When I first started playing Dota 2, I was like everyone else: a shitty player who got flamed all the time.
Now, instead of getting turned away from this game like any sane person would, I tried to figure out a way to get people to stop flaming me so hard and just work together as a team.
At its core, Dota 2 is a team game; you can’t win a game in Dota 2 without teamwork. So I would make up silly voices or I’d pretend to be my hero in-game and I’d only talk like them.
It was fantastic; people loved it. It made the games so much better to play and people didn’t flame me as hard. Sure, I was still shit at the game but at least we’d enjoy ourselves playing.
I didn’t have any intention of “doing” anything with the stupid voices until a friend of mine encouraged me to record it and put it on YouTube. And then it just kinda exploded from there.
I had heard about this new esports thing and I was immediately fascinated by it and I set myself the insane goal of attending TI4. I set up an Indigo-go and boy did the community really want to see me go to TI4.
So I went to TI4 – funded by this community I had created – and my experience at TI4 blew my mind. I loved Dota, I loved this new esports thing and decided that I had to get invited to the next TI.
So I set myself the next impossible goal of going to TI6. I worked at as many events as people would hire me for and I surprisingly got invited to go to TI6. It was an amazing experience. TI is truly one of the best esports tournaments in the entire world and there I was, getting to do what I love in a stadium filled with people who love the same game as I do.
As amazing as it was, it was also kinda sombre. I had “made it” now, what was I suppose to do next?
I had hit this impossible milestone and I didn’t know what came next. I figured I’d work to come back again for TI7 and then figure out what to do after that.
I motivated myself by figuring out what my short-term ‘what am I going to do’ goal was: my tomorrow ‘what am I going to do’ goal, my end of the month ‘what am I going to do’ goal, and then I’d figure out what my impossible, un-accomplishable goal was.
I made the goal for myself to get back to TI7 and then I’d figure out what comes after that.
Getting invited back to work at TI7 was bittersweet. TI7 wasn’t a world-class event and, as much as it sucked to realize this, it spurred this crazy desire to want to help make TI8 the best esports event in the world.
After the event was over, I set myself the goal of understanding the basics of how to run an esports tournament and what happens behind the scenes. To do that I had to learn how to run my own tournament if I had any chance in hell of actually working for Valve for TI8.
For the first season of the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC), I focused on running events and learning how to make quality tournaments that were entertaining. I created Midas Mode with these goals in mind and boy, did I learn a lot about how freaking complicated organising and running a tournament was.
Along with working on Midas Mode, I helped out with Captain’s Draft to learn more about how a Valve sanctioned event is run. After these two tournaments, I figured I had a good range of experience to send off an application to Valve, in which I practically begged for them to let me help them with TI8.
So I sent this terrible – and I mean terrible – video offer that I was sure was just going to get laughed at and then tossed into the garbage. I mean, in comparison to the guys who work at Valve, I was a nobody but somehow, my application was approved and I got an offer to work with them for five months to help them create content and prep for TI8.
That ‘Valve internship’ as I call it was the best and coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life but taking it was a huge risk. At that point I was doing great; my Twitch steam was going strong, my YouTube was doing great and I was still getting invitations to work at tournaments around the world.
But I took the risk and literally disappeared from the internet for five months, hoping that when I returned, I would still have a fan base afterwards. If it didn’t, I was screwed. It was terrifying.
Still, I took the offer. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to help create the best esports tournament in the world.
Taking that risk was the best decision of my life. Not only did I learn so much about how Valve operated, but suddenly I understood the reasoning behind the decisions that they make for our community.
It’s hard as a fan not to look at some of the decisions Valve has made and just be dumbfounded. But once I started working there, I realized that these people working at Valve are literally the best of the best and they care about the community a lot. Yeah, I might be drinking the Kool-Aid but I think Valve is one of the best companies in the entire world.
Working for Valve you basically find out that there’s a whole other level above anything you thought you could achieve and it honestly, kinda ruined my life.
I was working at the top of my field, at one of the biggest esports tournaments in the world one day and then the next, I was back making lore videos again. We achieved greatness at TI8 and I’m proud of the work I did but now I’m in this refractory period of: what the hell am I going to do now?
I’m still trying to figure out what comes next. TI8 was the best experience of my life. Now I need to figure out what my next impossible goal is.
One of the good things that came out of doing TI8 was that I got to do the Late Show and I got to create material for other people; that’s a really good feeling.
Instead of being the person in front of the camera, I got to build material for others that would make them shine. I think that’s something I want to focus on moving forward but we’ll see.
Whatever happens, I’m sure you’ll still see me in random pub games on Twitch making annoying voices, torturing myself with more Dota.