Heroes of Newerth is an independent game of the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre, much like Defence of the Ancients, two teams of five battle each other to try and drive back their opponents and destroy the enemy base.
Heroes of Newerth has taken off around the world as a competitive game. HoNcast.com streams live games and replays from the competitive scene.
DreamHoN is a massive multi-regional tournament series officially sponsored by Alienware Arena and set to headline at the world’s largest LAN event, DreamHack Summer 2012. DreamHoN will feature five-man teams from around the globe facing-off for a shot at over $60,000 in prize money.
Teams from North America, Europe, South East Asia (SEA), Oceania, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and Korea will be representing their home territory live at DreamHack Summer 2012 in Jönköping, Sweden June 16th-19th.
Nick ‘Breakycpk’ Caras is an eSports caster and promoter from HoNcast.com. Breaky was good enough to take some time to speak with me last week. We asked him what is in development and what insight he can give to the HoN competitive scene.
Full audio of the interview is available in our YouTube Channel.
Interview with BreakyCPK from HoNcast.com
Daniel: As a man who has pretty much been there from the beginning, when you first started casting HoN matches, did you think it would ever get this big?
Breakycpk: I did, You know, that was a big reason why I got into Heroes of Newerth in the first place was simply because it drew me in not only as a game itself that was fun to play, but also a game that had that spectator side, it had the spectator interface.
The MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) genre with it still very new compared to a lot of others out there. I felt that it really did have a chance to be strong, especially in the eSports scene, I think we are kinda getting to that point.
Is it just HoN?
Daniel: If wiki entries are to be believed, you got into casting as a way to build some more experience as a sports caster. Do you still cast other sports or is it mainly eSports all the time right now?
Breakycpk: I’m pretty much fully dedicated to eSports, I mean you are right, sportscasting is basically something I did and still love to do for that matter. For now, I’m having fun with it, casting Heroes of Newerth and have no reason to be doing anything else. I’m getting by and enjoying it.
Daniel: HoNcast and HoN itself has come a long way, is there much different now?
Breakycpk: It’s funny to think how in two years time, so much can change. A big thing that stands out to me and is funny to look back at, When I first started about two and a half years ago for streaming purposes I was using a program called Livestream Procaster.
A very standard streaming service. Especially compared to nowadays with Xsplit. You would get 500 bit rate which is pretty damn horrible 480p max, you couldn’t even do 720.
Back then, people were still pretty amazed by that, they were like, “holy crap!” I can see what you are doing on your screen in live real time. Now days, if you’re not 1080p, if you’re not live with no lag issues. You get a lot of shit.
Behind the scenes
Daniel: What goes on behind the scenes that fans might not know about. Editing video, advertising, underground grudge matches?
Breakycpk: Latley, there’s things thing called HoN Tour coming up. I’ve been doing my part to get ready for that. On a production level, on a casting level, on a coverage level. We have a studio being built in the works, that’s already been announced. Getting assets made for our eventual coverage for an event like this and other things coming up.
There’s also organising and putting it all together. At the end of the day I like what I do, so I can’t really complain too much.
Daniel: When you make the move to a studio, will you guys need to start wearing suits?
Breakycpk: I wouldn’t mind wearing a suit, I recently bought a suit. We recently went to Vegas, me and a couple of friends so we figured we would look a bit classy and do some suiting up. It’s not like we are going full 100% professional by any means.
The more I realise, you’ve got people like Day is a perfect example, he’s pretty much at the top pinnacle of the eSports casting scene and he’s casual; he cusses every now and then and has fun with it. It got me to realise that you don’t need to be 100% serious mode, you can have fun with it, you can be on the lighter side. I mean, let’s be honest we are casting to a very young crowd and why try and be something you’re not.
What is it about Heroes of Newerth?
Daniel: Your seen as a big promoter of the HoN competitive scene and eSports in general. What makes HoN such a great game to watch at a competitive level.
Breakycpk: For me personally and this tends to be a popular answer, it’s just the fast paced action, how there’s constantly something going on. Out of the three MOBA games, the big ones: League of Legends, DotA 2 and Heroes of Newerth, in my opinion, HoN tends to be the faster paced of the three. It tends to get more kills and it tends to be a little more action-paced.
It’s always entertaining, there’s always something to talk about. There’s plenty of information on the screen plenty of stats to look at. I’m actually a stat freak myself which is always a good thing to have. There’s always something different every single game and I can appreciate that.
Daniel: Talking about stats, have you considered doing a fantasy football style game for the HoN competitive scene?
Breakycpk: It’s funny because I just said, I’m a stat freak myself and I actually play fantasy football every single year. We’ve talked about doing something like that in the past. There actually was a fantasy league for Counter Strike, it was somewhat successful. It gets the community involved it gets them feeling there is a reason to watch every single match and every single player.
I could see it being a very big possibility, but with that said, it would take a lot of work, a lot of organisation and there is just a lot of stats to work with, which could be good and bad in a sense. But with some effort, with some organisation, I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like that working at all.
Daniel: I’ve heard excellent things about the HoNcast community. How else do they get involved? What do they bring to the table?
Breakycpk: Ever since the very beginning it has always been about criticism. Despite what a lot of trolls think, HoNcast has been built off the community, we have constantly taken criticism, we have constantly adapted to changes they’ve suggested both in a casting sense and in a production sense. In the end, it is all about the community, that’s what it comes back to.
Every single podcast: “Shout-out to the community. I love you guys.” Because I really do, I completely understand that without the people tuning in, without the people watching and without the people caring what we do we there would be no point to do this.
Daniel: You’ve been put up on the same pedestal as Duke Nukem and have your own announcer pack. How would I go about getting mine incorporated? Should I make some noise on the forums?
Breakycpk: I was approached to do an announcer pack maybe a year and a half ago, it was a long time ago around when the shop first came out. I didn’t even end up doing it until 5-6 months ago. It took a long time for me to get something like that put it so…
If you want to do stuff like that, make some noise like you said, making your voice heard on the forums. I’m sure they would love that, maybe they’ll do a community thing one day, they’ll choose a random community member and have your voice pack in the game.
HoN Tour, DreamHack and more
Daniel: We’ve been seeing a lot of the It’s Gosu matches over April and March, what other Big Tournaments are coming around this time of year?
Breakycpk: It’s no secret out competitive scene has been in this kind of null state recently for these last couple of months let’s be honest. I think it’s more so because people are banking on this HoN Tour concept. It’s been announced several times, It’s been hyped so much, Phill has obviously been working very hard behind the scenes to just make sure that it is perfect. I can definatley vouch for that he is working very hard behind the scenes to accomplish that. I think when it finally does come out, it will really show for it.
As far as other events, CSN play heroes cup series currently going on. There’s the ESL major series which has been quiet but there is a $5,000 prize pool on that so quite a bit of money there. The Dreamhack summer event coming up. I’m just going to sit here and say, “Maybe expect something soon in the near future to be announced that a lot of people are going to be excited about.”
Daniel: You got to go to DreamHack and cast live in front of a crowd and meet some of the fans. Do you have a favourite tournament?
Breakycpk: The feeling you get from DreamHack, it really gives you a sense of oh my god, what I actually do people care about. It’s one thing to have a viewer count online where you have 5,000-6,000 viewers online, that’s awesome but in a sense it is just a number on a screen. At DreamHack that is a completely different experience.
The three times I’ve been there, It’s been phenominal. Meeting people in person, have them shake my hand. It’s very humbling but awesome at the same time. It really completes the experience, it really fuels you to make you want to do it even more. DreamHack definitely has been the most inspirational and memorable for me no doubt.
Competitive Gaming Down Under
Daniel: Being from Australia I have to root for Frenetic Array any time they play. Do you have a favourite team? Are you even allowed to?
Breakycpk: I always find it funny how, In the past I’ve been told im biased towards Fanatic, towards We Heart Pigs, EG, Fray. I’m aparently biased towards most of the top tier competitive teams. Since I’m not casting now, maybe I can be a little bit more biased. For me, I’m a fan of Frenetic Array as well. I was a fan of their story in the DreamHack Winter event. That was the big question.
How are they going to be able to compete against the international scene on a LAN level. A lot of people were not expecting a whole lot. Obviously they proved everyone wrong and they were really close to taking the whole thing. Fray is definitely an entertaining team I can appreciate getting the chance to cast them. Right now, Fray is the team that stands out.
Daniel: The scene down under is pretty small when compared to other places like North America, but HoN is picking up a fair amount of speed here. Do you think there is a chance for South East Asian matchmaking server becoming available?
Breakycpk: I’ll say this much, I’m not on the business side of things, I’m just a lonely caster. The international scene, it’s been phenominal especially in the South East Asian region, how quickly and rapidly it’s been growing over these last couple of months. It’s constantly expanding, Heroes of Newerth is going international. It’s showing with the player count, it’s showing with the activity.
Garena announced that $166,000 prize pool tournament they have going on for all those events. This game fuels off competition and competitive scene in my opinion. I really think that is what this game is all about. It’s hard to play this game without a competitive mindset. I wouldn’t see why not?
Daniel: Does the meta-game differ much from region to region as I assume there are different strategies developing and picked up.
Breakycpk: Yeah, It’s the same for all games. In my experience in the eSports scene. Coming from Counter Strike is the same way, dealing with South East Asian teams, they were really fast paced, there wasn’t much camping it was just in your face. HoN has that same feel, the majority of my casting comes from the European and North American scene, but I have done some South East Asian I have done some Australian and it is noticeable.
Emerald Warden is a great example. The South East Asian scene really used Emerald Warden a lot in the tournaments we covered. The North American European scene never really heard of using her, but all of a sudden after that tournament, a month down the line Warden started to be picked up everywhere else. Before we know it she became a kind of a core at that time. It is fun to see how regions adapt to one another.
Want to be a caster yourself
Daniel: I’m assuming people ask you for tips all the time. What kind of advice do you give?
Breakycpk: “Just do it.” People think there is some secret formula or a secret class you have to take to become a caster. I just literally downloaded Live Pro caster one day because I was feeling like I wanted to get some experience, I’ll try casting a video game.
I downloaded a program I started up a stream, I had 5 viewers. I was: “Why are people watching?”. You just start doing it. You just got to do it, that’s all it simply comes down to. People that want to get into it, they unfortunately don’t realise that part. Sure enough, if you enjoy doing it you may build up a crowd but you may not, but as long as you enjoy doing it as long as you give it a shot, that’s really what matters.
Daniel: So I’ve set up Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder (FME) and a Twitch account, what next? Do you think starting out solo is a good way, or have someone else to bounce conversation off?
Breakycpk: First off I would suggest getting Xsplit. FME that’s definitely more the old school, I used that for about a year before Xsplit came out. Xsplit makes your life easier, I would recommend getting that first. After that, Just do it on your own, getting a stream going, getting some advertisement on the forums, put some YouTube videos up.
Just trying to get your name out there, whether it’s through the forums, through Reddit. You go from there. You can’t be scared of what people are going to think, you can’t be worried about are people going to like it or not.
Breakycpk: Shout-out to Phill the Thrill, my homie. Shout-out to S2 Games, Shout-out to the community again because I appreciate you guys tuning in. Shout-out to you for doing this interview.