Lumi's Blog

It's easy to be great, it's hard to be good

7 – 2014 and Beyond

Hi all~

 

One of the most important holidays for me is definitely Chinese New Year! The food, the red envelopes and family! It’s going to be Jan 31 this year, and a new year means new goals. Even though there numerous things on the list (use Twitter/FB more!), these are the ones that I plan to prioritize:

  • Exercise consistently and be healthier
  • Continue Advanced Guide series
  • Improve as a caster and aim towards TI4
  • Launch my global rapping career

My annual check-up results weren’t exactly satisfactory, when my doctor found out that I do less exercise than a hamster (they actually run a lot!). Since then I’ve been encouraged by my girlfriend to hit the gym and eat healthily. Surprisingly, working out has indirectly helped my casting. Simply having more energy and endurance really helps in long, grueling casting sessions. It also helps in other activities.

I plan to produce my advanced guides in a biweekly fashion. In preparation, I’ve been writing scripts for a couple of heroes. It’s quite a challenge to write the guide for Quas Exort Invoker! Explaining all the spells can take a bit of time… I wonder how I’ll format that video. The cool thing about these guides is that I’ll be taking requests, so if you really need a guide on Sniper, I got you.

Beyond camera control, mechanics knowledge and game intuition, I want to push myself in other aspects of live casting. Camera charisma, rapport with co-casters and game hype are areas that I want to work on and excel at. There are several exciting possibilities for live casting overseas in the near future, where I feel I can push myself even further. Don’t worry, guys, casting is my passion, so hopefully you’ll be hearing a lot from me. J

To answer the recent questions about BTS: I am a freelance contractor, which meant if they wanted me and I was available, I’d cast for them. I was offered a full-time position in October, but we agreed to maintain the contractor relationship. Since then, I have been and still am available for casting various events. I am always happy to work with BTS if the opportunity arises in the future.

Before I end this post, I want to express my sincere gratitude for those that have been caring for and supporting me all these years. Whether you guys have been here since the Luminous48 days, or recently joined in because of my rapping skills. It’s thanks to you guys that I’m still going strong.

- Lumi

6 – TI3 and I

Though we are exactly one month since the biggest event of the Dota world, TI3 is still on my mind from time to time. Much like all the competing teams, the weeks leading up to, during and after TI3 was an emotional roller coaster for myself. I had a great time reading Dotaland’s experience as a translator for Valve, and in turn I was inspired to share a bit of my own.

The Commentaries
One thing I always believe in is that the viewers watch the game for the teams, the plays, and the storyline – it’s a commentator’s job to make that experience as enjoyable as possible. Many has congratulated me for my performance casting TI3, and while I humbly appreciate the supports of my fans, I was merely a small part of the successes of the tournament. I spent an entire year in momentary doubts and regrets after casting the (almost) boring finals of TI2, and I felt that I did not rise up to the challenge and the prestige of casting the finals. I was quite pleasantly surprised when Valve gave us another shot at the Finals, and luck was on our side this time as Alliance vs Navi Game 5 lived up to any Dota fan’s expectation of an epic game. However, I quickly pulled myself out of the afterglows and reveries of the TI3 Finals, and it’s back to improving my understanding of the game, knowledge of the players, and working out deficiencies in my casts. It’s easy to be great in a Finals where all the factors setup for an awesome game, but it’s infinitely harder to be good everyday – I want to be good everyday.

The Players
Players are intimidating.
They are generally nice people, but I find them intimidating. Out of all of the casters, I am the one that criticizes players the most for their plays, and often times I criticize while not seeing certain aspects of a player’s decision making. As a result, I don’t think I am very popular with many teams and players. For every player that was nice to me (Team Liquid players, Dignitas players, Brax, 1437, Winter, Black, etc), there were twice the players that dislike me (Xboct and everyone else). The Chinese players were just intimidating because they traveled as a group (both in game and outside of the game). I tried talking to them in Chinese several times, but once they discovered that you’re not ‘real’ Chinese, they don’t talk to you. Xiao8, Hao and MMY were all quite shy or just didn’t want to talk. At the end of the day, I don’t mind too much how players think of me, though I really want to talk to as many players as I can to learn some of their insights of the game. #RoadtoTI4 where I am politically correct (sometimes).

The Fans
Apart from actually casting the games, I think I look forward to meeting all of the fans the most. Everyone was extremely nice, and it was refreshing throughout the event to have fans come up to me and say “I followed you since your Luminous48 days, thanks for getting me into competitive Dota”. Even though I broadcast big games and work alongside big names, I find myself relating to the viewers more: I am a fan and a student of the game, always learning something new. Personally, Valve’s addition of the signing booth was my favorite change from TI2. Though a majority of people just wanted an extra signature in their steam account, I also knew a lot of people that would treasure my in-game signature. I was only supposed to do signing for an hour, but I ended up doing a two hour session on day3 and another session on day5. I next-leveled the system and gave out different signatures on different days. On day3 it was “@LuminousInverse” and on day5 it was “Luminem”. Later I found out someone bought one of my signature for $180. My initial reaction was “lol?” but then I thought it was somewhat an honor. Thanks Mr/Mrs. Big Spender.

L

5 – Fantasy and Wildcard

If you’ve been living under a rock, you have not heard about The International 3 yet. Of course, the die hard Dota2 fans are doing whatever they can to support the tournament – talking about it on forums, letting their friends know through social media websites, and a lot of us are directly helping to add to the growing prize pool by buying the Interactive Compendium. The compendium has two large sections that I am personally a big fan of: the Fantasy League. I haven’t seen many others share their choices for these selections online, so I’d thought I’ll do so and explain why I’ve selected the choices that I did.

Fantasy team

they gonna earn me some rares

Your team is comprised of 5 active players and 3 bench players. Within the actual 5 active players, there must be 2 Carries, 1 Solo, and 2 Supports. Each player selected will earn or lose points depending on hero kill death assists (KDA), creep scores (CS), final gold per minutes (GPM) and/or experience. Obviously, for certain roles, some categories mean more than others. For example, creep scores will matter a lot less for a Support player than a Carry player. Knowing that these are the main scoring criteria, some might be tempted to find the best CSer for Carries or the best Assist Supports, but don’t overlook one huge part of scoring: “Points earned during the Main Event will be multiplied by 4. Scoring is done on a day-by-day basis, and covers 7 days of the real tournament“.

What does this mean? The deeper into the tournament that your players go, the more points you’ll earn. It’s great and all to find an exceptional Support player, but if he is part of a team that you think will be knocked out by day 2 of the Main Event, you’ll be force to bench him and lose out on picking him for your team. Obviously, Valve helps out this by having 3 Bench players that allows you to swap your team.

Going to my team, you can see that all 5 of my active player selections are part of teams that has performed well in recent tournament history. Alliance and Navi are self explanatory, and their list of recent accomplishments are enough to convince me to have 3 out of 5 active member slots. I believe that both of these West teams will go deep into the Main Events, thus I feel rather safe by having these players on my active team.

One large part of Valve’s Fantasy League is that it treats all players equally, or in another sense, all players cost the same. In last year’s Fantasy League that Bruno and I worked on, we believed that certain players are worth more since they will earn more points. By taking the costs out of the equation, Valve has made the Fantasy League a lot simpler for players that may not follow the scene as closely to still participate, but at the same time, it has robbed a lot of the complexity out of the equations. You can see that out of the 8 players slots that were available to me, I have one and only one Solo player, Dendi. He is by far the most stats efficient player, and no other Solo Mid/Offlaner even come close. I believe Navi will go deep into the tournament, so I don’t even need a back up Solo player. Orange Esport has been on the rise lately, and although I don’t think they will take the championship, I expect Orange to make a deep run. As for iG… you never count out iG.

This also gave me room to have 4 Support players on my roaster, and to be completely honest, I am not too confident with my Support selections. After roaming in DatDota (Stats website) for a while, I noticed that most Support players have pretty much the same stats. More or less, Support average about 3/3/10 in the KDA ratio. So I thought to myself: what would make my Support selections more effective than other contestant’s Support selections?

Explosiveness.

While it’s hard to argue on what makes the “best” Visage player, I am fairly convinced that the best Visage player, bar none, is Xtinct from Orange Esports. He has a 78% win rate on Visage, and at one point in the DSL, his Visage KDA was rivaling every carry player’s KDA in the tournament. If all Support players have more or less the same average statistics, I want explosive Support players that can give me huge burst of points if they have a good game. Originally I wanted both Xtinct and Net on my active team, since I believe that Orange has the best supporting duo out of all 17 teams at Seattle, but I decided against it. Diversifying my investment/risks is generally the smarter choice, so I went with another explosive Support player in the form of Invictus Gaming’s Chuan. As of late, iG has not been doing well, and I may bench Chuan depending how iG does in the group in favor of MMY/X!! or Puppey. I was extremely tempted to select Alliance’s EGM instead of Chuan, since he sometimes plays an extremely farmed oriented Support Windrunner (20min Orchid on the 4 role… wut?), and I still somewhat think I should go with EGM instead of Chuan. But what can I say, I am an iG fanboy and I think hope they will have a bounce back at TI3.

Since I haven’t touched upon the Carry role too much, I went with Loda and Xboct on my active player slot for different reasons. Alliance’s play style centers around Loda quite a bit, in both their hero selection and jungle stacking, and Loda always ends the game with great farm and very little deaths. As for Xboct, his last hitting is probably one of the best in the world, and his KDA puts him above most other carries. Random throws be damned, Xboct is also a Navi member, and that’s like money in the bank. On my Bench, I have Sylar, and I am fairly convinced that he’ll be moved into the active team somewhere in the tournament. Sylar may have worse stats than Loda/Xboct, but he also tore up TI2. I also predict that LGD.cn will go deep in the tournament (I have them as the team that wins it all), so I beleive Sylar will be useful in day 3/4 of the Main Event.

At the time I am writing this post, there’s little less than 3 days left before the Fantasy League closes for selection, so be sure to input your team before that happens! I recommend you doing your own research and select a team that you think is the best (and don’t copy me cuz how I win it all if you copy me? :D). Up next, I want to open up the discussion about the Wildcard slot featuring Quantic from the West and Rattlesnake from the East. I personally have no clue on who will take the bo5 that’s happening on August 2nd, so I am curious on who you guys think will take it.

L

4 – Merlini and Aui

One of the coolest thing I can boast about Dota casting is the ability to travel and/or work with other awesome professionals from the community. For the combined event of Eastern Qualifiers and G1 Lan Finals, I met and worked with Merlini and Aui_2000 for the first time, and this blog post will detail our few days together (this sounds like some epic romance). Unfortunately, I don’t usually take pictures, so you’ll have to use your imagination for our 3some adventures (wut).

Ben “Merlini” Wu

Truth be told, I was fairly intimidated about meeting Ben. I have cast with Ben before, and he’s been always in professional form, and it’s almost rare to hear him crack jokes and laugh. It also doesn’t help that I am a huge fanboy of his MYM days for all of his past conquests. However, I forgot one of the most obvious lessons I’ve learned working in Esports: sometimes people appear differently online and offline. While Ben has an aura of professionalism when he’s casting or doing analysis, he’s as fun loving as it gets when it comes to party or hanging out. Soon we were playing Rock-Paper-Scissor (or “Ching-Chong-Push” as AUI called it) for anything and everything: shotgun for car rides, boba tea and alcohol.  Speaking of alcohol, Merlini might or might not have mooned us off camera during the live broadcast, and Aui & I might or might not have been scarred for life afterwards. “Got ganked by Merlini” will always have a different meaning for me from now on.
Fun fact: Ben’s really good at all different type of board / card games. He’s won several holdem games, as well as couple of games of Settlers of Catan.

Kurtis “Aui” Ling

It took a grand total of 1 minute before Kurtis and I hit it off. Our common bond was Super Smash Bros Melee, and although we didn’t end up playing much due to how busy we both were, it got us talking to each other. I have to rate Aui as one of the most enjoyable person to cast with, simply due to the amount of learning that I do while casting with him. Aui is very mechanically in-tuned, which is generally how I approach casting myself, his very in-depth and relevant analysis gave me a broader outlook for a lot of heroes and strategies. I thought we had some great on camera synergy as well, and when I suited up in a Dignitas jersey next to him, we were called the Dota brothers by the community. It wasn’t clear who was the younger / older brother between the two of us… I am older than Kurtis by a couple of years, but he’s the one that’s teaching me about cooking, Settlers of Catan, Frisbee, Dota and various other random things.
Fun fact: Aui is a god at this game, it’s got like 46 in a row, easy.

All in all, I had a great time working with Merlini, Aui, Kawa (mvp of the entire staff), Purge, Blitz as well as the rest of the BTS crew. It was half work, half play, and I think that’s the best work environment for me. Merlin, and 2 special guests are coming to Los Angeles soon for the Alienware Cup, so I am looking forward to more work and funs.

L

3 – Stress and Fatigue

For the past week or so, I have been working at the BTS house broadcasting for both the Eastern Qualifier and the G1 League finals. I can go on and cast Dota day in and day out, but the irregular sleep schedule, less-than-healthy diet, messy living environment and the long broadcasting hours have been taking a toll on me, both physically and mentally. I don’t think my casting has been suffering too much from the fatigue, though my appearance on camera has grown noticeably more tired as the days went by. We had a much needed day off between G1 League finals and the upcoming conclusion of the Eastern Qualifiers, and I liberally took a lot of time to unwind.

Yesterday, a couple of guys (shoutout to Matthew and Jason) saw Aui and my plea for Super Smash Bros Melee on stream and hooked us up with the game, so we were able to get away from the Dota-verse and Smashed for a couple of hours. We also finally had a chance to go out for nice hotpot, which was an amazing change of pace since we had nothing but fast food for an entire week. Throughout my week of stay at BTS house, I made it my priority to step outside the house as much as I can, as being cooped up in a dark (and smelly) house with 8 other guys isn’t exactly appealing all the time. I made grocery/food runs, watched Blitz ride his bike, and tossed Frisbee with Eosin & Aui at the backyard.

A lot of professional gamers de-stress by getting away from their computers and jogging/working out, but since exercising isn’t really my thing, I had to find a replacement. In my normal schedule, I try to taking brief walks after meals and stretch for 5 minute or so in my backyard. As someone that literally sits in front of the monitor for ten plus hours a day, I heavily recommend taking the opportunity to get out of the house whenever possible.
Fun fact: I love going shopping with my mom – I can get all the walking I need for the week in one trip.

Today, I had the most ‘unproductive’ day in a long while, but it has been quite nice for my mental and physical state after a week of wired-casting. I got way too much enjoyment doing mundane chores such as laundry or the dishes. I clocked an extra hour or two in Skyward Sword, spent way too much time googling for a way to get Divekick (if anyone know please hook me up) and (slept in the car as my parents) drove to San Diego for some decent seafood.

Our day off is ending soon and back to the grind we go for the home stretch of Eastern Qualifiers. The last few days of broadcast should be much easier and relaxing, though exactly how much easier depends on the amount of alcoholic consumption by my coworkers at the studio. I feel revitalized and ready to bring my A game for the Eastern Qualifiers, I hope you guys can tune in! In my next blog post, I’ll be writing about my experiences working with Merlini and Dignitas.Aui during these days of broadcast – look forward to it!

L

2 – Parents and Dota

Dota begun as a side hobby for me and it has developed into more or less a full time commitment, and although I wouldn’t go to call Dota broadcasting a career just yet, it’s definitely a job. Many has asked me whether my parents are supportive of my growing involvement with Dota.

It may come as a surprise to my fellow Asian gamers, but my parents are quite open-minded when it comes to career choices and field of studies in school. I am fortunate enough to freely select non-law / non-medical fields in university, and my parents always encouraged me to pursue what I want to do. With that said, holding a regular office job is still quite opposite to a position related to gaming and broadcasting. Instead of hitting on office ladies at my day job, I work with fellow sleep deprived dudes from midnight till 8am – thank you Asian Dota. The hardest thing for my parents to accept is the fact that I work with video games, which is the bane of straight-As’ existence. Video gaming has always had a negative tradition in Chinese households, but don’t worry, the future offsprings of Lumi + (currently nonexistent) Mrs.Lumi will be true gamers.

Despite these Asian traditions and the fact that I don’t get to hang out with my parents as much as I used to, my parents are still supportive of my double full time involvement with Dota casting and a Masters degree in Education. I consider myself extremely lucky to have parents that may not understand Esports or gaming in general, but will support their son’s love for the said Esport. I am sure pro gamers such as Liquid.Fluff, Kaipi.EternalEnvy and CLG.Link can relate – although our parents may not think a career in gaming is the best choice, they still allow us to make our paths (or mistakes?) as young adults.

Thanks mom and dad!

My parents are definitely more understanding now that casting has generated a check or two to pay for expenses at home. They’re also very happy for me that I get the chance to travel to various different cities and widen my outlook on life. But, they’re still droning on about how I can’t find a girlfriend working in Dota – I have no response to this one.

L

1 – The Beginning

I will be posting on this blog pretty sporadically (heck it might be daily).

I want to use this blog to create a closer connection with myself and the community, but I am not sure how intensely I want to make this associated with Dota. I intend on making this blog casual with an air of professionalism (if that makes any sense). These posts will be as honest and hopefully cohesive as possible, though rage-induced rants may or may not occur.

I will be making a lot of adjustments to the site as I develop this blog. Expect stuff like:

  • Dota strategy / heroes / items
  • Thoughts on Dota as an Esport
  • Dota teams / players
  • Casting / public speaking
  • Anime / Magic the Gathering / random hobbies
  • Random life stories

If you have any critiques/advice send me a message on Twitter or leave a message at the comments. I’ll read it. Thanks ^^

L

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 31 other followers