You may have spotted ThisIsBadger sleuthing around teasers as Badger P.I. or climbing up the ranks in racing events. Continuing our series of community streamer interviews, we sat down with Badger to learn more about his life outside of streaming.

Hi Badger, thank you for taking part in this interview! Please introduce yourself.

Hey everyone! My name’s Badger, and I’m one of those peeps who makes content for this wonderful game. I’m 24 and hail from Australia (Victoria represent!)

When did you first get into Path of Exile?

Contrary to what people think due to me being on the scene for a relatively short amount of time, I’ve been playing, albeit casually, since the end of 2013. I joined just after the release of 1.0.0, but didn’t become seriously invested until Breach League. I took a break during Delve and Betrayal, and fell in love again when Synthesis was released.

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

Path of Exile has always had a unique approach to classic ARPG systems, so it’s hard to nail down exactly what enchanted me. I was particularly drawn in, however, by the sense of dread the skill tree gave me, and the determination I felt to ‘conquer’ it. I’ve always been an obsessive gamer, focussing on the micro instead of the macro, and Path of Exile felt like the perfect area to cultivate these obsessions. Call it addiction, but having a massive game update every three months to my favourite game? I’ve found my soulmate.

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

The stream consists of shoddy gameplay, scuffed ideas, and positive attitudes. In all seriousness though, I try to promote a very inclusive space where anyone in the community, new and veteran alike, can come and ask questions and get genuine responses. In terms of gameplay, I steer clear of the tried and true and instead focus on unique interactions within the game, or arduous data collection.

Why did you decide to start streaming?

I never considered streaming prior to the day I actually tried it. I got started off by a viral post series on Reddit called ‘The Road to Headhunter’, where I spent 17 days farming Monoliths in Legion League from 0 currency to be able to purchase a Headhunter, and meticulously documented each step (you can see the results here). There was an overwhelming amount of people asking me to stream my progress, so I bought a cheap webcam and streamed in 480p, all that my internet could handle at the time. After the series, I stopped streaming until around February of 2020 (when the lockdowns started happening here in Melbourne), where I picked it back up in my downtime - and I haven’t looked back - even quitting my regular job a few months later. It’s been a fast blur since then, but one I’ve enjoyed every step of the way!

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

As of right now, I consider streaming (and creating YouTube content) my full-time job. I’m lucky enough to have grown with such a supportive community that I can make this choice, but I still do contract work for my old work sometimes - my original profession is Audio Engineer and Music Composer, so I do odds and ends recording and music-writing for a local Escape Room Company called Ukiyo. I stepped down as manager at this establishment to pursue streaming further, and though a tough decision, it will be one I will never regret.

How did you pick your channel name?

It started back in high-school, when a great friend of mine randomly mentioned ‘hey, your last name (Bradbury) kind of sounds like Badger, you should use that’ when I was thinking about a new gamer handle for my League of Legends account. It stuck like glue.

You are a co-host of the Inspired Learning Podcast alongside ItsYoji. Could you tell us about your experience with the show?

Yoji and I are having an absolute blast with Inspired Learning! We try to focus on episodes focussed on the new to intermediate player to Path of Exile, and though still in its relative infancy (19 episodes in), our direction is slowly solidifying. We also try to get another guest from the community on most episodes! Honestly, it’s a tonne of fun - If you want to check it out, you can find the VODs on Yoji’s YouTube channel here, or you can find the audio version on all major podcast platforms as well!

Your Twitch profile mentions that you enjoy theory crafting builds. Are there any builds you’ve created that you are particularly proud of?

The first build I made when I came back to streaming was a necromancer Minion build focussing on the damage on Purity Sentinels, the minions spawned from Herald of Purity. I made it in Metamorph and it demolished the game, but then released a build guide during Delirium which had some disgusting stacking available due to cluster jewels, raising the maximum sentinels from 5 to 9. It was a glorious build, and got demolished the next patch after Delirium with the removal of the stacking of sentinels. In a sense however, it immortalised the build for me. I must revive it some day.

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

I had this crazy idea at the start of teaser season for Heist League. I’d always seen people speculating on community manager Bex’s sly clues, teasers and red herrings for upcoming leagues, but I hadn’t seen any unique content based around this. I decided to use my music production, video editing, and (very) amateur acting skills to make a noir-inspired short film of ‘Badger P.I.’, trying to solve the clues Bex would send out into the void. It turned out to be such a fun project that I did it again for Ritual League - you can check the Heist vid here and the Ritual one here!

Outside of streaming, you play and write music. What style of music do you enjoy creating and what are some of your favourite soundtracks in Path of Exile?

I do! As stated before, I’ve worked in the industry before creating music and Audio Design for Escape Rooms, and indie game soundtracks on the side. I also grew up playing piano and singing, and have my fair share of awards during my mid-teens for jazz competitions and the like. However, most recently I have really enjoyed teaching myself guitar and making folk music, somewhere between Sufjan Stevens and a scuffed John Mayer. And in terms of Path of Exile music, shoutout to the wonderful Kamil for all his work on the soundtracks! They are all absolutely brilliant, but in fact my favourite part about the music in Path of Exile is the smooth transitions of soundtracks and blending of pieces together within zones, for example Legion - the music changes to and from the legion theme seamlessly when starting and finishing the monoliths. Pulling this off in a reactive real-time environment like Path of Exile is way more difficult than people realise and deserves awareness. Shoutout to all the engineers who make stuff like this possible in games.

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

You do you. There is a lot of a vibe out there that you must play the best and fastest classes and builds to have fun in Path of Exile, and I see that turn many individuals away. Free yourself to experiment, make mistakes, and find your own fun in this game. Not to dismiss that fast, guns-blazing playstyle too! That’s fun for a lot of people out there as well.

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

I know I will miss some brilliant creators, and it feels silly to spotlight some and omit others, because there is so much great content out there hiding underneath the lights. However, some notable creators doing amazing work out there are CaptainLance9 for his crazy build content, DadBodGamingGod for his community work and dedication, and ThatsRealNeato for his super attentive eye on all things mechanics.

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

Ooh! Self-promotion time, hey? I do have a series in the works all about highlighting community builds, where people can submit during a league their most interesting and unique build idea, get the idea voted on, and the winner gets a full build guide video made by myself about the build. Expect it within the next league or two! There are so many crazy awesome builds out there that people don’t have the platform to showcase them properly, and I want to give them that. I also am working behind the scenes on a folk singer-songwriter EP, completely separate from game content! I’m shy about it, but I think I’ll share it with you all when it’s eventually ready!

Thanks so much for the interview! If you'd like to follow ThisIsBadger, you can do so on Twitch, YouTube and Twitter.
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