Casting 101: Ways to start casting

Fri 20th May 2016 - 10:53am General

Multiplayer Online Battle Arena

I'm sure you all know what a MOBA is but for the sake of professionalism I have thrown it out there for you! Similar to going through the convoluted way of explaining the header, casting MOBA's can be the same way. The key parts of casting a MOBA are:

  1. Know your strength of Analysis or play by play
    • Being able to analyze the game means that you know the most, if not all of what the items do in your specific game. Make sure that you know the most up to date builds and comps in the game. When the game is in a lull because of backing, farming, or a fight is ending then it is the perfect opportunity to step in and explain what happened and why it did or did not go well.
    • Play by play comes easier to some more than others. For my time casting SMITE, it developed purely from the hype of the fight. It comes with knowing what is going on and also taking your viewer through a scaling excitement until the fight reaches it peak point where ultis are flying, and teammates are dropping like flies. This abilitiy comes fairly easily to people who can speak quickly, but when you go through that first part of even make your own heart race because of the fight is an amazing feeling. If you want to get better at play by play, it is pure practice. Find VODS on twitch, youtube, etc. and just go to the main fights. Start from the beginning and make sure you realize what is happening at each portion of the map to correctly identify where the fight is going to break out.
  2. Don't be afraid to slow down or pause
    • As a beginning caster, I was naturally nervous. There will be a number of people watching, but they understand if you slip up. Smaller crowds are much more forgiving as it is probably just the players wanting to watch themselves. Speak at a slow pace so that the brain and keep up with the mouth. This is very important because once the mouth loses it's paces, Uhms and You know's begin to come out with can be quite repeptive and ruin the experience for the viewer. Though, make sure there is a good tempo so that the co-caster knows when an analysis is at a complete stop. It gives them the ability to being their part as well as you to take a breath and think about what to discuss next. 
  3. Trust the co-caster
    • Whoever is the partner in crime for the tournament, match, etc. they're there to help you succeed. It is in both casters best interest to have not just a match analysis, but a conversation. The best way to create this is to turn off the stream, close the page, and just talk. Make sure there isn't white noise, but create a lovely conversation with the co-caster. If you are curious as to why someone may have gone for a build, or made a specific play then don't be afraid to ask and play off each other.

Fight Games

Fighting games are one of the most exciting and action packed genres to watch. Matches happen within minutes and it is extremely fast paced. This also can be some of the most entertaining shoutcasting/plays to watch. The players might have been stuck to a game since their childhood as well as the caster and it provides an amazing spectacle of almost childhood excitement and furosity.

  1. Study the characters
    • By "study the characters" I don't just mean know the basic kit for each person in a game. It is important for fighting games especially, to know the matchups between two characters. Matching someone such as Dhalsim vs Zangief can be quite the matchup. Dhalsim, being an extremely long range fighter and Zangief, who wants to powerbomb his opposition through the center of the Earth. The various combos used to counter can make all the difference in a match, and you as a caster want to known what is going to happen beforehand. The audience might not know each frame that a move has and how to utilize a ledge grab; so if you can inform them it allows the viewer to be up to speed and enjoy your cast so much more.
  2. Study the players
    • Moreso than the game characters, study the players. Especially when casting lower level games it might be difficult to find a playstyle but once it has been revealed to yourself and everyone else watching, it is very interesting to find out how the opposing player can counteract the aggression. If enough knowledge is learned about a specific player, it gives you the chance to look at the perspective of the other gamer in the situation. How should they fight this out and what character might be the most suitable for them?
  3. Practice speaking quickly
    • The fighting genre, of all genres is the fastest paced; because of this it is highly critical that the caster can keep up with the match. There is no need to freak out about every little hit, but when players are lining up for big combos a lot can happen at once, so be prepared. To practice this, a caster can just go one round at a time through games. 

 First Person Shooters

 First person are the most "tactical" of game genres. By that, I mean there is really no way to counter build the enemy, but simply outskill them. This requires knowledge of map chokepoints and strong team cohesion to follow up and trust what everyone has learned in scrims.

  1. Know the maps
    • Practice and knowledge about the map can win or lose a game. This is exceptionally important for the commentary to know about it because of the various chokepoints where high activity can occur during the game. Once again, knowing about these can help provide analysis and extra hype to the cast which is always greatly appreciated by both the co-caster and the audience.
  2. Be prepared for a long day
    • FPS Leagues often run extremely long, not that it isn't the case for anything else but many things can happen and it is important that the casters take care of themselves. Make sure your voice is will strechted like anything else, and they there is water; maybe in some nice tea and honey for yourself. There is nothing worse than a dry throat and coughing in the middle of a match.
  3. Expect anything
    •  Lastly, this genre of games is probably the most volatile and unpredictable to find who the victor will be. Matches might be completely one-sided or extremely surprising. The important thing to take away from the surprise is to help the audience be surprised as well. They might be in awe, you might be in awe, keep the hype going. Replays might be a capability; but if not then summarize and get ready for the next heartpounding match.

I hope that you guys enjoyed this little snipit of what it is to cast Esports. This can be an extremely fun, and very educational experience for anyone who participates. It gives the sense of production as a whole and can help the caster articulate themselves outside of the matches. Just make sure to keep these last things in mind. Know the game inside and out, You have friends there for you in case anything goes wrong, and practice practice practice. Get out there and bring the hype to the people.



Blaine Bell