Jake "SirActionSlacks" Kanner on anime, Valve, Tutorial, Community efforts, Arkosh, Midas Mode 3, and more
Catching Jake for an interview certainly wasn’t an easy task. Even though we agreed to chat in advance, we had to postpone the meeting several times. From an outside perspective, it may seem like SirActionSlacks was acting frivolously, as he rarely appears on camera. However, in reality, he watches nearly every match, creates content with the WePlay team, and he even has projects of his own.
I always find Jake eating his breakfast very early in the morning. I can't tell if most people are just experiencing jet lag, but at 9AM, he just sits there alone, eating eggs, scrolling through his feed on his phone.
“I make the omelet guy make me four omelets every day. I feast on those and drink three Red Bulls a day. My kidneys started hurting yesterday though, so today I'm chilling on them. It's my first day off.”
After finishing his meal, Jake immediately launches off to an unknown destination: to the arena, to his room, for an interview, to shoot or record something for the AniMajor production team... In the end, I managed to lie in wait and force Jake to follow me to the table and talk. At first, I was a bit scared, because he looked tired. Tired, but not discouraged. I doubt he ever gets pessimistic about anything, in all honesty.
But despite his very ecstatic and energetic personality, anime isn't something Slacks is used to. He had to adapt to the theme of the event. I just had to ask him about it.
“Dota: Dragon’s Blood on Netflix, yes! What a fantastic anime, produced by Valve Software, go check it out!” - Jake says ironically (or not?), before seriously answering my question.
“I'm not a big anime guy. I don't really have time to watch series, but I do have time to research them. I'm a weird lore nerd. I go to the lore wikis and read up on all of the history and characters and stuff, but I don't have time to watch the episodes. So I know more than I should about anime, but I have a very dark history with anime.”
Anyhow, let’s leave personal stories aside for a moment. WePlay asked Jake to work with them on the AniMajor: content development, stage design, videos, and many other things. As such, he had to spend countless hours studying anime. He needed to match teams and players with famous heroes and anime titles.
“God, there's nothing worse than just reading the entire wiki of Hunter x Hunter, and then moving on to One Punch Man, and just being like, what the f**k am I doing with my life? I'm sorry anime fans out there, but good God… What's wrong with anime? I don't want to offend anybody, but it seems like in every anime, things get really weird. Like one character starts dating another character and then they find out that they're brother or sister; there's always some kind of a tentacle coming up; worst of all, oh yeah, a girl looks 13, but she's actually a 10,000-year-old dragon. F**k off anime people. What the hell is wrong with you guys? Every single anime has one of these characters. Just stop. There's something wrong, okay? You guys need to get help. All of you. The only anime that's legit is JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Just some muscly dudes fighting. Nothing weird. No panty shots out of nowhere. It's just dudes fighting. That's okay. I'm into it.”
However, Jake also had to work with Netflix's animated series Dota: Dragon's Blood. At the start of the promo campaign, he recorded videos with Sheever and ODPixel, promoting the series in the media in every possible way. But few would have thought that the authors learned the world of Dota through LoreGasm videos...
“They were trying to wrap their heads around Dota lore to write it, and this dude shared that he and the entire writers and even the actors watched all the LoreGasms to build the world. So it was really cool to know that a lot of that universe was based on stuff that you thought might be canon, and that's all crazy. So I'm a huge fan of the anime.”
“Should we expect your cameo in the second season?”
“I don't think so [laughs very loudly]. I mean, I think there's definitely a line between the guys that make the anime and then having anything to do with psychopaths like us that play the game. I mean, you gotta live your life. They're trying to make TV shows there. You're not going to hear ODpixel on that anime. You gotta be in the SAG or whatever, that screen actors guild, to get TV show gigs. I mean, they made the Dota universe a living breathing thing for the first time. So that's good enough for me. I don't need any cameos, no.”
Being the guest on the Position6 Podcast, SirActionSlacks said that “Riot is good at marketing their game. But Valve has their thoughts about marketing their product.” This is why I asked him if he thinks that something clicked in Valve’s heads when they decided to release Dragon’s Blood or was it just pure fan service?
“I don't think it did. I think that Valve does not operate under the human condition. They don't think of things like marketing or advertisement or anything like that. I think that somebody thought it would be a neat idea, though I have zero evidence of this. I don't know anything about it. But to me, it feels like someone thought it was a neat idea. And another guy thought it was a neat idea and they let it go. But no, in my opinion, they would never say ‘Let's do marketing’. So yeah, negative on that one. Again, if Riot Games actually had a game that didn't suck, they would be the biggest game developer in human history with how much they spend on marketing and advertising. But it's hard. It's like Overwatch. When you have a game that sucks, that legitimately is shit. And then you have to trick people into playing it. That's so hard. Dota has it so easy. We have the greatest game ever made, but it's some kind of dark secret that we don't want to spread out, which, you know, I don't blame people for. If you get your friend into Dota, you're basically a crack dealer that sold crack to your best friends. That's messed up, man.”
Owen is a legitimate God; best caster in Dota that can make a song in 30 minutes. This guy is everything about sound, man. The guy's a genius.
Generally speaking, the first third of 2021 turned out to be quite saturated for the Dota community. First, of course, the long-awaited Singapore Major. Second, Dragon's Blood. Third, thanks to the anime’s release, something completely unexpected happened: Dota Tutorial was released. Moreover, there were as many as two of them: a modification made by Jake and his team, and the official tutorial made by Valve.
“I actually thought that Valve had zero grasp on what the Dota anime would do. Traditional marketing, putting something out there that might actually show the world what Dota is and get new players to play. Because the thing about Dota for its entire existence is that no one ever got into it without what I call a shepherd, right? Somebody would be like, ‘Hey, this is what you do. This is how you do it.’ And there was never really a need for a tutorial because there was never any marketing, but when the anime was going to drop, I thought, oh my God, someone who's browsing Netflix can see something about Dota for the first time and be like ‘What is this? I’ll check it out.’ And there were just zero resources for that. And yeah, I don’t think that Valve would have any resources for that when the anime came out.
“So that was the whole idea behind it. It was also very interesting to get in touch with Dota's incredible mod community for the first time. These are guys that make custom games and it's such a talented and dedicated group of people that have been burned so many times. It's incredible. It's like the workshop artists: everyone can see a workshop artist and be like, wow, that person has a lot of talent, and there's still a few in the Dota community because they can still make money off it. But these modmakers can just make such incredible things with the limited tools that they are given that break every single patch and they can make such amazing things out of it. And nobody gives them any money. Nobody pays attention to them. And it's a goddamn crime. Dota was a mod. That's how we started. I mean, it's our essence and just being able to let them sink their teeth into something and get paid for it. It was an amazing feeling. I was pretty stupid though, I told everyone I wasn't going to take any money out of that project. And we raised $30,000. So that was pretty stupid, but it felt really good to pay those people. For the love of God, after all that they've done for the Dota community!”
The number one thing that you should do is learn and challenge yourself. And if you're doing the same thing every single day, over and over, you're basically already dead. You have to just keep expanding your skill set because that's what life is, a culmination of experiences.
“Were you disappointed when Valve released their own tutorial?”
“Haha, was I disappointed? No, not at all. I won't lie and say that I don't think that we had a very big influence on making sure that that actually happened. We were contacted during the development of the mod and they said, ‘Hey, we have seen what you guys have been doing, we were also working on some stuff, and let's work together’, which was nice. I think that, well, we'll never have confirmation that the tutorial was what *made* that happen. I feel like it was a pretty big draw to say, 'Okay, look at all these people, they care enough that they want to make one themselves. So maybe it's finally time for us to come out with ours'. So again, no confirmation or anything about this, but I feel like every person that donated to that project, built their time or funded it through the fundraiser, really, really helped make the new player experience thing come to life. I wasn't mad at all. I thought, either way, Dota improves and that's great. Do I look probably a little more stupid? Yeah, sure, maybe. But I think it was for the good of the game. I mean, how long have people been asking for the new player experience? Four years? So it was great.”
Still, there's a difference between the products. In Slacks’ tutorial, we can see SyndreN, ODPixel, Sheever, SUNSfan, and almost everyone from the community. A thing we'll never see in the official tutorial.
“Well, I think Valve has done well with the tutorial: they're able to chunk up something like movement or stacking camps into a fun little mini-game. They're still incredible at what they do, but there are two sides to the community, right? There's what is official and then there's stuff that the community makes. And I thought it was very nice for them to be able to include ours in theirs and then show off like that little piece because, you know, Valve can't do that. They can't handpick five people out of the community and be like, ‘Hey, we're going to give you a shitload of advertising for every single new player’. I mean, that's cherry-picking and king-making and that's not cool.”
Slacks’ crew had tons of ideas but didn’t have the time to implement them all. They came up with the idea to do a tutorial in a month, spent time designing the concepts, and actually working on the mod.
“Those guys made that tutorial in legitimately three weeks, a full-fledged voice acting, unique command prompts written. Absolutely insane. There are a million things that we wanted to do. But I think we did a really good job with the scope of the project. We knew we were going to make something in a month. It was going to be irrelevant a patch later, but this is the point. The game didn’t have a real tutorial. Ours is already broken again because of a new patch. So that was the mission and a big mission accomplished.”
It’s hard to say whether all the content Slacks creates comes from his mind, his heart, or whatever else makes his body tic. Jake’s perpetual content machine doesn’t need fuel, only a challenge.
“I love doing things that I don't think I can do and things that I perceive to be nearly impossible. It's that insane drive to make something happen. It’s how I've always operated and it's a blessing and a curse in a way, because I really love working on things that I feel are super challenging and nearly impossible. But as soon as I feel like I'm good at something, I don't want to do it anymore, it’s non-passionate for me. So you'll see me streaming every day for six months, 12 hours a day to see how big I can get it. And then as soon as I'm like, ‘Wow, I really wrapped my head around this’, I’ll just go make some YouTube videos. It sucks for fans and stuff, because for one year I'll be just pumping out YouTube videos and content and LoreGasms. And then I'll just be like, ‘Well, that was fun. Let's do something else. Let's organize tournaments. Well, that was fun. Let's try to work on TI. Well, that was fun.’ It's chaotic, man, it’s like ADD (Attention-Deficit Disorder). But I think in life, the number one thing that you should do is learn and challenge yourself. And if you're doing the same thing every single day, over and over, you're basically already dead. You have to just keep expanding your skill set because that's what life is, a culmination of experiences. So I dunno, I wish I could just settle down and just do things that make me money [laughs]. Wouldn't that be nice if I just had like a million subscribers YouTube channel and all I did was pump out YouTube videos or stream? But it's just not my personality.”
Speaking of tournaments, I’ve asked Slacks about Midas Mode 3.0.
“Holy f**k no. No, no, no, no. Listen. I've told people many times I will not make Midas Mode 3 until I forget what a literal nightmare Midas Mode 2 was: working 15 hours a day every day for four months. It was just so much work. I learned some very valuable lessons though. Number one, never be the talent and the tournament organizer at the same time. I got Puppey DM-ing me saying that he's dropping out of the tournament in 15 minutes while I'm on the panel. It was a living goddamn nightmare. But a lot of fun though. I think Midas Mode was interesting because the goal for that one was to make one of the best tournaments that you could attend in person. And I think that we achieved that goal really well, people went up and they were playing Roshan in the game of Dota 2. That's freaking hilarious. But God, trying to organize 12 teams as the sole person, being a talent, and having to be entertaining on the show... Holy shit. I'm just going to let WePlay or Valve run the tournaments from now on and just try to help. Never again, man, until I forget how painful it was. But those painful memories are still *very* vivid.”
I suggested just creating bots with players’ nicknames and sending them into the fight.
“Wouldn't that be wonderful? Oh God, the players, man. I'll never forget at Midas Mode 2, during the Grand Finals, the teams for China just said, ‘Hey, can we just play real, like real Dota? No, no Midas Mode also, can we have a best of one?’ What are these requests!? No, no, what are you talking about!? Oh, not to deal with players. What a dream.”
Can you imagine a world where Valve hires SirActionSlacks as a Dota 2 community manager? Neither I, nor Jake himself, can.
“I've never wanted to be the Dota 2 community manager. The position will never exist. But I find that Valve is only motivated by a few things, and one of them is REVENGE. They don't enjoy it when someone else makes something and it's inferior; one of the only ways to motivate super smart people. It's a classic thing on the internet: you can ask for help as many times as you want but if you give the wrong answer, instead of asking for help, you will be helped immediately. If you say, ‘Hey, how do I do this?’ And then no one will say anything. But if you say, ‘Hey, I did this and this is the best way to do it’, you'll be lined up with a thousand people telling you how wrong you are.
“It’s the same thing with the large corporations. If you start claiming that you're the community manager and making YouTube videos because they don't communicate, then they will be very forced to communicate. Or you're the only one communicating. So, I mean, these are all just ploys to get the Dota community more things that can make it better. So that was a good one. That was funny. I enjoyed that, but no, being an unofficial community manager is a lot more fun than being an official community manager because I have zero contact with Valve. So I can just make things up and see if they come true and have zero repercussions. So it's fun.”
“Do you see the difference between the community that was five years ago and the fans today?”
“I think so. There was always this ‘Dota is dying’ kind of thing, but I think people have almost got into a state of saying ‘Dota is amazing and it's where it's at.’ And you know, I'm comfortable with its existence. A lot of people were very angry that Dota should be bigger, Dota 2 needs to grow. And people now realize this game's like 15 years old. I'm just happy it's still getting support. I think that the game is in the best place it's ever been as well. I'd say that a lot of the feedback has become more productive rather than destructive, a lot of things that the Dota players complain about, like those things about more effort in the DPC, there needs to be less microtransaction stuff. It's more holding people accountable rather than just straight-up b*tching, which is what it used to be several years ago. So I always think that the Dota community is on a great trajectory. And I think the community is awesome. People always think that when you write negative things about talent or production or just the state of the game, that everyone that makes a living off of Dota thinks that that's bad. No, it's quite the opposite. I mean, if it wasn't for people complaining and keeping corporations in check and each other in check, then the game would just go down the tubes.
“That's how a lot of other esports work. The devs just have a monopoly and are not held accountable. If you do anything in a Riot Games event that they don't like, they just ban you and ban your name from the chat. But Valve works almost like a capitalistic government and the best product rises to the top and they have to be held accountable because their products are inherently created by the community that they foster. So in the end, people that complain and bitch and do constructive criticism just make the game better as a whole. And it's why this game has been alive for more than a decade.”
If it wasn't for people complaining and keeping corporations in check and each other in check, then the game would just go down the tubes.
SirActionSlacks, although he became popular thanks to YouTube videos where he screams a lot, loves to do some very deep work with Dota’s lore, retelling important stories from within the game. That way, the community doesn’t need to dig through all of the heroes' biographies, voice tracks, or item and cosmetics descriptions. And although some may not be interested in lore at all, Jake and I found a common language.
“I feel like gamers are motivated by a bunch of different things, especially in a game like Dota, where it's the hardest game in the world and it's this pursuit to be the best. A lot of people have that competitive nature. You know, they played sports in high school and then they just naturally said that esports was a way that they could go into it. But for a lot of us, it's not just about being the best and that it's, you know, escaping into another world and seeing those stories and imagining things. I mean, a lot of us nerds that used to read fantasy books and stuff, we get into video games and it's just such a cool experience to be able to see something grow when you read a book, Winds of Winter or whatever. That's great, but it's all in that guy's head. And he is telling you a story.
“It's cool to see the community really getting behind a hero like Spectre. And then they put out a comic about her and her Arcana and then the story evolves. And you feel like you had a piece of that growth. I'm fine that Dota's lore is kind of more like Dark Souls’ lore, where they don't just put everything out there and they let you connect the pieces. It lets you insert yourself into a universe to escape the mundane nightmarish COVID hell that we live in. And that's pretty great, it's a lot of fun. And I don't know if it was on purpose. I don't think that they left all those inconsistencies and holes in there you know, like, ‘Oh yes, the people are really enjoying this’, but at the same time, I think it's great. And it's just really fun, it's something that people can unite behind.”
“Interesting… You mentioned Spectre Arcana. There's a rumor that it’s connected with Phantom Assassin.”
“That's not a rumor, that's a theory, a gamer theory. It's really interesting how that PA theory has become canon and non-canon and then canon again. In Artifact, there was a card that came out called Spectral Assassin or something. And it was like one of someone from Mortred's, the Phantom Assassin, order. They said that when an assassin from the order dies, they become a ghost until they complete their thing, which was hinting at Spectre. And then Artifact got burned and everyone that had anything to do with it was probably burned into gold for Gaben's wallet. So we'll never know what happened there. And then in Underlords, it's ‘No, no, no, that's not what happened, they're not ghosts, they're not specters, no, no, they're, you know, something else’. It's just really fun to see people connecting the dots, but we'll find out soon. I mean, what else could they do for the Spectre Arcana? I'm very, very excited. Who knows where the Lore will go.
The Chat always requires more and more of Slacks, they ask to put him on the most important and coolest matches, on the finals, and on two parallel streams at the same time. Jake's commentary style is quite simple: shouts, emotions, funny jokes, more shouting, a few more screams for good measure, all spiced up with a bit of cringe. But not everyone shares this approach, as many argue that esports should strive to be like traditional sports in terms of rigor, restraint, and seriousness.
“I think it's always good to have a mix. One of my favorite parts about working on The International is writing that line and satisfying both those things. Esports has the joy of being authentic whereas when you watch anything on TV or, I mean, no one has been watching TV in the last 10 years, but if you ever watch a televised sport on ESPN or whatever, everyone has to be so non-authentic, they have to talk to their sponsors, nobody can curse, nobody can talk normally, no one can talk about what they care about. It's all predetermined for a reason. It's Taylor Swift style, you know, people don't know that she was bred from birth to become what she was like by her parents and by her bloodline, it's so weird.
“Whereas in esports all we are is authentic. We grew up from being players into our positions as talents and pro athletes and we're just normal peeps. And that's what makes it to me, so, you know, involved. But at the same time, we like to have that moment like the TI Grand Finals, where you have this amazing host and four of the best, smartest people watching the best teams. So it's this balance that needs to be struck between authenticity and production value and seriousness. And I think that we do it so well in this scene, whereas other scenes do it very well too. Counter-Strike I'd say has a great mix of professionalism and kind of biting negative commentary, which makes all their stuff really entertaining. I think it's perfect. And I think that's what you have to strive for. And that's the future. I mean, nobody is going to watch f**king football in 15 years. I'm serious. Like, it's just... Who cares? But esports are forever. As long as technology continues, when we start getting into VR esports and stuff. There's no point in going outside, that's where the bugs live. God, they could bite you. So, yeah, forget it.”
Still, SirActionSlacks has a couple of thoughts about what the Dota community lacks.
“There are not a lot of players that will highly interact with the community in entertaining ways. But I think that a lot of other esports like Super Smash Brothers or Counter-Strike have pro players that will go out there and put themselves out, ready to be embarrassed, ready to interact with the fans. Some of the biggest teams in Dota, like Evil Geniuses... When was the last time that they ever did anything with their fans? Like even to talk to their fans.
“Though, I think it's a big part of being a Dota player-personality. I mean, to get good at Dota, you have to have a thousand hours in an impossible game that makes you hate it. A hundred thousand hours to maybe become a tier three team. The type of personality that succeeds in Dota has to already pretty much be a genius level. And then it's so rare to have somebody that's a genius, but also personable and cares about that kind of stuff. So, I mean, that's kind of what I've been doing my entire career: trying to bring out personality from players and have them be more approachable in interacting with fans. But I still think that there's just so much room in media training and getting the people that play these games so involved, but there's always another side of the cookie. I don't think Dota players really give a damn about that. Dota players care about the best. That's why we play Dota. We want to play the best game. We want to play the hardest game and they don't give a shit if RTZ, you know, has a fan meeting or anything, they care about how well he can lasthit on Terrorblade, which is completely fine. So, as I said, it's always a mix between the hyper professional and the casual.”
“Do you reflect on your career?”
“Oh God, no. I just keep going. God, I don't have time to reflect on anything. I'll reflect on my career when it's over. When I say something super stupid, when I open up a panel and I finally get put down the ringer and exited, then I'll reflect on how much I f**ked it all up. But I don't have time. I mean, I constantly sign up for way too many projects, work like four things at a time and I'm just constantly stressed out. That's the way I operate the best. What's the point of reflecting on one's career? I mean, that's what old men do, right? We've got to keep moving.”
“So I guess that's why I should ask what's your ultimate dream and when will you end your career?”
“Hmm, I don't know. That's a great question. I still love what I do a lot. And I used to motivate myself with these impossible goals... Like when I watched TI for the first time at TI4, I said, I want to work that event. And that became this two-year-long obsession to do that. And then after that, I said, okay, I want to not work on the camera at TI, I want to work behind the scenes at TI, I want to help make TI. And then that became like a year’s obsession. And then, I finally got to do that at TI8 and TI9. So honestly, I'm not sure what it is right now. I mean, there’s one very stupid goal: I want to be Immortal. [laughs]
“It's cool, but I don't know. That goal has just really ripped me apart last year. I've been trying to get better at Dota but you can't still enjoy Dota and get better at Dota. It's this really weird dichotomy where, if you want to enjoy Dota and have fun, you need to be 3k or 4k or play with your friends. That constant drive of looking for a goal while four other people are stopping me from achieving, it makes you crazy, makes you such a negative, insane person. So the number one thing I want to do is just get to Immortal so I can enjoy Dota again. Because right now, all I want to do is get better, tighten it up, figure it out, and then feel like, okay, I've done it, I've reached my goal. And then I can finally go back to being a memeing moron. So that's all I want to do, but such a time investment, what a nightmare. Time is the most precious thing that a human being has. And when you get into a game and you know that you're stuck with a position five Pudge who has a level two on Dota plus, and you're just like, okay, there goes an hour for this game. And then I need to win another game, which means two hours of my life have been ruined by this one f**king dude.”
“Says a Techies player.”
“Hey! I play Techies because I value time. Okay? I refuse to lose. So I will keep you in a game for an hour and a half so that you don't have to play another game to fix your MMR. All right? I don't lose.”
Arkosh Gaming, surprisingly, made it to the first division of the NA DPC. A team of five anonymous players, with only one tactic: have fun and entertain. No one knows who they are, though, now SirActionSlacks reveals a little about his team’s purpose.
“Are you satisfied with your team progressing to the first division?”
“Holy God, no. I mean, they're just going to lose so hard. They could barely beat DogChamp for God's sake. I mean, legitimately this team should not be in division one. The only reason it is is that half of our division was fat match-fixing and got banned from Dota. I mean, you have no idea, it's going to be a f**king disaster. My greatest fear right now is that somehow Arkosh Gaming makes it to TI. If that happens, that's going to be the worst day of my life. What are we going to do? Gremlo showed up to lane with zero items in his inventory as a Pudge on purpose with a support position five Sniper against match-fixers who were desperately trying to lose. And we barely won that game. The mafia would've killed those people if they lost. And they barely won. A living nightmare, but I mean, Arkosh is great.
“I just want to shake things up in the Dota esports narrative and see what this crazy pro wrestling idea would do to the scene. I had very low expectations from beginning to end. But I think the best way to get a problem solved is to show people that it's a problem. And that was one of my favorite things with Arkosh. When we were starting, this question of pro players and smurfing and account hiding and stuff, people were like, wow, that must have put so much stress on them... But I was f**king dying. It was hilarious the entire time thinking that new rules had to be put in place just in case someone decided to do this and go into TI under fake aliases and stuff. It's great. That rule was put in place. I like making issues. That to me is a lot of fun.
“Luckily for us, I had a lot of fun, but Valve is a company that actually will do those things instead of, you know... If I was at Blizzard and I did anything like this, I'd be literally assassinated by a hitman. But Valve would just, ‘Oh, all right, we have to do some work now.’ And then they do work, which is something that's so rare where a community can directly impact a developer and they have this symbiotic relationship of both making each other better. So we're very blessed to work with somebody like that.
“So as a manager, I need to ask you this one corporate question. What are your expectations for the team for the next DPC season? After TI.”
“If they are in the upper division and they get a single win... I will have a heart attack. You don't understand, I set up scrims and they just don't arrive. And I say, where were you guys? And they say, "Well, I don't know". That's it. They're literally in the team comms trying to get any kind of draft. One guy just says, ‘Hey, I really want to play Phantom Lancer with Octarine Core and an Aghs’. And everyone's like, that's literally hard countering ourselves. And they're like, ‘Well, I want to do it, I think it would be funny.’ And then he does it for four games in a row. And we will bomb out of the first DPC division with literally zero, ZERO wins. Anything besides that would be a god- a demonsent if you will.
“Doesn't that speak much about the NA DPC level?”
“I guess there are some severe goddamn problems if people that legitimately just want to meme in pro matches are winning games. But I mean, that was another thing I wanted to let you a little bit behind the curtain of the deal of Arkosh Gaming. A big part of it is trying to show other teams that have all these fantastic players that interacting with fan bases and making these storylines and making content can have positive influences on the scene as a whole. You know, the Arkosh fan base, which is amazing, are making fan art, giving us their support, buying fan bundles in the store, constantly talking about us on Twitch. I mean, that's so valuable for the scene of North America in general, to just have people have these fun storylines to get behind. And it's like big teams that have sponsors and have the greatest players in the world. If they can realize that this kind of content has value, I think it's an overall net gain. So what we're trying to do is be the worst team in human history that has the biggest fan base. And that is something that's so opposite in Dota. People don't like teams that are bad. I mean, it was shameful to like a bad team until now, hopefully. So if they'd beat anyone in the upper division, that would be the greatest upset in human history. I can't wait. I honestly can't wait.”
“Is it true that Deepslacksbot is actually not a neural network, but decrypted recordings of you talking in your sleep posted by your wife?”
“I wish. I wish I was that creative, Deepslackbot is funnier than I'll ever be. And I don't know why. And it pisses me off. Ask Tsunami. His Twitter is dank as f**k, mine is stupid. So no, I wish but no, no, I'm afraid not.”
“When will you ask ODPixel to persuade the Queen and give you the real Sir Title?”
“I'm already a sir, sir. It is official. There's a website called sealand.org where you can get the Republic of Sealand to give you a certificate for $20. So I thought after things started taking off, I should get my official real title, which I have right into my room. So do not ever refer to me as anything, but sir. Thank you, Sealand! Best 20 bucks I ever spent.”
“Understandable, sir. Does Wykrhm Reddy really exist? Have you seen him?”
“I don't know. No, I've never seen him in real life. He might just be an algorithm. I mean, I wouldn't put it past the realm of possibility. Gabe Newell and Valve are really getting into that brain chip stuff these days, so he could be a beta test for a chatbot. But even if he is, I mean, what a benevolent robot, you know? Good for him. All these robots are usually evil and want to take over the world. All he wants to do is provide useful up-to-date information. So good on him. Beep boop, my friend.”
“Did ImmortalFaith learn anything useful from playing with you?”
“How to be more toxic. In my rise to Immortal, the only thing that I've passed on to him is incredibly toxic all chat, which now he's having an issue with. We actually had to take a break because both of us were just becoming these psychotic, sarcastic, flaming monsters in our games together. And it is like, it eats on the soul. I'm not kidding. The man that I have become, I used to be so carefree, and now I just kind of hate everyone in my game so much.”
“Have you ever seen Tsunami without a beard?”
“No. And I don't think I ever will. I hope not.”
“Why are there hairy players on Team Bald?”
“I think they know what's coming. You know, there are telltale signs for every man when he knows he sees it and he says, oh my God, you only have a short amount of time left.”
“If you had a chance to meet your younger self, what would you say to a boy in front of the TV who dreamed of working on TV?”
“Probably, I would want to change nothing. I think I live a great life right now. I think the only thing I would do is... Honestly, the only pseudo regret I have is that I went to college and I paid for it out of my own pocket. And I made a career out of the thing that I used to ditch class to do. But at the same time, something like college is such a great growth thing. Like even if you don't take your career being put into fish out of water situations, having to live in dorms, interact with people, be your own boss, manage your own schedule. Those are such great skills to learn. So honestly, I really like where I'm at. I'm married to a beautiful woman. I play video games for a living and I just had a kid and yeah, I wouldn't change a thing. So I don't know. I guess I flipped that kid off or something.”
“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?” (Source)
“So what the hell are you going to do now?”
“I still don't know, man. I mean, not a lot of change from TI8 till now. It's been two, three years or something, and life stuff happened. I had a kid, and I just thought I'd get better at stuff. So, I'm not sure what will happen next. Honestly, I have yet to replace that impossible goal, that goalpost has shifted. So until I find something that I can really say that ‘This is what I dedicate myself to,’ I'm in kind of a chilling period where I'm just taking a bunch of different, tiny little things. So, who knows, but I know when I'll find it. Cause when you get that obsession, you know, the kind of personality that I have, it takes over. It's unhealthy, kids. Obsession is not good, but it sure is fun.”
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