Getting started streaming with World of Warcraft Classic

World of Warcraft has recently returned to its roots and relaunched a classic client, featuring WoW as it was when it was originally released in 2004. Fans have flocked back to playing the game while many others are watching their favorite streamers play it on services like Twitch. As a result, World of Warcraft has very quickly become the most watched game on Twitch.

So if you’re hoping to join in on the streaming fun, this article is for you. 

Step 1: Choosing an overlay & alert theme for your stream

Go to the StreamElements website and log in with your preferred streaming account. For this article, we’ll be going with Twitch. Once you are logged in, over on the left go ahead and click “Themes Gallery” to be presented with many free streaming overlays and alerts packages. 

There are also some World of Warcraft specific themes, such as Lightbringer and Doomhammer, and we’ll be selecting one of those for this. 

You may see overlay packages that are animated and others that are static, so just keep in mind that the animated overlay packages are a bit more taxing on your computer hardware. Also note, these stream overlay packages are designed with 1080p as the base resolution so adjusting them for any 16:9 aspect ratio base canvas in OBS is perfectly supported.

Lets import two of the scenes into OBS.

  • Select the “START” or “STREAM STARTING” scene included with the package. Click the pencil icon and “Go to Overlay editor.” 

  • On the left, copy the Overlay URL.

  • Open OBS and in the bottom left you’ll see “Scenes.” Add a new scene and name it “Starting” or whatever you’d like.

  • Add a new source under “sources.” Select “browser source” and give it a name like “Starting countdown.” Click “OK.”

  • A new window pops up. Paste the URL you just copied into the URL field then set the resolution to 1920x1080 as well. You will also see a checkbox for “shutdown source when not visible” so be sure to check that box too.

  • Repeat this step for your “IN GAME” scene, and any other scenes you’d like.

Step 2: Adding World of Warcraft as a game source in OBS

Adding your World of Warcraft game source in OBS is a very simple task.

  • Launch World of Warcraft

  • Select your “In-Game” scene in OBS

  • Click the + sign to add a new source

  • Select “Game Capture” then give that source a name, like “WoW”

  • In the “Mode” dropdown, select “Capture Specific Window”

  • A new dropdown menu appears called “Window.” Open the dropdown and select the World of Warcraft executable listed there and press “OK”

  • Arrange the new WoW game capture source BELOW your overlay source by clicking and dragging it down 

Adding WoW game source.gif

If you’d like more information on webcams and DSLR/Mirrorless camera usage in OBS, check out our article on Using a DSLR as Webcam!

Step 4: Setting up your OBS streaming settings
Now for arguably the most important part: setting up your OBS streaming settings! We’ll cover the two most common methods of encoding here today, that being software x264 and hardware NVENC (if you have an Nvidia GPU). Also, your computer should have at least 8GB of RAM, with 16GB being the recommendation. 

We will be configuring for a 720p x 60 fps streaming experience which will generally look sharp at lower bitrates without impacting performance too much. The recommended bitrates for either of these methods is 4000-6000kbps, so long as your Internet upload speed can handle that.

For software x264, it would be recommended at the very least to have an intel i7 quad core (or AMD equivalent like a Ryzen 5 1400) or better CPU. x264 is very CPU dependent so the more cores you have, the better your experience will be. 

Go into “settings” in OBS

  • In the “Stream” tab, select your desired streaming service. This is where you will input your stream key. On the side of the dropdown menus, there will be links to help you find the stream key for the service you choose, if supported.

  • In the “output” tab, select “output mode” and click “advanced.”

  • Set encoder to x264

  • Ensure “rescale output” is unchecked

  • Ensure “enforce streaming service encoder settings” is unchecked

  • Set Rate Control to CBR

  • Set bitrate to the recommended 4000-6000kbps, whatever the highest your internet upload speed allows

  • Ensure “use custom buffer size” is unchecked

  • Keyframe interval set to 2

  • CPU usage preset set to VERYFAST

The way the CPU usage preset works is that the slower the setting you use, the more time it spends encoding your stream, which can make it look better. This is where more CPU cores comes in handy since the more cores you have, the slower you can put this setting. If you have a 6-core CPU or better, you can go as low as “MEDIUM” for games that aren’t very CPU intensive. Your results may vary as every game will be impacted differently, so this setting is one you may want to experiment with for your setup to get the best results.

Encoder and Video settings set up.gif

If you have an NVIDIA GPU, you can actually get away with a lower class CPU, even down to an i3 or Ryzen 3 1200) since the brunt of the encoding load will be offloaded to the built-in hardware encoder that NVIDIA has been including (and improving) with their GPUs since the GTX 600 series. It is a very useful feature, and can really help out here. 

So, let’s go back to the OBS settings section and go over this.

  • In the “output” tab, select “output mode” and click “advanced.”

  • Encoder: NVIDIA NVENC H.264 (new)

  • Uncheck “Enforce Streaming Service Encoder Settings”

  • Uncheck “Rescale Output”

  • Set the rate control to “CBR”

  • Set the bitrate to something appropriate to your Internet upload speed. The target is to get 720p, 60FPS streaming, so anything between 4000-6000 kbps would be appropriate.

  • Change the Keyframe Interval to 2

  • Change the Preset to “Max Quality” (or just “quality” if using any GTX GPU older than the current Turing based GTX 1660/RTX 2060 series)

  • Change the Profile to “High”

  • Uncheck “Look Ahead”

  • Check “Psycho Visual Tuning”

  • Set the GPU to 0, default. This is to make sure that you use your primary GPU.

  • Set the Max B-frames to 2

The Video settings step is the same for NVENC as it is for x264, so you can refer to the steps (and GIF) above or also just follow this GIF.

Video settings only.gif
NVENC Configuration example

NVENC Configuration example

We actually have an entire guide on setting up streaming with the NVIDIA NVENC encoder, so if you want any further info on getting things set up, read that!

Additional note:

We used StreamElements SuperThemes overlays for this tutorial. StreamElements Superthemes are 100% free, and can be customized as you like. Both “Lightbringer” and “Doomhammer” SuperThemes are specifically made for World of Warcraft.

We offer a few videos that actually detail the full setup and customization of StreamElements overlays that if you’d like to learn more, they are linked right below.

So now you are ready to go live! You can press the “start streaming” button and enjoy the exciting experience of streaming World of Warcraft! 

But wait...there’s more! How do you manage your chat? Your activity feed? Many other things? Well StreamElements offers a tool for that too, and that's called OBS Live!

You may have noticed the integrated Activity Feed and Chat window above or in some of the screenshots or linked tutorials. The OBS.Live plugin for OBS Studio by StreamElements does all of this and more! 

OBS.Live lets you see how many viewers you have, Activity Feed, skip/replay/manage Alerts, refresh your Overlays, Media Request controls, set what game you’re playing, set your stream title all in OBS much good stuff! The plugin is available to download right here:


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If you found this article helpful or need more help with your configuration, be sure to reach out to us on social media and let us know. Our fun and friendly Discord community is full of fellow StreamElements users too and our support staff are on-hand, providing legendary service 24/7!






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Christopher ArellanoComment