Donezo with Dota.
Over the past few weeks people have been asking me what's been going on and if I'm quitting Dota 2 and I wanted to take some time and reminisce about my career in Dota. You've probably heard about what's been going on with me from all sorts of different people but I just wanted to clear the air.
I'm quitting the Esports Industry for the foreseeable future. I'll be done with Dota casting full-time, I'll come back and hopefully do some Moonduck events but otherwise I'm moving on. With that said I'd like to ask that you respect my privacy over the course of the next few weeks while I get acclimated at my new job in IT. I will still stream. I'll try to do something regularly. I'll probably stream the new WoW Expansion as I'm going to be getting back into it. I'll also be doing a Doki Doki Literature Club stream sometime in the near future.
With that all out of the way I want to talk about my history in Dota. There's no specific storyline to this I just want to talk about some of the experiences I had in the past.
I know this is going to be kinda cheesy but I wanted to say something so here it goes.
I didn't really expect much when I started casting Dota. I watched a very old Purge video where he talked about getting into Dota 2 casting. It's been a while and I don't know if the video still exists but that was the video that got me thinking that I could start casting Dota. I had just started streaming on Twitch with my WoW Guild during Cataclysm where I would stream us taking down Heroic Firelands and Dragon Soul.
I started playing a little before The International 2. Back then I had no idea what the hell it was but I knew it was exciting. I started casting TI2 Qualifiers online to no-one. I just wanted to see how it felt to start casting.
I eventually got to work with Grant doing stuff like ECAL. I then tried real hard to go full time Dota and I got a lucky break with NEODota.
NEODota came around shortly thereafter. My very good friend Spit-wad owned NEODota and he was looking for someone to help him grow the organization. I think Draskyl was a part of NEODota for a bit at that time and I believe he left around that time. We did some tournaments here and there but there were 2 big things about my time at NEODota. The first being C9DL, IXDL and NEL broadcasting. I made a name for myself casting NA in-house leagues. I was able to cast some of the best and brightest in NA Dota and I was proud of that. I don't know if I ever really belonged in the NADota scene but it was very important for me. The 2nd thing I was able to be a part of during NEO Dota was a show called Much Ado About Dota (or MAAD). For those of you that haven't heard about this show it was a weekly talk-show that included Bulba, Aui_2000 and a rotating cast of other players and commentators. We had all the big names on that show. At first I was just a producer of the show but I eventually started hosing it. I loved MAAD but to be honest I was nervous and shy. These were players that I had spent a year or two watching realizing that they were insane Dota players. I put them on a pedestal and in all honesty I think I did that for the rest of my career. I honestly had trouble approaching a lot of pros during my casting career. I think this puts off pro-players, it makes it seem like I think I'm better than everyone and I really don't think that at all, I'm just awkward, and to be honest becoming a Dota caster really helped with that.
After NEODota came HighgroundTV with Greg (WhatIsHip) and Kotlguy. We took a trip down to Brooklyn to see our friends on team eHug. We spent the night at their place and on the way back to Manhattan we talked about starting something. We weren't sure what at the time but eventually it turned into HighGround. Honestly Greg and Dakota are two of my closest friends. We don't talk as much as we used to but our trip to TI4 where all 3 of us got invited was one of the most enjoyable trips in my life. We spent a lot of nights drinking in Seattle, hanging out, watching movies and playing ARDM on the downstairs practice PCs with Korok, Fogged and Zyori.
HighGround came and went and then came Moonduck. Moonduck has been amazing to me. I think you all know that already but it's been a pretty important part of my life. The friendships I have in Moonduck are my closest in Esports right now. I got to work with so many talented people and for a few years they really helped me get to Majors and TI6.
If there is one real important thing I want to talk about it's TI6. I think a lot of people may have tolerated my casting at that point, maybe even enjoyed it but my performance at that tournament was abysmal. I often think that the Manila Major was some of the best casting I ever did (LGD vs. Fnatic game 3 with DJ Enigma is my favorite game of all time in Dota history). I felt like I as at my peak. I was clear-headed and I had the luxury of having a lot of friends around me at that tournament. When I got to TI6 I wasn't the same person. I had a lot of health issues around that time and because of that I was stressed and I made a lot of mistakes and felt like I was sleep-walking through the tournament. LD did his best to carry me but I knew that I had fucked up what could have been an amazing tournament for us. I feel pretty bad about that. I could say that having 2 PxP casters at TI wasn't the best idea but I don't think that's correct. Other esports do it all the time and at Manila I cast with LD for 2 or 3 different series and we did great. I just collapsed under the pressure. Since TI6 I don't think I've ever recovered. I do think sometimes that the reddit circlejerk goes too far. I don't think I did as terrible as reddit makes it out to be. I understand that my voice isn't the best for casting, my knowledge is lacking but when I'm on in-terms of hyping stuff up I feel great. I think TNC vs. VGJ Thunder at Bucharest was a good example of this. Honestly, if you didn't like my casting I understand, I see where you are coming from. All I can ask for you is to keep an open mind for casters in the future.
Honestly I love casting Dota. It's one of my favorite things, but it's stressful if you aren't one of the top 5 casters. Redeye once told me that you need think skin to be an esports personality and he's absolutely right. Even with how much I love Dota I think I made the right decision. I'm never going to be a top tier caster again (if I ever was) and the way Dota is headed I don't see how I can continue on this road. Luckily over the 5 years that I've worked in Dota I have also worked in a wide variety of other roles including working as an IT Specialist for Moonduck and HighGround.
I'm lucky enough that I have other opportunities outside of Dota 2. For the last few years I've been dreaming of stability. Working a 9 to 5 job where I can still do what I love (working with computers) without feeling miserable when I get a negative reddit thread or a rough tweet. Does this mean I'm 100% done with Dota and Esports? No. I'll still be casting games here and there, hopefully I'll be involved in the next Midas Mode or Captain's Draft but that's up to Zyori and Sunsfan. I will still stream record-setting runs of Prince of Persia 2 and casual Super Metroid streams. Hell I'm even casting MPGL tonight but in all honesty I won't be working on anything major in Dota. Short of getting invited to a TI I doubt I'll be at a major event.
Even if I wasn't your favorite caster I hope I could have made you enjoy a dota stream at one time. Maybe I made you laugh with some of the dumb shit that I say. Maybe you and I had the same interests like WoW and anime. Maybe you saw the time that I took my shirt off on stream, or when I wrestled for Slacks. You might have been there when I looked like a creep with my mustache at Midas mode.
Thanks to everyone that was a part of my career. People that I've casted with or worked with in some way shape or form. Moonduck, BTS and HighGround people specifically. I don't want to write out a list of specific people so I'll just say if you've worked with me at an event or online then this is for you.
Tl;dr - It's been a trip. I can't believe how long it's been. I'll see you all next time.