Usually teams and players are the main focus of every game or competition. But there’s also someone else that can make or break a match for online stream viewers.
Do you know who we’re talking about? Yes, the caster (or casters). They are the ones in charge of delivering the content in an entertaining and understandable way and spice up the game with their comments.
Recently, we talked with our very own head caster - Luka („m4niac“).
We reflected on his early beginnings as a professional caster, discussed how to become a good caster and also talked about spilled coffee in the middle of the match! Enjoy.
Hi Luka, most of the people know you as a caster for Valiance. Can you tell us how did you get here in the first place?
Sure! It all started after the “Reboot Infogamer November 2016” in Zagreb, I was casting Counter Strike Global Offensive, and I'm sure everyone is familiar with that game. Several weeks after the event, I got a phone call from Antonio (Current Valiance CEO) saying he needed casters for a specific mobile fps game. Turned out it was Critical Ops, and I had little idea about the game but since it is so similar to CSGO I adapted really fast and here I am now, casting the official World League for Critical Ops.
When did you find out that you had the passion for casting?
It all started out as fun, I volunteered for a Croatian CSGO stream to be a caster since they lacked them. That is where I got my experience as a caster, that was going around for 2 years or so and I even cast 3 offline events. I realized that I actually cast better than I play games which kind of sparked my interest in casting even further.
How do you prepare for casting before the event?
It really depends on the game itself. Every game has its own kind of preparation beforehand. The format, importance and the teams attending are also a really huge factor that decides how much I invest in preparation.
But for World League, Petar and I take a few days before the stream itself to research, interview and prepare for the upcoming streams so we have to know the community inside and out. Thankfully we have a lot of wonderful people that know the players much better than us and give us some really valuable information that most of the public doesn't even know.
On the day of the stream, we double check all of the information so we know it is up to date and that everything is in solid order. Then we print it all out and have a stack of around 20 papers on our table at all times so we have A LOT of information throughout the whole stream to keep all of our viewers entertained.
What do you think is the most important trait for someone looking to become a caster and why?
I know it sounds cheesy, but be yourself. A lot of casters love to exaggerate/fake their emotions which is a huge no-no in the casting world since a lot of people can pick it up that you're just faking all of the reactions and you pretty much ruin the experience. I think people out of everything value information the most, something that they otherwise wouldn't be able to find out, you do it for them and in a way educate them. But of course, everyone loves those godlike plays on the screen so a genuine caster reaction alongside that really can spice up the whole moment.
For everyone that wants to cast but are not sure if they can, just go ahead and play a replay of a match and cast over it, you probably won't like the results for the first few times, but after a while, you will notice huge results. Noone is born a caster, it all comes with patience and practice, like everything else in life.
Which two teams do you think are going to face each other in the Grand Finals of Valiance Autumn season, and why?
I would love to see an upset in the regions, meaning that either Asia or South America pass into the finals to just make a bit of chaos in the rankings. It is always fun to see huge upsets. But going with my logic I think we are gonna see Team Elevate against Gankstars once again, both of the teams are well prepared and are putting in a lot of hours in practicing. Gankstars have finally stabilized their roster and had a lot of time to enhance their gameplay so I think the ultimate champions are gonna be Gankstars, but it is gonna be really intense and I expect to see every map being played out.
What is your most memorable/funniest moment since you started casting?
Oh, I had a lot of those. Casting can be a blast, and there can be a lot of awkward moments on or off camera. The most recent one was in this season, I think it was South American groups and I spilled coffee all over the table and on myself while I was casting the game. I think no one noticed except Cezar who was casting next to me, it was so hard to hold my laugh as he was trying his best to compose himself and keep casting as nothing happened. I also spilled a full cup of water on camera in Winter Season (I dare you to find it). If you don't know me that well, I am a very clumsy person and I really like knocking things over.
What advice do you have for people that want to start casting?
Get an okay microphone, nothing too fancy, get a recording software, play a replay of a match and cast over it. Listen to the cast after you finish and write down anything you don't like. Be it the wording you used, not enough emotions or whatever it is, then do the same thing over and over again until you feel like you can go cast in front of people. A lot of dedication is required, but it is not hard to improve as long as you have the right mindset.
Any words for the fans?
I just have to give a huge thank you to everyone that has been supporting us throughout this wonderful year. We had a lot of ups and downs and the community has always been a huge motivating factor for us. I keep saying it in almost every stream and I'll say it again. It will only get better as we move on and you will see some of the most epic tournaments in Critical Ops from us. Also a huge shout out to everyone that has helped Valiance reach this point, a lot of people are working off the screen and they also need a lot of love since nothing would be possible without them.
We would like to thank Luka for this insightful interview and we hope he inspired some of you to try casting a match or two. You can listen to Luka in the upcoming matches and eventy and enjoy the game of C-Ops with him.
For those interested, you can follow him on Twitter at - @valiance_m4niac
And of course don’t miss Valiance Autumn Season playoffs, where Luka and the teams will do their best to bring you some top entertainment and epic moments!