder resets in Diablo 2, competitively raiding in WoW and earning multiple gladiator titles in arena while playing every class, I've been a true pioneer of the no-life gaming style for a very long time.

All of this lead me to believe that I had something to potentially share with the gaming community when I started to see other streamers have success in broadcasting their gameplay. I loved watching a stream while being able to play games alongside these streamers and since I had no clear direction in my life at the time I figured I owed it to myself to at least give my best shot at making it a career before I explored other options.

The problem was for streaming most games you needed a connection capable of about 3mb/s upload and the vast majority of Australia couldn't get above 1mb/s no matter the situation. Once the better internet was being rolled out across the country I seized the opportunity to move to a location that had it so I could give this lifestyle a shot. I was already mildly established on YouTube from a few Path of Exile build guides I made that had some popularity so I started on Twitch with a head start and just kept on grinding both platforms right up until today.

What can people expect from your stream? What kind of schedule do you follow?

I stream from 5.30am to midday every single day. This schedule allows me to stream to the afternoon US crowd and still allow some Europeans to catch me before they sleep. It also frees my nights up for various trainings and social outings.

What you can expect when you enter my stream is some pretty relaxed Path of Exile gameplay with a variety of builds played and questions answered, ranging from the beginner experience to the more advanced mechanics. I create a new build roughly every 5 or 6 days and take it from 1-90ish at which point I'll also try to take on the current end game and put the build to the test. Every one of my builds will have a video or two that goes over the process and conclusions on YouTube.

A great deal of sarcasm is involved in my answers and conversation as it is my first language.

How and when did you find out about Path of Exile?

My story is similar to a lot of people's. I was greatly anticipating the release of Diablo 3 after being a life-long Diablo player and while it was quite fun and kept me very occupied for a couple of years something wasn't quite there for endless replayability, especially after a few updates. I kept my eyes open for the next addiction to come along and after watching nl_Kripparrian try out Path of Exile for a few weeks I had to give it a go myself.

What was the moment that got you hooked on the game?

It's hard to really say or pinpoint one specific moment where I was sold on it. The depth and complexity just grabs you as you're immersed one day into the next and as you see your decisions ultimately impact the character you're making to become either greatness or simply a learning experience.

Possibly the first time I was truly hooked or satisfied was when I started to put together several aspects of failed or average characters into one proper complete build. It was really satisfying to make a character, learn what worked and what didn't and what you could take from it into the next attempt which all resulted in my first real successful and likely most popular build, the Elemental Buzzsaw.

What are the top highlights from your time streaming Path of Exile?

I wish I could've said the time I got the first Atziri kill when the boss was first released in Ambush league, but I couldn't yet stream at that time due to the internet limitations. It still probably holds as the highlight of my time playing PoE though.

Otherwise it's still coming across the top bosses like Shaper and Uber Elder for the first time. When you have a stream with sometimes thousands of people watching, ready to critique your every move and laugh at every mistake it really puts the pressure on and makes for an exciting encounter.

As well as that the 30-60 minutes before a league start is a thrilling time as so many people come into the channel to join in on the hype, spam the chat to some meme songs and get ready for a marathon gaming session.

You've been featured in the Build of the Week series twice! Can you tell us how this experience impacted you?

It was amazing to be recognised by the game developers themselves as being capable of putting a build together worth sharing to the community and twice especially. It did feel appropriate that both times was Spectral Throw builds as that's gotta be my favourite skill and I make rather simple youtube videos so getting to see a really well edited and presented version of my builds was a thrill.

Links here and here if you want to check out the episode.

Is there a build idea you've had that you've never managed to make work? If so, what would it take to make it work?

For the most part once you get to a certain level of knowledge and builds played in this game you will know what works, what doesn't and what's worth trying so making a build work is usually a given, it's just about how well it'll work or how fun it will be to play.

That said there was a good couple of years early on when I toyed with the idea of making a 2H leap slam witch using an Oro's Sacrifice and I'd revisit it on standard every few months to see if there were enough changes to make it a thing. The idea was that I liked the way a witch held a 2H sword and I wanted to leap from pack to pack just burning everything.

It never really had the one-shot type of damage I wanted and fixing defenses with the old Oro's sword was a nightmare. Hell, something like that might work these days but it's been a few years since I've looked into that idea since most builds need to have some sort of endgame viability too for me to play them.

You're known as being someone who heavily influences the Path of Exile metagame with your build experiments. Do you come up with these ideas easily, or does it take a lot of work?

I'd say very few came naturally or easily, it was often to result of using a lot of my free time messing around with passive trees, item combos and lots of thought during other activities went towards Path of Exile plans.

I don't do as much of that anymore as I largely just like to make less used or funner skills work in endgame, sometimes with a particular item in mind and take it through the endgame then share it with my community.

The idea of influencing the metagame or coming up with truly unique ideas used to be what drives me and is how some of my most iconic builds came about but these days I'm just more into having fun with my stream.

What is the 'Mathil Effect'?

Something that started out innocently enough but grew to be somewhat of a cancer.

Initially I had a few popular builds and when I would put out another that looked promising people would try it which would require the purchase of a few key uniques to that build. You could then see the upward trend of price of a certain item over the coming days or weeks and attribute it to my build. It wasn't ever too detrimental to the economy and was rather flattering that enough people wanted to play a build that an item's price could change.

Today, however, it's just the result of a handful of people ready to flip whatever item I use in any build regardless of success. As I brainstorm a new idea or mention an item, these guys will start buying all of that item up to a certain cost, before I even start playing. They'll then hold onto that item until I've made a build with it and flog it for a much higher rate, if my build has had decent success. This has lead to me simply avoiding playing with certain items for entire leagues or until the end of a league when my economic impact is meaningless. Especially some of the funner new items out there like a Poet's Pen, so that my avoiding it may let more people have access to it for a longer time.

Is streaming your full time job? If so, what were you doing for work prior to streaming?

I've been streaming full time ever since I started nearly 4 years ago. It's something I jumped into 100% and it was either going to be my career or just another thing I tried.

I've only managed a few other jobs in my life and all for short periods. I worked in a department store, night fill in a supermarket and as a courier for a printing company. However, directly before streaming I hadn't worked for a few years as I was studying Nutrition and Food Science at university. It was going well enough but I didn't have enough of a science background to begin with so when things got really hard I got pretty disinterested, especially given that I signed up for the nutrition side of things and got almost all science.

What hobbies or interests do you have outside of streaming?

I've been doing and training for track running for 15 years now and it still takes up a large part of my time. I train three times a week with a small group and a couple extra training sessions alone while still competing during the summer months. Making it as an athlete would have been my first choice as to what I wanted to do with my life and even though my running took me all over Australia for competition I still wasn't quite good enough to fully pursue it as a career.

The other major activity in my life is rock climbing or bouldering. I took it up just over 5 years ago and it's by far the funnest way I've found to stay fit, get strong and challenge yourself. I went to a bouldering gym five years ago with a friend one time and we got immediately hooked then started going three times a week for the next few years. It's something I recommend to everyone as it may just be a passion waiting to be discovered.

If you could say one thing that every Path of Exile player should hear, what would it be?

Play the game for fun. Don't worry about what other people are doing, what they have, how fast they clear, what their dps tooltip says or what skill they are using. I see far too many people ask what is the "best" skill, the "best" clearspeed build, the "best" item for whatever slot. The game is far too versatile and flexible at this point to worry about always using the best thing.

So many skills, item combos and builds can now take on everything in the game. It's why you will often come into my stream and see me use a sub-optimal skill for my character or an item that's not quite as good as another, or an aura setup that gives 32.74 less dps than the best option, because to me those choices were more fun.

How much pressure is involved in being a streamer? How do you manage it? How has streaming affected your life?

It's hard to garner much sympathy from people for being a streamer because after all, you're being paid to play video games. However if you turn anything into a job, it becomes a job. I still love Path of Exile and enjoy playing it loads, were I not streaming I'd still play a few hours a day. However it's much more of a job to me as I keep strict hours, I interact a lot with my community, I answer basic questions 50 times a day and create videos routinely. All of these types of things I feel are necessary for me to turn streaming into a successful career and it's not the only path to success in this business but I don't necessarily feel I have what it takes to succeed via those other avenues.

So to answer that question, I put a large amount of pressure on myself to deliver what my community has come to expect of me at the same time every day as their entertainment of choice. It's a responsibility I don't hold lightly and it's why I try to stream every day I can, taking maybe one day off a month. I feel I manage well enough because my game of choice, Path of Exile, happens to be routinely updated which keeps things fresh and fun and I think my running and climbing help keep a healthy balance for my social life.

Streaming has taken me far further than I thought I could get, in this career or any other, really. I owe a lot to my community for supporting me right from day one and changing my life for the better. It has given me purpose where I didn't feel I had one.

There are many new streamers looking to make their way in the Path of Exile community. What advice do you have for them?

I feel Path of Exile is one of the easier games out there to get noticed in since you can get decent exposure from posting builds on forums, making insightful or funny videos, posting on reddit and talking in others' streams.

There's quite a lot of stream-hosting that goes on in our section of Twitch and just being an active member of other stream chats will often get you seen. General advice that isn't specific to Path of Exile streaming is to be interactive. Most people will want to tune into a stream to see someone be entertaining or explain their high level of gameplay.

Do you have an projects on the horizon you want to share with the community?

Nothing I have directly coming up, no. I made one workout video on my youtube before I started streaming years ago with the intention of making it a regular thing but full time streaming, running and climbing usually saps my energy for the week so it's something I definitely still want to do, I just can't make any promises as to what or when.

Otherwise I have an Instagram which should be more active once there's less miserable winter going on outside and I'm doing my best to get into tweeting but it's not at all something I'm used to doing so there's sometimes days between messages.

Thanks for having me and everything you guys do to keep my job relevant.

Cheers,
Mathil

____________________________________________________________________________

Thanks for participating in the interview! If you want to follow Mathil, check him out on Twitch, YouTube and Twitter!
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Grinding Gear Games
One of my favorite PoE streamers. He is so articulated with his words... I love his live stream and youtube build videos.
Second

Mathil's a nice dude.
Don't move my threads. And DON'T PM me here on the forums for ANY reason.
Last edited by bvanharjr on Jul 15, 2018, 10:42:13 PM
And Cospris's prices skyrocket :P
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Bidumandias wrote:
One of my favorite PoE streamers. He is so articulated with his words... I love his live stream and youtube build videos.


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Can or can't get past the hair?
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