Monday, April 25, 2011

I haven't been following Code A as much on the GSL this league. Not sure why. I guess, I've already picked my crew of Starcraft 2 heroes and so I don't really need anymore crowded their way into my heart.

One of the things which kept me away from Code A this season is the lack of Kelly from Singapore. I enjoyed her nerdy commentary and was sad to see her go. I still tune in sometimes when she lives streams. The new casters for Code A weren't as interesting at first. DOA was kind of a straight man, but needed a less serious partner to be a foil to the fact that he always looks uptight even when he's gleeful. When Kelly left and they introduced Moletrap, it was really confusing. Artosis and Tasteless work well because both are huge nerds, but one is a straight nerd, the other is a joker. With Moletrap and DOA, it seemed at first as if both were straight nerds. But after a couple of casts, Moletrap has started to grow on me. There is an almost geek earnestness to his discomfort and awkward casting. Hearing him explode when a nuke is queued up is hysterical.

Some interviews with the two Code Caster can be found below courtesy of Sixjax.

From Sixjax:

Sixjaxgaming was recently able to round up the two members of the Code-A casting team for a few words.  Artosis sat down with Moletrap for an on camera chat and I had the privilege to interview Doa via email.
The Code-A casting duo is living what many would consider a dream, and it seems as if they’re well aware of how good they have it.  Both Moletrap and Doa had a lot to say about their experiences abroad, with GOMTV, and their personal histories as casters.  They were nice enough to give us a peek into their lives despite their busy schedules, and for that I’d like to thank them up front.

Without further adieu, the Code-A casting team:
Artosis with Moletrap:


evoli: Doa, I apologize for being so blunt, but it really seems like you came out of fucking nowhere. You went from being a relatively low-key caster who’s bread and butter was youtube to being the community’s Code-A casting savior. Would you mind giving a brief summary of your Starcraft casting career prior to your start with GOMTV for those, like me, who are unfamiliar with the entire story?

Doa: Ha. Well I don’t know if I’d say Code A savior. I’m just glad to get this chance and I’m trying to do my best. I began casting because I had a background in speaking and I wanted to contribute to the community, but I knew I didn’t have time to play at the top level. It started out with some youtube casts and the response was pretty positive, which prompted me to start doing more with it. I ended up working with an organization called the Rush Network and started casting live events for them. I ended up meeting a lot of great players and other casters during that time and was having a ton of fun. I pretty much cast with someone different almost every week, which was great because it really trained me on how to just be able to jump in and cast with anyone and have fun doing it. Probably the biggest event I did pre-GSL was a LAN in St Louis that was put on by Eleven Gaming. I cast it with Catspajamas from the lobby of a Best Western hotel. We had about 30-50 people watching plus the random confused person who was checking in/out of their rooms and had to see what these nerds were yelling about behind their computers. (the players were upstairs. cats and I were casting from a table in front of a big screen that displayed the game) One week after that LAN I flew to Korea.

evoli: Now you’re big time; you’re living in South Korea, which many still consider the Starcraft Mecca, casting Starcraft professionally for the GSL. What’s it feel like to be casting one the most prestigious Starcraft 2 leagues on the planet? Furthermore how did you react when you found out that you were one of the casters that GOM had hired? I can only imagine what it must have been like when you read the email and found out you had been selected.

Doa: Honestly it feels like an alternate reality or something. It still feels too amazing to be true. When I started getting really into casting I’d joke with my friends that I’d be casting the GSL someday and now here I am. There’s a certain amount of pressure involved as well since people have such high expectations (and they should), but it doesn’t really affect me. I can only be myself and cast with my style and hope people like it.
Getting that email from John is actually kind of an embarrassing story. lol. I keep my smartphone by my bed and use it as an alarm clock as well. So picture this: I’ve just been woken up by my alarm. I grab my phone to turn it off and… oh. I’ve got an email. Oh.. It’s from John the Translator and he wants me to come and cast GSL. That’s nice. (At this point I’m still 75% asleep.) Wait… WHAT? THIS CAN’T BE REAL ASKDJLSADJljdaklas!!! I jump out of bed and re-read it on my computer. I’m thinking “No way. I’m nobody. This must be a scam. (still mostly asleep) But it might be real… but I need to be sure! (and here’s where it gets really embarrassing) I kid you not. I actually sent an email to the Handsome Nerd contact email to ask if it was legit or not. About an hour later when I woke up and realized that the likelihood of someone impersonating John the Translator to scam GSL applicants is pretty low. I felt like a moron, but everything worked out ok. Artosis even kindly replied and confirmed it. Just goes to show you shouldn’t check your email until you’re fully awake! You’ll do stupid things otherwise. So yeah. There was a good amount of disbelief when I got the email.

evoli: If I’m not mistaken you have a wife back in the states. I’m sure it must be difficult for both of you to be apart from one another. How does your wife feel about your pursuing such an unconventional career and traveling half way around the world to work?

Doa: It’s tough, but she knows how important it is to me. We still talk nearly every day over Skype or Bnet, but I still can’t wait to see her again in a few weeks. I’m just really lucky I’m married to someone who’s brave enough to go after an awesome fun life with me instead of a normal, safe, boring life. She’s actually a very talented (award winning even) producer, editor, director so she and I have already begun brainstorming about some pretty awesome content we’ll be working on once I get home. We’ve both got some history in sports broadcasting so we’re hoping to be able to apply that to a career in eSports.

evoli: Besides the separation between you and your wife, what has been hardest part about living in Korea? I know moving is never the easiest thing to do, and you were thrown into a completely different culture on the other side of the planet and you were expected to get down to work right away. Are there any particular things you miss or anything that was remarkably hard to get accustomed to?

Doa: I miss Root Beer, lol. I know there must be some here somewhere, but I haven’t found it yet. The language has been a challenge to learn, but I can get around most places on my own now at least. The hardest part has really been learning the business side of eSports. I’m certainly not much of a businessman so I’m struggling a bit there. All I want to do is keep casting!

evoli: On a more positive note, what have you really enjoyed about Korea?

Doa: Pretty much everything. It’s a great country! The culture is extremely polite and friendly. It actually reminds me a lot of my home in Minnesota. I’ll definitely miss the food quite a bit when I leave, as well. I’m actually trying to learn to cook some myself so I can keep making it back home. I actually love cooking.

evoli: I get conflicting stories all the time about how popular Starcraft 2 is in Korea; sometimes I hear that Starcraft 2 is really picking up traction and other times I hear that Broodwar is still miles ahead in terms of support. Is the Korean Starcraft 2 scene everything that you imagined it would be? To follow up, how do you think the Korean Starcraft 2 scene compares to the American Starcraft 2 scene in terms of fan base?

Doa: SC1 is definitely still huge here and that shouldn’t surprise nor worry anyone. They’ve been watching it for over a decade! I’ve heard there was also some untrue bad press about SC2 that was circulated before its launch that may be holding some people back as well, although I didn’t see it myself so don’t take my word as fact. I do know that a lot of players are seeing that there’s a lot more money to be made playing SC2 now and I’ve seen more fans coming to the studio almost every week. SC2 is the future and everyone, and I mean everyone, knows this. There’s kind of a misconception out there right now that you have to choose between the two. I’m still a BW fan and I also cast GSL. The transition will take a year or two and that’s perfectly fine. On the American side it really seems like right now we’ve got a bigger SC2 fan base than Korea does, which I think is great! I told my family that SC2 was going to explode around the globe this year and I’m glad to say that so far that’s been totally true. As far as the fans themselves go; they’re the same everywhere. A sports fan is a sports fan!

evoli: We’ve compared the fan base between regions, now I’d like to compare players between regions. I know you regularly laddered on the North American server before you left, and I know you’ve been laddering a bit on the Korean server since you showed up in Seoul. What do you think about the skill difference between the average Korean player and the average North American player? Is the Korean ladder any more difficult than the North American ladder?

Doa: The Korean ladder is much more difficult. Gold in Korea is Diamond on NA. I’ve been trying to figure out why that is. I honestly don’t know. I suspect that the main reasons are that a lot of these players in Korea grew up watching and playing SC1 and already have a solid background in their mechanics that a lot of players in NA lack because SC2 is their first RTS and don’t regularly watch pro-play. Another factor might be time. In Korean culture most kids live with their parents until they’re married. They don’t need as much income from jobs, etc and that gives them more time to play. All this is just speculation though. It’s a rather entertaining mystery actually. This isn’t a criticism of the NA ladder or anything either. It’s just an observation of differences.

evoli: If I remember correctly, GOMTV said they were cycling through their Code-A casters. What are you currently planning to do when your stint with the GSL is up or put on hold? There have been a ton of leagues launched since you left the states, so I’m sure finding more casting work shouldn’t be too difficult if you were interested in continuing to cast professionally.

Doa: I’d love to keep casting professionally after my stay here is over! Esports is my life now. Someone could look at what I’ve done here in Korea and say it was a nice break from “the real world”, but I see it as the first step in what I’ll be doing full time now. Even if I do end up needing a job to make ends meet, my focus will still be on casting. I’ve been looking for casting opportunities in NA already and I’ll continue to do so once I get back.

evoli: Speaking of all the tournaments popping up, what is your current spectating schedule like? We’ve been extremely lucky with all the boom in content lately, but it’s gotten to the point where most people, unfortunately, can no longer watch each and every event as they occur. Are there any tournaments or weekly shows that you do your best to watch in addition to the GSL games?

Doa: I always watch the TSL and I keep up to date on the NASL and IPL as well. Luckily, I’ve got enough time to watch everything at the moment. I haven’t watched as much Day9 as I used to though, which has been a bummer. I feel like the Day[9] Daily was the milk that sustained me in my esports infancy.
evoli: Alright Doa, we’re going to wrap this up with a little a bit of real talk. These are going to be shorter questions, but I still want you to pour your heart out. Alright, real talk: What’s your favorite Korean pro team?

Doa: Ha. Torch would be mad if I didn’t say Startale and I do like a lot of those guys, but right now I’m watching SlayerS. They’ve got a ton of new talent and I’m curious to see where their guys will end up.
evoli: Real talk: What’s the best game you’ve ever cast?

Doa: Boxer vs Avenge game 3. Moletrap. Nukes. End of story. There was a Bo3 at the St. Louis LAN between two payers named Hunger and Kencorp that were a ton of fun as well. Anyone who’s seen those knows what I’m talking about.

evoli: Real talk: What’s your favorite match up to cast?

Doa: TvP right now. Both races have a ton of different legit strats they can do.

evoli: You’ve been known to tell a silly joke or two during games. Real talk: Of all your cheesy jokes you’ve told while casting GSL, which one was your favorite?

Doa: lol. Oh man… I don’t even remember most of those jokes after I make them. I like referencing old cartoons and games I loved as a kid since it makes me feel all warm and happy inside. I heard the Facebook status one about the Stalker dying was popular? Honestly I just say whatever comes to mind.

evoli: Realest talk: Do you prefer Kelly or Moletrap more as a co-caster?

Doa: That’s like making me pick between Dinosaurs and Ninjas. Which is cooler? How can anyone make that choice?

evoli: And I always like to finish things up with a real gentleman’s question. Real talk: What is your favorite alcohol beverage?

Doa: Ah. I enjoy a nice Whiskey on the Rocks. Blackberry Brandy if I’m feeling saucy.

evoli: Alright, well that will do it. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us here at, Doa. We appreciate it tons. Any last words or shout outs before I let you go?

Doa: Huge thanks to my lovely wife of course! Thank you as well to everyone that I cast with before now. It was a ton of fun. Thanks to Dan and Nick for being incredibly helpful and to everyone at GOMtv for the huge opportunity!

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