Ask ten different Dota fans who is their favorite caster, and you’re likely to get answers naming one of two or three unique casters. Ask ten different Dota fans which caster they absolutely cannot stand, and you’re likely to get a variety of impassioned responses. Reddit threads praising or flaming casters tend to attract a ton of comments and heated discussion.
I’m here to make a case for all of them.
Since I got into Dota in 2014, I’ve been through a number of transitions in my life. Between trying to finish up grad school, moving back in with my parents, unemployment, and a cross-country move to a new job, watching Dota matches has been one of the only threads of stability I’ve had to grab on to. Every morning before I went to the university, I used to open up Twitch and see if there were any matches streaming. If there weren’t, I’d watch YouTube uploads of ones I had missed earlier in the week. It became a comforting thing to look forward to each morning – hearing the familiar voices of the casters amidst any chaos that was going on in my life.
I’ve kept this practice going. Now I have a fancy ass TV that streams Twitch for me, but the feeling of comforting familiarity is still there. [On a side note, can someone revive DotaFM so I don’t have to waste data on video streaming while trying to listen to casts on the bus to work?] While I don’t know any of them personally, I can often recognize casters by their voices better than I can recognize friends’ voices.
My point is, while we might have preferences on what qualities we look for in a caster, we can’t deny that they’re all pretty great in their own right for what they tirelessly give to the community. Casters get up at all kinds of odd hours to stream for us and stay awake for long hours to cast long series far outside their time zones. So while you might find ODPixel’s weird noises annoying or Xyclops’ dry humor off-putting*, take a second to acknowledge all the work they do for the fans and for the scene on a whole.
So Casters: Some of you meme too hard. Some of you occasionally flame players a little too much. But all of you are great, no matter what criticisms are levied against you. Lots of game knowledge, room for improvement on game knowledge, much hype, more serious, whatever it be, you’re all awesome. Listen to feedback from fans but be proud of your craft. And thanks – thank you for working hard to break in to casting and thanks for giving up your time to bring us, the fans, a little slice of excitement.
*False, he is hilarious.