While watching the League of Legends (LoL) Championship Series (LCS) I saw a familiar face, one I’m sure all of you have seen. Trevor "qu1ksh0t" Henry was sitting at the shoutcasting desk.
Joe Miller and Trevor 'qu1ksh0t' Henry
Most of you will remember Trevor "qu1ksh0t" Henry from his Call of Duty 4 (COD4) Telkom Do Gaming League (DGL) days. So I decided now was as good a time as any to interview an ex-Do Gaming player on the international scene.
Do Gaming (DG): How did you get into shoutcasting?
Henry: I was working as a community manager in Berlin and one of the ladies I worked with noticed my love for competitive League of Legends. She mentioned her boyfriend was interested in looking for new blood to try out casting and thought I might fit the bill. So I gave it a shot, tried my hands at casting weekly Go4LoL tournaments hosted by the ESL and with regular content I started to get noticed and asked to shoutcast bigger events with larger prize pools and professional teams.
DG: What interested you in shoutcasting for LoL?
Henry: After I stopped playing Call of Duty 4, I was introduced to League by my brother Greg (aka n0rseman). He taught me the basics and I immediately fell in love with the game. After playing thousands of games online and watching every single pro tournament from its Pre-season one it was a natural progression for me.
DG: Have you shoutcasted any other games?
Henry: I have had the pleasure of shoutcasting Shootmania for the Cyberathlete Summit which took place in Paris of last year, and I have a fairly good track record as far as playing competitive COD4 back in the DGL. But outside of the odd TeamSpeak cast for COD, League has been my only real focus for casting.
DG: What is your favourite game?
Henry: I come from a PlayStation background before computer games, so I remember Final Fantasy 8 really fondly. On PC though, Call of Duty 4 Promod and League are really my most played, and far and away my favourite games.
DG: What is working for Riot like?
Henry: Riot is a really awesome company to work for. I only joined the team at the beginning of the year. Riot has simply exploded as far as growth is concerned and they are expanding all around the globe. It is really exciting to be part of such a fast moving company, and one where the higher ups actually have a true passion for their own product. It is really refreshing.
DG: With the LCS underway, who do you feel will be top?
Henry: With only two weeks having passed, I think it is way too early to start making predictions. But I can say that Evil Geniuses are looking insanely strong right now, they have shown diversity in their champion pool and a clear drive to win. I think many teams are looking to them as the lead dog.
DG: Do you think gaming in South Africa will reach that level any time soon?
Henry: I think competitive gaming is at a really high level already. But the inability to practise and train on equal footing against European or American teams hinders further growth. We have a fairly good track record when it comes to pro teams and players, from FPS to MOBA to RTS we have names that have held their own on the international circuit with very limited exposure to it.
DG: Is there any advice you can give to the South African hopefuls with regards to the game?
Henry: The best piece of advice I can give to any player is to step away from the game and think about it. If you want to improve your own performance, or your team performance, then put some space between you and all the action and analyse and measure what went wrong, what can you try differently etc. Theory crafting is far and away the most successful way to understanding everything from champion interaction, to ability usage, to item purchases. And if you have a clearly thought out plan, you always have an advantage in any situation.
DG: What does it take to become a shoutcaster for LoL?
Henry: This is a tough question to answer because there are so many variables. To be a shoutcaster, you need to be able to convey feelings, emotion and excitement through your voice. You need to be able to talk to thousands of people without being impersonal. But you need to avoid being so specific that you alienate thousands. It is a tricky balance and it is very hit and miss. Sometimes people like your accent and your style and sometimes people don’t. You just need to find your niche, find your stride and keep casting to the people that enjoy your work.
DG: In your opinion, is there any way the South African community can become more well known within an international context?
Henry:I guess the only real way to get noticed is to either compete in the international circuit more, or host events to attract international teams. We have had little dabbles with it in the past like I mentioned earlier. Teams and players from SA have travelled abroad and we have brought teams and players to South Africa. Names like Fatal1ty and Spart1e have visited our shores alongside SK Gaming’s Counter-Strike 1.6 team, PMS etc.
I think it is really hard to grow internationally because of the constraints, bandwidth, connectivity, latency to international servers etc. On top of all of that you have travel costs and security issues related with travelling to South Africa or flying to Europe for bigger events.
I think as eSports continues to grow and develop internationally, as more investment is pumped into the market and there is a better return on investments (ROI) for investors, you will find there is more room for counties like South Africa to get involved. Once people can have a reliable ROI you will find that growth will happen naturally. It is just a matter of time and finding the right way to integrate SA eSports into the global market and competitive scene.
I would like to thank Trevor "qu1ksh0t" Henry for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for us.