Hello guys this is Zicomo from JeeSports Staff and we are back. I had a great opportunity to interview a very nice person, whom I can call as a Mechanics Master of Dota. Yes, he is none other than Luminous. Enjoy this interview done for our site JeeSports.
Hello Luminous. You are very well-known in the Dota community since the Dota community is expanding at a very fast rate. But still, can you introduce yourself to the community?
Luminous: Hello, my name is Luminous. I've been casting for close to 3 years now. I've started back in the days of Dota 1, with zero knowledge of the competitive scene and very little fundamental of the game itself. I threw up some random (really low quality) commentaries on Youtube, and some people asked for more. There was very little content on Youtube at the time, so I guess my casting career took off at that point and it's been a crazy ride since then.
How did you make your connection with Dota?
Luminous: My roommate at college played quite a bit of Dota at the time, which was my first interaction with computer games as a whole. I had been a bigger fan of things like console gaming and trading card games before that, but the ability to play with your friends across the country on a PC appealed to me. I was able to reconnect with a lot of high school friends that also played Dota, and that was the beginning of my days of auto-attacking and not calling misses in pub games.
Good Old Memories. You are quite popular with the Dota Weekly Show. What made you start the DWS (Dota2 Weekly Show)?
Luminous: DWS, for those that aren't familiar, is supposed to be a weekly based show that cover news at the core, and various other topics like mechanics, tips, challenges, beta key giveaways and random things about my life (sort of like a video-log). It's changed over the months in both delivery and the information it contains, but the original goal of informing viewers about the pro scenes haven't changed. Not everybody visits news websites like GosuGamers for their share of Dota news, so I felt that the DWS can be a quick and dirty way for viewers to stay updated. Lastly, I always wanted to connect with my viewers, to show them the guy 'behind the casting', as it were, and DWS gave me the opportunity to do so.
You said that in DWS you keep challenges how do you get those idea?
Luminous: The challenges were meant to be both educational and a fun way for viewers to learn something about the game. Instead of having challenges like "farm a Divine as quick as you can", I set limitations in hopes of making viewers see the game in a different perspective. In one challenge, it was to "only use 2 inventory slots". Suddenly, players had to learn to evaluate TP scroll over the Magic Wand, and even not picking up Boots if Dagger was more important. I feel that most players don't understand that Inventory Slots, much like gold/hp/mana, are precious resources, and I think the challenge did a good job at convincing the viewers. Each week in the DWS, I give away a set number of betakeys. Originally, when betakeys were a lot more scarce, I set up riddles and whoever solved them first gets the prize. I am a big fan of mystery / detective novels, so it wasn't too difficult for me to design the riddles. Unfortunately, I have to say some of my riddles were questionable in design, and though a good number of people were able to solved them, a lot more were led to the wrong direction by false hints. If you're a fan of the challenges and the riddles, I can happily say that they'll be making a comeback in the near future, look forward to it!
Since you have been casting for almost last 3 years any memorable moments from the games you have casted?
Luminous: There's definitely a large number of memorable games, from YYF's endless buyback on his storm, or ZSMJ's unbelievable farm of 720cs in 55min, or more recently, Dendi's insane comeback featuring Tiny, it's really tough just to pick one. However, the most memorable game to-date is Nirvana.cn vs iG.Y Game3. It was one of my first few times broadcasting live, as opposed to casting off of replays for Youtube, and I must say, casting live gets your adrenaline pumping twice as much. The game showed me a valuable lesson that a dota game is never until the throne goes down, and as a caster, I shouldn't call games anytime before that. For those that want to watch the games I mentioned, I have a Youtube playlist of the most epic games that I have ever cast - a good way to waste a couple of hours ;).
Many guys from the community including me feel that you are a true Mechanics master of Dota. So what if someone will offer you to coach any team? Would you like to accept that coaching offer, especially if the team is amongst the top tier one's?
Luminous: I've been publically regarded as the caster 'with most strategical insight' far too many times than I deserve. To quote a well regarded pro that has once said to me "Luminous needs to fact check before speaking", I know a lot less than what people give me credit for. As I mentioned earlier, I started casting with zero knowledge of the pro scene, and a lot of it was trial and error. Of course, I try my best to read the situation as logically as possible and offer analysis, but I am learning something new every day. For a game like Dota, I feel that unless you're progressing, you're regressing - the game changes so fast, and a popular strategy today may not be viable two weeks from now. To answer your question though, instead of asking teams whether they want to be coached by me, I want to ask teams whether they can coach me instead! I have a lot more to learn before I can coach. My slogan is "Let's Learn Together", and it really fits the way I cast. As much as newer players are learning from my insight, I am also learning from what I see from the pros.
How do you find time to cast and make the DWS with your busy schedule, does earning your masters degree take a lot of your time?
Luminous: Let's just say that I multitask very efficiently ;) I cannot count the number of times my text book is opened during the wait-time between one pro game to the next. Although my grades aren't exactly the best, they are at a level where I am happy with. Unfortunately, there are also times where casting conflict with my academic schedule, and the recent grueling weeks of TI2 Qualifiers / Dreamhack caused me to scale back a bit on Youtube content like DWS. It's like a war against time itself, but I deal :)
You are the founder of Dota Commentaries what made you start Dota Commentary?
Luminous: DC was founded with the idea of having all the Youtube casters under one roof and be a large community for both the casters and the viewers. Several casters started popping up on Youtube shortly after I uploaded my first commentaries. It was a simple idea of "hey we do the same things, why don't we build something together?" Of course, DC has gone through numerous changes throughout the years, but the core idea is to work together as a casting crew and bring viewers a wide variety of casting style and content.
We have many new casters these days, any tips or ideas for them? Do you think someone from them, let’s say could cast with you in future?
Luminous: I feel that everybody is multi-talented, and anyone can bring something different to the table. Don't talk yourself down and tell yourself that you don't have an important criteria like "a smooth voice" or "excitement". Unless you pick up your mic and start casting, you'll never know how good you can be. Using myself as an example, I started casting while knowing nothing about the scene, and of course English isn't my strongest trait, but even I have my place in the community as a caster. Hard work and determination can compensate for a lot 'important criteria' you may or may not be lacking, and those are the two most important aspect of becoming a successful caster.
Everybody in the community knows already that Dota Commentary crew would be going to The International. What do you think about this and the traveling?
Luminous: There's very little known about TI2 at the moment, but from what I have seen, I can only be extremely excited. As a fan of Dota, I am extremely happy that Valve is in charge of the development of the game, as they've shown that they do listen to community feedback. Their recent addition of the Tournament View feature is a great addition for tournament organizers and pro players alike. I personally don't know much more than the public regarding TI2, like how exactly it is going to be ran, who actually is in charge (aside from the Frog), but I trust Valve. I am not worried. I am quite sure that I am not alone on that thought :)
Any specific team that you would love to support at the International?
Luminous: Right now, I don't know over half the teams for TI2, at least not in an in-depth strategical level. I've been casting mostly Euro games for TPL, West Qualifiers, Dreamhack, etc. Until I do my ninja scouting reports on all the Asian teams, I'll withhold my undying fanboyism for Chinese teams. However, seeing the recent finish of the Gigabyte Dota Masters, I must say that it TI2 currently don't have a clear cut favorite team at winning the tournament.
We have recently seen teams that showed up late even after having fixed the timings for the tournament. Do you feel there should be something like penalty or disqualification for such teams?
Luminous: For TPL, the teams that show up first get their choice between Radiance/Dire, and that has seemed to work out decently. While using these type of 'in-game' punishment may solve the issue in the short-run, I feel that it will be ultimately up to the pro players themselves to fix these issues. When games are delayed because of miscommunication on the organizers/players' end, it certainly does not help the Esport scene grow. Sponsors and viewers alike, instead of getting a game played on time, are asked to 'deal with it'. As a whole, I think teams are a lot better than they were one-year ago, but there are still lots of room for improvement.
What features do you like and dislike the most in Dota 2?
Luminous: Coming from an Esport perspective, I really dislike the lack of transparency when it comes to the replays. I understand that there are complications regarding stream numbers and VODs views, but as a caster that came from the roots of downloading pro replays and figuring things out on my own, not having replay matches for all tournaments are very annoying. Furthermore, I believe teams having replays of other teams allow for better preparation, thus improving the overall level of gameplay. To this end, Valve has developed the Tournament View feature, which like I mentioned before, I am extremely happy about. It depends on how many big touranment (if not all) Valve does this for. However, even the Tournament View Feature cost a bit of cash, if they decide to do a tournament-pass for each individual tournament. We'll see how the situation goes, but for now, more replays!
If at the International they will ask to choose one co-caster between LD and Nebula whom would you pick and why?
Luminous: Hmm, that's a rather tricky question that I don't want to answer.
But still one name if no reason.
Luminous: Well, Valve has decided who I'll be casting with, and you guys will find out in due time.
Some more questions about The International. Would you be interviewing players about their strategy for the matches they will play? Will Dota Commentary have any Live Interview section or something new for the International?
Luminous: I believe that there will be official Interviewers appointed by Valve to allow the viewers at home to get to know the players/teams a lot better. Currently, we're not sure whether we will have the time to wander around and chitchat with the pro players, but given the opportunity, everybody at DC likes to talk - a lot. Nebula will probably fanboy with Fear and I'll be fanboying with the Chinese pros. In terms of the strategical part, I don't think teams will share deep insights in a casual interview, and to be honest, I think it is more important to get to know the pros as people, not as Dota machines!
Thanks for the interview Lumi. Any shoutouts?
Luminous: Large shoutout, as always, to everybody at the DC Staff. I have grown so much as a caster and as a person working with everybody. Of course, the viewers that are supporting me in numerous ways, whether by constructive criticisms, or just spreading my videos with their friends, or just simply by watching and learning. Though not in my place to do so, I think Valve deserves a large shoutout for what they've done. Of course, thank you for the opportunity for an interview.
Thanks for your valueable time and good luck at the International and future projects of Dota Commentary as well as the DWS.
Luminous: Thanks and I enjoyed the interview.
Thanks to all our readers and keep an eye open for next interviews with famous casters.