23 Jul 2012

Debate about casters

It's obvious that there's been a growing tendency among many StarCraft 2 players (professionals as well as amateurs) to criticize casters for not being analytically competent enough. Personally we believe that this discussion is crucial to the community, but that this specific viewpoint is in some ways very damaging to the development of the game.
Basically we believe that many of these players aren't seeing the big picture, and that it's important that they do. Especially all the professional players out there because their voices are heard the loudest.

We believe StarCraft 2 can be watched by anyone. This game is brilliant entertainment and this is of course primarily due to the numerous great strategic aspects of the game.
However if the game is to become mainstream entertainment then the casters have a central role to play. And even though it's important that the casters know a lot about the game and all the constant strategy developments and so forth, we believe that it's just as important that the casters show charisma and great sense of humor.
The reason for this is that StarCraft 2 will not, and should not have millions of professional gamers. However it could and should have millions of viewers. And most of these viewers will not, and should not be experts in the game. So in order to catch the attention of all these people it's essential that the casters aren't F-king boring or pretentious. No matter how strategically competent they are.

That's also why we feel that casters shouldn't be trying to impress the professionals that are watching but instead aim to entertain everyone else. This is truly how StarCraft 2 can be spread to everyone.

The way we got really hooked on watching competitive Starcraft 2 was when we by chance saw a GSL final casted by Tastosis in early 2011. At the time we didn't know much about the game except what we had learned from playing it on the ladder (which means nothing).
What got us hooked was of course the impressive stuff that the players were doing. But more than that, is was the enthusiasm and humor that Artosis and Tasteless constantly expressed.
It felt so unique the way that they were able to illustrate beautiful strategic maneuvers, and at the same time talk about all kinds of random shit that was funny in so many ways.
Since then we have watched pretty much every game that Tastosis has casted, plus of course a ton of other games from tournaments around the world.
By now we are of course deeply interested in the specific strategic developments of the game but we still prefer charismatic casters over the analytical ones.
However, the best casters are of course both charismatic and analytical.

Anyway. If you know A LOT about StarCraft 2 then you will often hear stuff the casters say that you do not agree with. Furthermore you will notice stuff that the casters fail to mention. But viewers who are professionals or expert ought to be a minority. Most viewers (if SC 2 is to become mainstream entertainment) aren't gonna be experts and that's an important fact to remember when judging casters.

We think that many StarCraft 2 casters are so much more talented and entertaining than most other sports commentators, especially when it comes to casting with enthusiasm and personality. And it's important that the community acknowledges that.
The casters are a big part of what makes competitive StarCraft 2 so unique and also what makes it a sport that could be destined for massive success among even the masses sometime in the future.

What we're trying to say is that casters should be judged not only by knowledge of the game but also by the ability to make the game even more entertaining.
It's cool to see the way that StarCraft 2 is getting more and more professional at every event. For instance all the analysis took place at this weekend's MLG Summer Arena really made it seem like a legit and serious sport like football or whatever.
BUT we believe that Starcraft 2 can be much more than that. It can be a sport and a community that manages to constantly shine with magnificent enthusiasm and at the same time express an endless amount of original humor and self irony. 

In our 1 and a half year of watching SC 2 we've heard so many funny comments and jokes by Tastosis, Day 9, Husky or other funny casters, and we will remember many of these comments for years. That's pretty damn awesome and one of the unique aspects that we believe puts Starcraft 2 miles ahead of so many other competitive sports.

That's our opinion anyway. What do you think?

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