Winter Is Here

14 April 2016

Think traditional sports like football or badminton are the only ones with fans hanging on to the words of commentators? Think again. DOTA 2 shoutcasters have their own loyal following who value every word they have to say about the game being played. We meet Winter, one of Malaysia’s most famous shoutcasters.

What started as a custom game on a platform already well-known to the gaming community, Defense of the Ancients, or commonly know as DOTA, has reached soaring heights in both recognition and total amount of players worldwide. DOTA also gave meaning to what is called MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena). It’s been a decade since the first map was established and since then it has gone through numerous changes and patches and even better graphics have been delivered, made possible by Valve within the Steam gaming platform. Hence the birth of DOTA 2, a graphic enhancement but at its very core, the same beautiful game everyone fell in love with.

Since its launch in 2011, DOTA 2 has advanced in ways beyond reckoning worldwide. Malaysia has been a part of the growth from the very beginning and one player in particular, comes to mind: Chan Litt Bin, or more famously known as Winter. Winter has been a player since DOTA was introduced and has since moved on to DOTA 2 where he grew in fame as both a player and as a leader who is able to read the game, which is a rare trait among players. Known for his calm demeanor even under extreme pressure (as DOTA 2 is a fast-paced game requiring incredible focus and mechanical gameplay), he is now most well known for being an analyst’s caster under Beyond the Summit (BTS).

In this capacity, to understand shoutcasting and growth of DOTA, there is no better candidate than Winter himself. He has been part of numerous major DOTA 2 tournaments and continues to be play an essential role as part of a panel of casters, mainly for his insight of the game. DOTA 2 casting world was brought to life by Twitch, and has been the favoured platform for BTS and its game streaming cast of tournaments.

Winter just got back from Shanghai Major when he was interviewed; Shanghai Major is a mini-tournament that leads up to The International, which will mark its sixth year in 2016. The tournament is considered as the World Cup of DOTA 2; the prize pool in 2015 was a whopping $18,429,613, which by far is the biggest prize pool for an e-sport tournament to date.

Winter, a man who believes that through hard work anything is possible, believes in six pillars of strength:

  1. Never give-up.
  2. Winners win because they never quit.
  3. Continue to strive hard no matter how far and how hard the goal.
  4. Perseverance is one of the keys to success.
  5. Be passionate about what you do.
  6. Believe in yourself.

He continues to hold on to these beliefs and strives for success in the relatively new e-sports scene. Winter, on his views of the current e-sport scene in Malaysia and as a caster, says that there is room for growth; given the evidence in the Western and Chinese e-sports industry where it has become a properly acknowledged sport. The only thing that worries him is the lack of government support, and companies who wish to grow the e-sport scene must forego the idea of making a quick buck and focus on sustainability and longevity, as it was reported recently that the failure of a local tournament had downgraded Malaysia in terms of quality in preparation for an e-sport tournament, compared to our counterparts such as the Philippines. He continues to say that even as for talent in Malaysia, we are well known with the likes of rising stars Mushi, Yamateh and Ohaiyo; thus it is the same challenges as players in conventional sports face – the lack of proper mentality and dedication is the number one factor in not being able to push through to the professional scene.

As for the casting scene, it is fairly new in Malaysia and a lot of work is still required for a proper studio to be set up in Malaysia, with no real funding on the horizon. As of now, Winter is the only caster from Malaysia who has travelled to numerous tournaments thanks to his knowledge of the game. He further states that although DOTA is merely a game, it has helped him in ways he could never have imagined; from hand-eye coordination, strategy and discipline. He also says it has helped him be more confident, and during his time as a caster has made him a professional who has come to view DOTA as a job that he loves doing.

The final question of the day was, if he was given a choice to play or cast which would he choose? His reply was that he would choose the former. With a smile, he explains, “My passion has always been to play DOTA and that has never changed.”

By Syafeeq Ramli

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