Triumph: “Being fun to watch is what’s most important!”
Davir Rutter, or TriumphofMan (or shortened, Triumph), as he likes to go by in the gaming community, is an acclaimed Dota 2 shoutcaster who has taken part in covering several large-scale professional events, including The International 2. He was also the official caster for our own tournament, The Premier League Season 3.
To get back in touch find out more about him, we caught up with the man and asked him a couple of questions. You can read his answers on numerous topics in the section below.
Hello Triumph and thanks for agreeing to this interview. Let’s get right into it with the most obvious question here – how did you get into casting? Did you even make a conscious decision about it or was it something that “just happened”?
DR: Hello and thanks for having me! It was a gradual process. A friend of mine got me into it and as I became more involved I wanted to sound clearer and gradually started improving my equipment.
Do you remember what was the first tournament or event you casted for?
DR: I actually started off casting a a small CSS league. The first Dota 2 related tournament that anybody probably remembers me from is the Gigabyte Dota Masters on BTS.
Considering you are from Australia (the home of many Dota 2 casting talents), has this enabled you to get through faster? And how much does networking help in such cases?
DR: Knowing people helps. Really, really, really, helps. I cannot stress that enough.
What are some of the main criteria that make a good caster, in your opinion?
DR: The most important characteristics in casting would be: entertaining, coherent, comprehendible and knowledgeable, in that order. Being knowledgeable is definitely a plus but as long as you’re fun to watch you’ll get an audience.You don’t even need to be completely coherent. You have no idea how much it eats me up inside that I’ll never be as naturally sidesplitting hilarious as two SEA guys casting in broken English.
Talking about TI2 and your role there, where and how did Valve approach you for the job?
DR: Sheever and I were re-broadcasting matches that had no English casters, over Twitch. I was casting with Absolute Legends at the time and Valve got in touch with them.
Were they satisfied with your performance and, perhaps more importantly, were you?
DR: I’ll be honest I wasn’t very satisfied with the casts and this is because Sheever and I were requested to cast together as a pair by Valve. This isn’t a dig at Sheever by the way, I think she’s great. The problem was having literally never spoken to one another before that moment we had no synchronization and neither of us complimented the other particularly well in style.
I believe both Sheever and myself benefit the most when paired with a co-caster that has a very deep level of knowledge of the game to make up for our own gaps, so naturally we neither of us could really help the other out much. People have often asked me why don’t I try to cast with Tobi and it’s for the same reason, we’re too similar and wouldn’t produce a good cast.
Did you go to Seattle and if yes, how was it there for you?
DR: Sheever and I were casting from our respective homes during the preliminary rounds. I didn’t actually physically attend TI2.
Here’s a not-so-serious question: did you ever have serious attempts at playing competitive instead of just casting it? You know, just in case the recently shuffling teams’ managers are reading this (in which case feel free to mention your desired role).
DR: I’m under no delusions of my abilities. I’m not good enough to play at that level. I can be the stand in guy when a team is throwing the game to make it interesting.
With your relatively decent experience as a professional commentator, what would you change or add that could enhance the whole spectator-caster experience? In any context, but especially in regards to the development of eSports.
DR: In my opinion the biggest issue with the competitive scene is that outside of China it’s all unstable as hell. I honestly believe the root of the problem is money. Given enough cash flowing amongst the various parties involved in Dota 2 esports things will stabilise on their own.
Do you have ideas on how to make this happen?
DR: Granted I don’t know what Valve’s books look like or how vital this income is to them, but purely based on growing the esports scene I believe if we’re going to try a quick fix, and if Valve really is serious about growing the competitive community they need to cut back hard on the amount they’re taking on each league ticket sale. I won’t give specific numbers but I’ll tell you this from what I hear it’s well over the 50% mark. I’d want to see their cut dialed back to closer to what they skim on trade market sales.
So basically, you’re all up for the tournaments to get extra money. That’s not a bad thing (from an entirely subjective viewpoint, though, given the web home of this article), but how do you see this money invested further, in the context of how broad the problem seems to be?
DR: Put it in the player’s pocket. Not as extra prize money, no, prizes for placing are a bonus. If America and Europe are to be given a real chance at competing with Asia their playing field needs to be levelled. How can you possibly hope to train and practice everyday when you have to question are you even going to earn enough to feed yourself? Pay your rent? If a team is invited to play in a league or tournament they earn a guaranteed payment. I speculate that with the ticket sales on TPL S4 if Valve dialed back their cut on the tickets TPL could very well afford to pay each team a lump sum of $2.5-$3k each. How much a league could afford to pay teams would naturally be based on their size and prestige, bigger leagues naturally attracting more sales.
That’s not at all inconsiderable. If you had a decent team that was entertaining and consistently booking league gigs you’d have a guaranteed source of income. If you make a placing position then great you earned a bonus however the main thing is to have a stable, reliable, source of income. It would give players a much better chance of being able to create an environment where they can dedicate more time to the game itself and focus on improving.
Well, those are some very interesting thoughts. From what I’ve understood, the tournaments themselves should be the glue that holds it all together?
DR: Yes, but anyway that’s my pipe dream. I’m not even 100% sure it’s possible but I’d very much like something along those lines to happen.
In either case, everyone having to do something with Dota 2 and eSports would like nothing more than a stabilized scene, that’s for certain. Just before we wrap it up, let’s get back to casting a little bit. Could you tell us what’s the biggest nuisance for you in general when you’re doing official games?
DR: Well, the Australian Internet is *** terrible. And overpriced!
Is that part of the reason you aren’t casting currently? A lot of people seem to be interested in why you’re not as present recently.
DR: That, and the fact that I’m busy with some real life obligations, moving to another house, and stuff like that.
Alright, well we hope you resolve those quickly and get back to what you do best, as soon as possible! Thanks again for your time and good luck in the future with your career.
DR: Thank you!