This is a series of interviews on the intrepid individuals behind the scenes of eSports, on how they get to where they are today, and what advice they have for those seeking to enter the scene.
Everyone who is anyone on the Overwatch scene in Singapore will have seen, if not heard of Deitrich “Lorec” Mohan. Starting off the year with a bang as the host for GameStart Asia, Mohan went on to host numerous other gaming events, with a strong emphasis on bringing the Overwatch community together. 2016 has undoubtedly been a breakout year for Mohan.
Mohan has been a host of sports event with over seven years of experience, before deciding to take the plunge and apply his skills to his passion: video games. He set his sights on becoming the host for GameStart Asia since its launch in 2014, working hard to make a name for himself in the gaming community by steadily accumulating a portfolio hosting other gaming events. Hard work pays off, and Mohan finally secured the gig in 2016.
“I felt that barely anyone had the closed beta access to play Overwatch this early on like me, so why not use this opportunity to host community events so that people can try the game out? They might discover that this game is actually quite badass, and they have a head start knowing about it.”
A huge milestone was the second LAN gathering for Overwatch in February 2016 which Mohan helped organized.
“We had every single early adopters of Overwatch, people from the Overwatch Singapore group, and even the FPS players from other games gather at Clique Gaming for the event. It’s good to see players coming out to know each other; two to three teams were formed just from the event itself.”
The community coming together, forming teams, having fun; this is best end-game Mohan wants.
A Gamer Who Hosts:
Mohan’s charisma comes from him being able to bring the crowd together because he’s the same as them.
“I’m a gamer just like them. This is how I push myself out, letting the audience know I’m not just a random host who did some homework and read up on the things I’m presenting. I technically don’t have to any homework because I actually have played the games or at least have some exposure to it.”
“Hosting is a very difficult job to do. It’s about self-reflection. You need to have friends to watch you host so they can see how you carry yourself, tell you whether you articulate well, dress well, look well, sound well and connect with the crowd; it’s a full package.”
Mohan emphasizes self-reflection in casting as well, something which he does whenever he has the chance to.
“The caster needs to focus on keeping the game refreshing and fun for the audience, and for non-gamers to understand. The role of the host, however, is to hold the crowd together, keep them engaged, keep them hyped up.”
Mohan feels that Singapore eSports competitors lack two things: a team infrastructure; and players’ time and effort.
“Korean teams have a full team lineup, there’s team manager, social media marketing, engagement marketing, coach, and of course the team players themselves. There are even teams with psychiatrist to keep the mental state of the team healthy. I’ve also heard that Titans even had a dietitian to aid the team in physical health when they are overseas.”
“Over here, the manager is part of the roster, the coach is part of the roster; basically the team is running by itself, and it shouldn’t be the case because the team can’t focus on winning games, and that’s what the team is supposed to do.”
Teams need discipline to fix schedules to scrim and practice together, and promote consistently in order to make sponsors feel that you are worth investing.
“Everyone’s trying to look for sponsors first, then try to win something. No, it doesn’t work that way. You should win something, continuously work on your marketing, engaging people with content, be it with VODs or daily social media; all these minute things make people follow you. Once you have numbers, you can prove your worth to sponsors.”
Singapore does not lack of talent when it comes to eSports. Having top tier players reigning in the Southeast Asia region in numerous games, Mohan says to look further instead of just the next local tournament.
“If you don’t have much time to practice but want to compete, yes, it’s understandable that you just want to win a local tournament, however, if you really want to be a pro, are you willing to be like Koreans, practicing at least 6 hours every single day, putting in the man hours in honing your gaming skills?”
eSports Hosting and Casting:
“If you want to be an eSports caster, work on yourself, do a lot of homework. Look at how the world’s best casters are doing.”
Artosis is one of the casters that Mohan looks up to.
“He can make ANY game entertaining to watch. He casts so many games, like Hearthstone, Starcraft, Heroes of the Storm, and still sound so good; there must be something he’s doing right.”
Emulating top tier casters is another way to learn. Grubby from Heroes of the Storm is another example.
“Whenever he says something, he’s so right, and he says things so concise and clear that anybody who watches knows where he’s coming from.” It is good to be concise and informative.
Or you can be a color caster like Amaz from Hearthstone.
“He’s sounds funny and silly but yet he doesn’t sound stupid.”
Opportunities are hard to come by as there are only a certain number of eSports events all year round.
“You can only hope for the opportunity to come, but when it does, make the best out of it and don’t give it up.”
The same thing could be applied to hosting.
“Hosting can be tough, unless you do other events that are out of gaming for experience, but if you can do it, sure! You need to put effort, and watch others do it: how they articulate themselves, how they carry themselves, and how to keep the crowd entertained.”
“Lastly, ANYBODY who wants to get into the gaming industry MUST realize that it’s not a cushie job, it’s not something you can be and immediately start getting into it.”
“Don’t do your job just because it’s a job. Do your job and more than what is ask of you because you can do it, do your best and improve.”
*Interview by Cheryl “Froyder” Yong, edited by Yata