This week's streamer interview is with Neversink! He is well known for his build guides and most notably his item filter. Today, we sit down with him to find out more about his ventures into streaming and about life as a filter creator.

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

Hi and thank you for the invitation. I'm Evgeny "NeverSink", 28 years old, half-German, half-Russian. I was born in Riga, lived some time in the Ukraine and then moved to Germany with my family. I'm a master engineer and a full time developer by day and frequently also by night. I'm currently living in Hamburg, but I'm moving to Lübeck soon.

The community most knows you for making item filters. What made you get into this?

Path of Exile filters were introduced in the 2.0 beta and my first thoughts were: "I'd rather not touch it, I'll spend too much time optimizing it". I wasn't wrong. I was a student back then and had quite a lot of free time. I also didn't get into the 2.0 beta, was very overhyped and I couldn't resist the calling to write a filter, with the focus on an in-depth rare item classification system. I shared the first prototype and concept of tiering rares, while adding extra highlights for size. The regal/chaos recipe viability was well received by the community and even ZiggyD took a look at it for one stream. I was also somewhat known for my old Tornado Shot guide back then and a lot of players who used it decided to check out the filter. The result was quite a large amount of feedback and suggestions.

What do you enjoy the most about doing this?

I enjoy development in general. However, there's something very special about writing a tool for an active and engaged community, instead of just doing commercial contract software. Doing something that people genuinely enjoy and that makes their day a bit better is something I cherish a lot. On top of that: I've made new acquaintances and friends, learned some new development skills, taught myself some PR and streaming know-how.

Are there any difficulties in maintaining a highly-popular filter in Path of Exile that people might not expect?

Strictness balance: The filter has 7 levels of strictness. There's a lot of playstyles out there. This may come as a surprise, but a lot of players still actively use the chisel recipe. Players even still sell quality items for blacksmith whetstones. They enjoy slow gameplay, don't care about the meta, trading, or ladders. Others run 10,000 burial chamber maps on the latest meta-quantity build. Then again other players go for the Hardcore Self-found experience or focus on farming uber elder or do the chaos recipe for days. There's also the Xbox One community which is kind of the same, but also somewhat different. They get the same set of filters but can't edit them. So, part of the challenge is balancing the 7 strictnesses to give everyone a good preset.

Economy implications: The filter has an unavoidable influence upon the game economy. Here's an example: Silver Coins once had a higher tier and sounds in my filter, which caused everyone to pick them up, ultimately resulting in them being too cheap because of the high supply. Once I made their appearance less prominent, the supply also went down, but the demand stayed the same, making them too expensive for their tier. Technically, I'd have to put them back up, but then they'd drop in price again, creating a nasty feedback loop. It took me several iterations to find a good middle-ground.

The moral of that story: Filters not only need to capture the price of an item now, they also need to know how expensive it'll be in one week, because players don't generally update the filter every day and the filter itself will also influence the market situation, similar to big tools such as poe.trade and poe.ninja. So I'm constantly trying to find a balance between "presenting the current situation" and "being a step ahead".

To tackle similar problems, I now consult several experienced players and rely on automated tools to deliver higher quality and after around 100 filter updates, I believe I've gotten quite proficient at it.

Still, the silver coin is just one example. There's thousands of item types, streamer influences, league differences, discoveries, balance changes, new leagues etc. It's quite a high web of complexity.

Colors are complicated: Different monitors display colors in a different way (multidimensional gamuts), there's perception differences, color-blindness, items need to look distinctive enough, but share some properties with the original Path of Exile text colors. Some colors just look bad ingame or on certain monitors. I've learned to avoid certain hues, simply because they're not pleasant to the eye on certain monitors.

Some things also have a subconscious effect, but add a lot of polish to the filter. For instance, most people are probably unaware of it, but all items in the filter have a bordercolor. Either an explicit one or a black border. It just looks so much better with it and makes the background color appear much more crisp.

You need a thick skin to deal with some people: This ranges from mildly confused people (eg. "why are there no Atziri's Disfavour chancing bases"), to downright ridiculous accusations about the filter causing their windows to crash, decreasing their maximum skeleton count (???) or that it deleted all masters, hideout, and stopped abysses from spawning (league ended). I've dealt with guilds trying to manipulate me into highlighting certain items to gain economic advantage and several exceptionally rude players. There's even another filter maker who spent the last 2 years hating on me on hundreds of youtube videos and even used upvote bots and alt accounts. If he'd invested all of the time into improving his filter instead, it might actually be decent at this point.

Those things disturbed me a lot at the beginning. I've had to learn that once something or someone becomes fairly popular, it will also attract people with extreme attitudes. Surprisingly enough, getting into filters really taught me to have a thick skin.

There's the other side. Path of Exile has a wonderful and truly unique community and many players, streamers, toolmakers, and even GGG staff helped me solve technical and balance dilemmas. I receive a lot of feedback, sometimes dozens of different messages/emails/pms a day, that often include thought-through suggestions. I've done over 100 filter updates already at this point and usually there's at least a few changes which are inspired or suggested by the community.

Technical limitations: There are some things one (currently) simply can't do with the filter. For instance, a filter can't distinguish between different uniques with the same basetype. For example, a filter can't tell if an expensive jewel (such as Lioneye's Fall) or some random other viridian jewel dropped. This makes handling such items always somewhat adventurous, since you have to balance between notifying the users and not disappointing the users with exciting dropsounds. You also need to answer this question up to a hundred times a week.

You've recently created a website to help players with their item filters, can you tell us more about this?

Absolutely. The website is http://www.filterblade.xyz/ and it's a great way to download, understand, simulate and optionally adjust the filter. I can't implement every single idea that players have and making more filter versions is a bad approach too. This makes things chaotic and reduces maintainability. This is where FilterBlade comes in. www.FilterBlade.xyz is the response to all of the suggestions, reactions and playstyles the community presented.

I've built this website with Tobnac and Haggis and we've had 4 main goals in mind when creating the website:
  • Make it intuitive and safe: Players don't need or want to think about the order of operations, performance, exception handling, syntax, etc. That's programmer stuff. The website is meant for players, not programmers.
  • In-Depth Customization: Create a tool that allows users to implement their various ideas and suggestions.
  • Teach and Visualize: Create a way to teach new players why certain items are highlighted in a certain way.
  • Persistence and Sharing: Players can save and share their own filter creations in a way that personal filter versions still get my filter updates.
  • Bonus Goal: Practice some JavaScript and functional programming. I'm a C++/C# developer, so it was a good way to broaden my horizons.

The site went live around a year ago and it has gained quite a popularity with several million downloaded filters and around 200,000 personalized filters published and shared by the community, some of which have had thousands of downloads themselves (usually created by popular community figures such as Ziggy, Zizaran, SlipperyJim, etc).

It's a completely free service and there are no logins, so feel free to give it a try.

In addition to making item filters, you also stream! How long have you been streaming for? How did you get into it?

I started streaming around 4 years ago. When I created my old Tornado Shot guide a lot of players were interested in seeing it live, so I created my twitch account. Streaming had quite a learning curve for me. Initially, it felt very strange, but over time I started seeing familiar faces and have grown more and more into it. The stream is English, but frequently the German or Russian communities are “louder”, so I sometimes switch languages. Often this happens unconsciously.

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

I have a lot of projects and am in the middle of moving to a different location/switching jobs, which naturally leaves less time for streaming.

During the first month of the league: There are a lot of irregular streams - when there’s something to show, during the first month of a league or during events. It might be a filter update, a meta discussion, a new build, some new farming strategy or some ridiculous event. For instance, I've been playing a charged dash, triple curse, occultist, crit HOWA this league. It's very exotic and relied on the crit corruption, but it was very fun to showcase and was able to take down pretty much all content.

The regular streams are filter updates before the start of a new league. I'm working full-time and filter updates usually take me several evenings, sometimes a whole week. I don't want to risk making big mistakes, so I do all the core changes offline. I then take half the friday of the league start off and make a big stream, where I finalize the juicy filter changes such as color changes, tier list changes, meta discussions, new styles - things the community wants to see and usually recap my theories and predictions about the new league. This has become somewhat of a tradition and quite a few players come watch the update process.

I usually make 1-3 builds per league and all are usually oriented around farming endgame bosses. I dislike speedrunning the same map over and over and enjoy optimizing the same build for a longer time. I usually only play softcore at the start of the league (experiencing all the new content, working full time and hardcore - is a pick 2 out of 3 scenario), but sometimes move to self-found HC or team-found HC.

Other things you can expect is a special German-Russian accent, some sarcasm and dark humour, the tendency to say “I guess” a lot I guess and sometimes very awkward discussions.

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

My story is quite common: I've been a big Diablo 2 fan - it was one of the games of my childhood and was waiting for Diablo 3 when my ridiculous cousin (he still plays without a filter and actually found a mirror last league) persuaded me into checking out Path of Exile. I was invited to the closed beta and was quite surprised by the complexity of Path of Exile, but wasn’t quite instantly hooked.

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

It wasn't a single point, it was a gradual process. I kept switching between Path of Exile and Diablo 3. With every new league, Path of Exile introduced a ton of new things, balance changes and features. It moved ten steps ahead, while every new Diablo 3 patch only moved it by a few.

However I can think of 2 cornerstone moments that really stuck with me.

One of my first builds was an Explosive Arrow Shadow Magic Finder. It was somewhat inspired by the Diablo 2 - MF Mephisto farming gameplay. It was able to clear T1-T3 maps quite well, until I'd find a reflect pack and would instantly blow myself and my 3k HP up. However, I found a Marohi Erqi and sold it for 13ex back then. I was very happy about it.

I think the expansion that really got me hooked was Forsaken Masters. Tornado Shot, lots of trading, crafting, leveling masters (this was a cool thing to do back then, except for Catarina, she wasn’t cool back then either), building hideouts, ultimately crafting up my first really good harbinger bow, writing the Tornado Shot guide, and ultimately taking down Uber Atziri. I think this was the league that really got me hooked.

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

I usually start every league with a group of close friends (total team size of 3-5 players) and the first week is very intense, we share loot, work on progressing together and have distributed jobs. After the first week it becomes much more relaxed and over time we go back to our other projects, while slowly getting excited for the new league again.

This first week has become a tradition or a little holiday to look forward to and a lot of my most memorable moments happened there. We often have slightly different goals, but my personal league goal is usually to experience the new endgame encounters.

Taking down shaper around a week after the release of Atlas of Worlds was definitely one of them.

This is not quite an ingame moment, but the release of FilterBlade after nearly one year of development and the closed beta phase was amazing to witness.

It took me several attempts, but my first Uber Elder kill last league was incredibly satisfying.

What hobbies or interests do you have outside of Path of Exile?

As you might've guessed, I enjoy development and gaming and spend a lot of time in front of the PC. My other IT-hobbies are:
  • Gaming - usually ARPGs, RPGs and Sandbox games (Path of Exile, Overwatch, Factorio, Minecraft, Starcraft, Guild Wars 2) and virtual reality gaming (SkyrimVR, Gorn)
  • AI and Game development (we're currently actively working on a game prototype in unity and hope to have a small indie game in a year or two).
  • I enjoy digital drawing a lot, recently started drawing in 3D/VR with Tiltbrush.
  • Home automation

Outside of my IT bubble, I enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and a close circle of friends, that usually ends up with table-top evenings or bar visits, horrifying neighbours with my attempts to learn guitar or just watching a TV series or reading books.

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

I think as a Path of Exile player, it's important to set your personal own goals and find your own way to get there. Don't be afraid to do silly and crazy things. Path of Exile is about the PATH. Don't needlessly compare yourself to full-time streamers and their schedule and builds. In the end it's about spending quality time and having fun. Your path will often be much more interesting if it is uncharted and unguided. Wonders happen outside of the comfort zone after all.

Also: Filters can't distinguish between different uniques with the same basetype...

Are there any guide-makers or content creators that the community might not know about that you want to give a shout out to?

Yes. First of all, I'd have to give a huge shout-out to Tobnac and Haggis50. Those 2 have become close friends and are the two other developers of the http://www.filterblade.xyz/ project.

Then there's the other toolmakers especially Rasmus (the guy behind poe.ninja), but also poe.trade, trade macro, path of building and their respective authors. Their tools, APIs and constant updates have saved me countless of hours and you should check out their work, if you don’t already know it. TheZensei also deserves an honorary mention for his support as well.

I'd like to give a shoutout to all my Patreon supporters and twitch subscribers/regular viewers and all of the users who provided feedback. Creating a small community of my own has become quite an adventure and a lot of what I've been doing has been inspired by you guys, your support, your feedback and energy.

I also can’t avoid giving a shout-out to you Bex. I think I’ve messaged you around 50 times with filter related questions and your filter-changes-cheatsheet at the start of the league has helped a lot.

Finally, I'd like to note that the community has other great filter makers and filters. Here are some, but definitely not all of the noteworthy ones. They have invested a lot of work in their creations and are absolutely worth checking out:
  • StupidFatHobbit's filter (who specializes in creating awesome HC racing filters)
  • Muldini's filter (specialized in light vanilla-style filtering, the default filter in Path of Exile is based on his work)
  • Greengroove's filter (very unique color scheme, he “encodes“ the itemvalue with just a few colors).
  • If you want to explore those or other filters I recommend checking out: FilterBLAST by Dissolator (yes, filterBLADE and filterBLAST are entirely different projects, developers suck at naming things).

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

We have some upcoming prototype applications and some new filterblade features, such as advanced styles. I will post more information when time is due on my Patreon and/or Twitter.

You can also sometimes catch me on Twitch if I have something interesting to show.

Finally, I also sometimes create YouTube videos on filter features and small Path of Exile guides and want to start making a series of videos on the meta and economy changes going on in Path of Exile, from a veteran player perspective. You'll be able to find those on my YouTube.

________________________________________________________________
Thank you so much for participating in the interview! If you want to follow NeverSink's work you can check him out on Twitch, YouTube and Twitter.

We'll be resuming Streamer Interviews after the the new league starts! Let us know who you'd like to see interviewed and why!
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Grinding Gear Games
First. I love you neversink
respect
WTB Mana and life leech for casters on tree...
KIKI DO YOU LOVE NEVERSINK?
ARE YOU LOOTING?
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https://www.youtube.com/c/Ahfack
#1 DMG Steel Ring & Elder Amulets!
https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/534134
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Last edited by Ahfack on Aug 7, 2018 9:42:54 PM
I enjoyed a lot this interview. Neversink is a bright human being.

Chris Wilson, why don't you hire this guy to create and maintain an ingame UI loot filter editor? I think he and POE developers could make a good team :)
Thanks for the filters, bro. Been using them since day 1.
TLDR
Good stuff. Been using his filters for years.
IGN: JerleGC_Ripper (Incursion)
NS, you da man!
Hey that's pretty good!

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