I am a professional shoutcaster by the name of BreakyCPK, I make a living by casting video games, AMAA
I am a professional shoutcaster, which is basically a sportscaster for video games, and I work at S2 Games under the Honcast division for the game Heroes of Newerth. I have been working with S2 Games for nearly 2 years now and have learned a lot about the gaming industry over that time.
I have been involved in the shoutcasting scene for 3.5 years and have casted several games from TF2, DotA, SC2 and of course HoN.
I wanted to do this AMAA to give anyone a chance who may be curious in general about what it is I do to those maybe looking to get more involved in the gaming scene as well. So feel free to ask questions ranging from shoutcasting specifically to just the gaming industry as a whole.
Just some fun facts, have had over 39 million views on the live twitch channel I stream to as well as 6.3+ million views on the Honcast Youtube channel and I have traveled across the world from Thailand to Sweden!
I will start answering at 1pm EST / 19.00 CET and go as long as necessary!
Twitter Verification - https://twitter.com/breakycpk/status/341574719608332289
EDIT - Already so many questions, ahhh screw it, will just start answering now!
EDIT 2 - Damn that was a lot of fun, appreciate all of the responses and questions. I hope I gave some insight that you were all looking for. I may just do this again in the near future!
I just love seeing this spread how it has...
Really, the last thing I wanted out of this career was to be recognized and get popular, I really was doing it because I enjoyed it. Growing up I was never a popular kid, I mean I was active and did sports / hung out with friends. But I was honestly feared of being a "figure" and was one to stay in the corner at parties and not try to be the center of attention.
It was one of the biggest things I had to get used to as a result of doing what I do and I am just so humbled that my work gets recognized and things like this saying have spread across games and the scene.
I've never watched your shoutcasting, what's the reference? Is this your catchphrase?
It is known as one my catchphrases yes
What do you think is necessary for the Heroes of Newerth scene to grow and truly compete with Dota 2 and League of Legends?
The best thing that HoN can do and has done for the last year or so is differentiate itself amongst the others. It is not secret that Riot and Valve both are very successful with what they have and are very large companies, especially in comparison to S2 Games.
Initially when HoN came out, it essentially was a clone of Dota with updated graphics and interface, which is what drew a lot of people into the game initially (including myself). However with Dota 2 releasing and of course the massive success of LoL, becoming more unique and giving more reasons to play HoN over the others is what makes sense. Obviously new and unique S2 Heroes was the beginning of this, and then other things like Lock Pick and of course Midwars to make it stand out.
I will also say this stigma that HoN is "dying" or is not successful I always find interesting. HoN has been and still is a VERY successful game compared to most others, the game has been around and is still growing three years later and its concurrent players online at given times are also numbers that most other games / companies would love to have.
So again, just continue to push for unique content within the game to help attract interest of those who may not have cared to try otherwise.
If HoN isn't dying, why does it take 5-15m to get through the damn queue with 130K people playing.
It is a mix of midwars and the regions being split. The number of players is for all of the regions combined and the SEA region has a fair amount of them.
I can't speak for specifics because honestly I just am not to involved in that side, but I do know that the que times are constantly being addressed and ways to make it more efficient are being discussed.
How does it feel sitting next to Vin Diesel?
As you would probably expect, AMAZING.
How does he smell?
Can you elabourate on the cost?
But at what?
How much money do you make casting games?
Obviously I can't give an exact amount of how much I make, but I can say with certainty that I am able to make an honest living and support myself and am very satisfied with where I am at right now when it comes to my occupation.
I will also say though that I do plenty of things behind the scenes beyond just the casting of the games, mainly involved within the marketing side of things.
If you were to ask me 3 years ago if I truly thought I could make a living out of this, I would have said that was silly... but here I am today as proof that it is possible :).
Why anytime we have an AMA or AMAA do people say they can't give an exact amount? Or even any type of figure. Make an honest living in Ohio could be $40,000 a year make an Honest living in San Francisco could be $125,000 a year.
I would prefer people in an AMA to give a range at the very least. If you are afraid or contractually obligated not to say the actual figure say you make between 40 and 60k etc..
I may be wrong, but I believe YouTube forbids people making money off their videos from disclosing how much they make.
I can say that I do not make money from advertisements on Youtube or Twitch, I get salary from S2 Games.
What Heroes of Newerth player has been the most fun watching (playstyle, signature hero) that you can recall since you started casting?
I would have to say n0tail from Fnatic was probably the most entertaining player to watch for several reasons. It helped that when he played most of the time it was 1v1 mid and he was for very good reason considered even the best at it. Especially when he played the pollywog priest, it was just awesome watching him land those crazy ward traps. If I had to choose from today, honestly I am a big fan of Chessie and what he does for Stay Green, just a very skilled and fine tuned player.
Do you ever watch Fnatic play Dota 2? n0tail is still absurdly fun to watch (despite mostly playing support now).
I occasionally catch Fnatic playing Dota 2 yes and am always keeping an eye on how they are doing as well as many other former HoN players. I know that he has become more of the support player for them which I found interesting, but it is great to see them very successful over there.
What is your favorite hero to play?
What is your favorite HoN competitive team of all time?
How much HoN do you play personally?
Back in the days on team five, loaded, KDe, old MSI etc. Some players like Chu were really dominant. This gave birth to the phrase "address the Chu". Chu then went on to play LoL and when he returned, he wasn't as big a player as he had been when he first left. Do you think that is because he became worse, or did everyone else just get better? To summarize: are the current top HoN players better (individually) than the old top players?
(Connected to nr. 4) If you had to put together an all star 5 man HoN team, who'd be on that team?
I've really enjoyed your casting over the years. Keep up the good work.
Hey Telcar, thanks for the response and questions!
I have always been a support style of player, especially coming from always playing healers in WoW for 5+ years. So with that said it would have to be Demented Shaman (I also played shadow priest a lot in DotA)
Fnatic, honestly easy question. Just what they did for the scene both during and outside of matches was just very respectable.
I honestly don't play as much as I would like and this is a mix of due to just personal life and working outside of casting. However when I do play, its mainly midwars no days... I just love the stress free environment of it!
With time comes more experience and in return you can say it helps develop one to a point of being "good" at a game. A lot of mechanics honestly between any MOBA are very similar and I don't think mechanics have necessarily gotten better on current players than those of the past. A lot of it has to do with just the information level, this has always been a genre that requires a lot of research to play at the highest level from strategies within the game to just new heroes in general. I do think there is a lot closer of a gap between games than people like to admit, but I don't think that is ever an argument that will ever be settled.
Very tough question.... I will answer in two parts. IT honestly is so very hard with all the roles and what not, so I won't even take that into consideration.
Current Players would be; Slickz, Chessie, Peterpandam, Moonmeander, Swindlemelonzz
All time players would be; Era, Chessie, N0tail, Scandal, Tarano
Scandal used to play HoN?
Yup, a lot of players who played HoN are now in Dota 2, in fact on a bit of the top NA / EU teams..
I can think of a bit off the top of my head;
All of Fnatic BLOWYOURMIND Scandal Black Akke Loda TC EternalEnvy Sneyking Waytosexy Bdiz
def a bit more, but ya.
I never had any idea you were into the support thing, I just remembered some talk way back about Kraken being a favorite of yours..
Was that entirely a joke about the K in CPK standing for Kraken?
I mean I enjoy a bit of heroes like anyone else and Kraken is one of them. I did prefer the old Kraken Ultimate though, so hes died off a bit for me since then.
What TF2 games have you casted? Who did you cast it with? Which organisation? What teams? Favorite teams / players?
My TF2 casting experience honestly was very minimal, I casted I think 2-3 games about 2 years back. It was for a friend (InsaneRabbi) and some organization he was attempting to start up. I also haven't really followed the scene much since then so I can't really answer that.
However I will say my competitive gaming experience debuted with TFC as I played "competitive" for about a year in STA and OGL (lol good times). Back then I remember teams such as TDA and Kollektiv being dominate, its been so long though so would take a bit more time to think about it.
What was your WORST casting experience, be it boring games or other issues?
I hate to remember the worst time and honestly I can't say there have been many. But if there is one that perhaps stands out it would have been during the qualifiers for last years DreamHack Summer, where we were casting every day for three different regions.
We had qualifiers for the Oceanic region, which required us to start casting at 6am every third day. I am not a morning person so this was pretty brutal and it didn't help the region especially at the time was still not that "great" compared to other teams.
As someone who has been told he should do VA work, and would LOVE to get into video game voicing...but has absolutely nothing to his resume...is there a particular suggestion you'd give for folks like me?
Before I got this job, all I really ever did was your typical retail jobs and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do in life as far as an occupation went. I dropped out of college and found myself in a bit of a rut.
I had always been told I have a "voice for radio" and I would respond "ya I also have the face for it". Anyways, this started to get to me to the point of wanting to look to pursue some kind of broadcasting. I looked for classes at a local community college, Palomar College to be exact, and found a class for radio broadcasting and sportscasting.
I gave it a shot and long story short it 100% led me to where I am today. I also started to tap into very local sports broadcasting, you know the cheesy high school broadcasters on an AM station that you could barely understand and maybe had 10 people tuning in.
But it was the experience that mattered to me the most and I was passionate about pursuing it, havnig zero thought of money especially at that time.
So I guess the best answer I can give is if you are truly passionate about doing it, then just start doing it on your own and look for very base level opportunities. Maybe look around at your local schools or business to see if there are any chances to work with. I am a big believe that passion can help drive you to get whatever you want in life and I feel like I am a example of that.
First of all, thank you for the hundreds (if not thousands?) of hours of entertainment you've provided in your casts. I follow all the major MOBA games (HoN, LoL, and DOTA 2). Regardless of which of those is my favorite game to play/watch, you are my favorite caster in the entire e-sports scene. Nobody covers intense action with both precision and energy like you.
I notice that major tournaments like DreamHack look exhausting for both players and casters alike, especially with all the travelling and jet lag. At any past tournament, was there a point that stuck out in your mind that reaffirmed what you were doing? An awesome moment that made you take a step back and say, "Yeah, this made it worth it." Could be something epic or it could be something simple.
Appreciate the kind words aleatoric, and I think it is safe to say thousands of hours :). I really am a fan of esports, I always like to stress that in any kind of responses or interviews I do, I got into this scene for eSports as a whole, not just HoN.
As far as your question, no doubt events especially like DreamHack can be VERY exhausting for many different reasons. But there was a moment that happened at the first dreamhack I went to back in 2010, which was the first time HoN was there.
Back then it was myself and co-caster Phil The Thrill who were sent to DreamHack out of our own investors pocket, not by S2 Games. We were going with a mixer and two lab tops to cover the HoN event. At this time obviously I was still pretty fresh with casting, let alone this being my first ever event and my first time out of the country.
So to say the least I felt very out of place and was very nervous and worried that everything would go wrong. Even when we finally got to the venue to setup, we ran into a major issue with the power and plugging in our mixer without a voltage adapter and as a result it blowing up the mixer.
I was literally on the verge of tears because of our frustrated I was at this time, but it was then when a DreamHack employee came over and asked if he could help. We explained the problem, and he responded with "Oh, well I have a mixer at my place, I can go grab it and give it to you for the event"
So the event was saved, but it was once things started to get settled in and before we even began casting with our simple lab top and wooden table set up, where I got recognized by some fans and was asked to take a picture with them. It took me a couple seconds to realize what they wanted and after getting over the shock of someone actually recognizing me in person and wanting a picture, just made me feel so very humble and I knew that what I was doing had a positive impact at least on these couple of fans.
Through out the event it happened more and more with pictures and autographs, and it reassured me that doing what I was doing had a positive impact on many people, which has given me all the power needed to keep me going.
Have you ever been close to switching to cast another game (Dota2, LoL etc)?
Keep up the good job! :)
For the longest time I never considered myself to be a one game caster, it just happened that HoN was the majority of what I was doing because I enjoyed it the most.
Something I have always stated though is that I will continue to cast HoN as long as I feel there is a competitive scene to cast. I do love watching other games such as Dota2 and SC2, but my time unfortunately doesn't allow for me to cast those at this time. Who knows what the future holds though, right now I am happy with where I am at!
What are your thoughts on the widespread usage of "ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) But at what cost?"to games like LoL, SC2, DotA2, and WoW?
I have seen more and more posts and screenshots of random chats exploding in them. It is just pretty cool knowing something I randomly said one cast kind of stuck and now its so wide spread. I guess its kind of a "dream" for any caster to have their catch phrases and I can safely say that is one of mine :)
Are you aware that your announcer shoutpack is the greatest thing ever made?
Hah, I remember voicing that and then hearing it for the first time after. The guy that was editing the voice clips added in a lot of funny effects with horns and things because he thought it was supposed to be a "circus" like pack.
It was a lot of fun and I am just glad I got the opportunity to say that work like that of mine is actually in the game itself and people have the choice to use it.
I remember you said once looong ago on some stream that were not 100% happy with it. Why ?
Well mainly because the recording of the lines I didn't feel were the best as well as me not honestly being a voice recorder, have never done that before. As weird as this may sound, casting live matches compared to saying set lines being recorded are two completely different things.
Hey breaky! thanks for doing this AMAA!
First off, huge compliments for your enthousiasm for the game, it is really a great add to the tournaments.
My question is, when did you realize 'wow, I made it.', and how wat the feeling?
Answered a longer explanation in another response, but to put it simple here...
Basically when I went across the world to Sweden for DreamHack for my first event and was asked to take pictures by fans that had recognized me for the first time, made me feel very humble and realize that what I was doing truly did have a positive impact on people.
What does a typical work-day look like for you?
This has changed a bit over time, but for what my more recent work day schedules look like;
As of more recent, I have become the director of Honcast and I help manage 4-5 staff that work at S2 under the video producing side of things. So this would include videos from the recap ones we have been doing recently and live content we would be showing, to hero spotlight videos and what not.
I also write scripts for again videos like the recaps we do, do the voice overs for those. I find myself being very involved in the esports side of things of course to, helping Milkfat with decisions from events and scheduling to whatever else.
So basically its just a lot of things that come together and then there is the casting on top of it all of course. Right now has been a bit different with HoN Tour Season 1 finishing, but once events start kicking up again I will become a lot of being a caster focused once again!
Just wanted to say thanks for getting me through many hours of boredom while I was unemployed. You really make games a lot more entertaining to watch!
Awesome man, again its posts and responses like this that really do keep me fueled to keep doing what I do. Glad I could help!
As a caster, do you get alot of flame/harass/abuse from random people? If so, how do you deal with it? Feels like it's pretty frequent for players in HoN (and of course other competitive games) to be really mean to each other, far beyond what could be called "competitive taunts".
This was something that I was horrible at dealing with in the beginning of my casting career. I would find myself getting very bothered by certain criticisms or responses, most if not all of course which were "trolls". I would say it probably took me a good year to become a lot more thick skinned and I have just used that still today.
Basically, the best way to approach criticism is to read most if not all of it, but don't take it all in as if its all true and thus taking it to heart. I am a very passionate person with what I do, which is why I had a bit of trouble with it in the beginning, I really wanted to and still am doing this today to help the community grow.
Probably the best thing I learned though from my classes in broadcasting was a quote my teacher said "If you don't have haters, you are doing something wrong". I have used that to help me move along!
This. This is the correct answer to this question. Love you, Nick!
You know what I am talking about Kyle!
What is the best game that you've casted for?
A very very difficult question because I have literally casted thousands of games, but there are two off the top of my head that come to mind for different reasons.
First one would be the first DreamHack Finals between Fnatic and KD Gaming, and simply because the experience was just amazing. Getting to cast for the first time in front of a crowd of people, with 1000+ people jammed in the Dream Arena, I just couldn't believe it. I still get goosebumps just thinking about that experience.
Then another one would have to be from a match between WHP5 and xFin, where the game came down the last second where Korok on Fayde snuck in and finished the World Tree off
I don't watch HoNcast a lot, but as in a lot of other casting, there are times, where you have to fill the void with random stuff, which tends to end up in both casters saying the same thing in different words for several minutes. What is the most awkward / awesome / over the edge of these you can remember? Bonus points for VOD links.
Well I think the most famous "filler" time moment we have ever had on HoNcast was the drawing of boxes, where I think it was for 40+ minutes we literally just talked about random things and drew boxes on our screen in game.
I can't find the VOD link right now, will look later.. but it was during HoN Tour, I want to say cycle 3 or 4.
When does Half-Life 3 come out?
How is life? Money and Living etc. Do you find it easy to break even with this job?
I am comfortable with where I am at right now in my life and am able to make a living off of it.
Why are you not shoutcasting dota 2? You are a great caster, maybe the best, and it would be awesome!
Kind of answered this in another question, but to reiterate it, its because right now I have a very good thing going with HoN both on a personal and economical level.
I love esports and would love to branch out in the future, but for now it is HoN.
THE TEMPEST ULTIMATE
Hey Breaky just want to say that you are one of the reasons i got interested in e-sports, back in the days when u was casting with Tobi so many funny casts an such a big . So to the question what are your expectaions on the competion in Hon in a year? Do you think it gonna grow?
Thanks Nzzpy for the kind words, it was an experience casting with Tobi, very energetic!
As far as competitive HoN goes and where I see it in a year, I see it being stable for the NA / EU region but continuing to grow in the SEA region. I think HoN Tour season 2 and other planned events for this year will do a great job at supporting the current scene and Garena I am sure has their own events planned for their region that continues to hit crazy numbers.
what do you think about league of legends ?
I ahve maybe played 5 games total of LoL, honestly it was fun to play but just nothing I could really stick with.
I do not prefer watching LoL, I just find it boring to watch compared to HoN and Dota2.
Obviously LoL is very successful though so clearly they are doing a bit right :).
Who has been your favorite cocaster, not including Tralf and Emperor?
I have had the privilege of casting alongside a LOT of co-casters and have had a very good range as a result.
Part of me wants to be PC and say all my co-casters have been great in one way or another but I know that won't fly here :).
So if I had to choose one outside of those two it would probably be HenryD. Although at times he could be a little over the top, he gave plenty of strong criticism towards certain choices from items and heroes which is what you ask for out of an analytic caster.
How would a trained actor in the LA area pursue voice work in the gaming industry?
Demo Reel and post on youtube, just simply doing and getting your name / voice out there is the best start
Any hints on the new heroes comming out?
Can you give an estimated number on how many HoN games you have watched in total?
This number is very hard to accurately give, I have just casted so many freaking games, hah. I watch a lot of matches that I don't even cast as well, so it kind of depends on what you are talking about.
I think it is safe to say I have casted well over 1500 matches and watched more than 2000, really cant say an exact number though.
What is one thing that most viewers would not expect you do while you live-cast.
Hah, a really good question.
There are a couple things I tend to do when the camera is off of me and in the game including;
- I find myself pointing at the screen at certain things when I talk about them
- I move my hands a lot as if I am talking to someone in person
- I make funny faces at my producer to see if I can make him laugh
How did you come across the job at S2, and what attracted you about HoN in particular? Thank you for doing this ama man!
Short questions, but fairly long answer :)
First, getting into HoN was a mix of a couple of things. I originally played DotA on a pretty casual basis, mainly with my WoW guildies. One day one of the guildies linked some keys for a new dota like game that was in beta, which ended up being HoN.
I immediately (honestly like most at that time) fell in love with the much needed face lift for the game in both graphics and interface. This on top of the replays and spectator access being available in those beta stages showed me that S2 was passionate and thinking even about the competitive side to the game which I have always been a fan of.
As far as my job at S2 Games, I of course was doing my own thing with Honcast for about 1.5 years and just one day I was approached by S2 Games with the offer of working under them.
Do you enjoy the sound of your own voice?
I read this just so I could hear it
. . . .
No but really, I don't think about it all
How are the working hours? Is the money you get from casting games enough to support your life? (We don't need numbers!)
I work a normal work week of 40+ hours either in the office or behind the casting desk actually doing casts. And yes I make enough to support myself for a satisfying living right now!
Have you ever had nature call while casting?
Oh yes sir I have... in fact there was one experience at DreamHack where I had just had some of the noodles and my stomach wasn't feeling good. So during the game I literally had to just get up and rush to the bathroom to take care of business, leaving my co-caster to just take over at the time.
If HoN suddenly ended tomorrow, what would you do? Career wise & Hobby wise.
Very good question Megatrogdor... btw awesome name to. I used to watch home star runner ALL THE TIME.
The reason I got into doing this was because I was looking to get experience for my initial idea of an occupation, becoming involved in the sportscasting and radio broadcasting industry. So the next logical step would be to get involved in that scene, ideally starting off on the high school / college level like I was before and working up from there.
For my hobby just getting to spend more time with my girlfriend and friends in general. I went through a good 3-4 of my life after high school not really being social at all and not hanging out with friends. That has changed since I have come out here and would love to continue to grow that.
It isn't about studying really, but more so about just doing. Just do, cast your own games, get them up on youtube, promote yourself via forums and reddit.
Do you have any weird superstitions or habits while you cast/play hon?
I always clear my throat right before I go on air, so I guess that would be more of a habit thing. I also make sure I have some kind of water to drink, gotta keep hydrated.
I can't say I really have any superstitions, not really a superstitious person.
Are you actively playing hon games?
I try to get in at least 1-2 midwar games in a day at this point, but I can't say I am very active outside of that unfortunately
What new heroes would you like to see picked more in competitive games? There was alot of talk from comp players about Bramble and Solstice, but as far as I am aware neither has been picked up since they went tournament legal?
One hero I really want to see back is Hellbringer, especially with the Malphas change.
As far as new heroes, Pearl does seem like she could be a really fun hero to watch play and cast, especially with her big bubble ultimate.
It's Reid - long time no speak.
In what ways has the HoN scene changed/grown from 2 years ago and present day? Would the powerhouse teams(old fnatic.MSI) of the old compete w/ the powerhouse teams of new? Better? Worse?
I remember the days of being involved in HoNCast were a lot of fun - but has the scene 'grown up' since those days?
Is Phil still threatening to kick everyone's ass? He was always a good time. I hope all is well - continue to do what you love!
Hey Reid, long time indeed, hope you are doing well!
The competitive HoN scene has of course changed in terms of strategies, but I don't know if I can say it has honestly changed in much else. There was HoN Tour which provided a weekly event on a big scale for all levels of play, so on the outside of the top tier teams it has changed and grown a LOT. But for the top level, I don't think the skill level has changed a whole lot and I honestly think if Fnatic was to come back they would be able to compete within a month or so.
As far as HoNcast goes, its developed a LOT and the idea has become a lot more "professional" focused with production and what not. Of course I do miss the much more simple days of a stream with just one or two graphics, but we do have a lot of big plans for the near future that make the now worth it.
Phil no longer works for Honcast or S2, however he is still involved with the scene as he is now the manager for the top team Stay Green. I also get to talk to him every now and then and hes still a good friend of mine!
Was this the job you really wanted? Were you hesitant at first about casting just some game? Or was there passion from the start?
I got into shoutcasting simply to gain experience on becoming a sportscaster and radio broadcaster. I had ZERO intention to ever make a living or job out of doing it from the beginning, and it was all just the passion keeping me going.
After a couple of months and getting more and more reaction, and then the initial Honcast opportunity arising, I went with it to see how far I could take it. And here I am today!
Hey Breaky! What do you think is most enjoyable to watch (E-sports wise) about HoN? I personally play HoN, Lol and Dota 2, but I only like watching Dota and HoN. I'm not sure what I like about them (or dislike about LoL) but I'm trying to figure out :)
The pace of the game, all of the information and possibilities as a result of the genre, the build up to epic moments. These are just a couple that came off for me immediately after reading your question.
I too find it difficult to watch LoL mainly for the first one with the pace of the game, always felt it was just a bit to slow for my liking.
What made you want to cast HoN and not move into another game with a larger player base? ex. SC2, LoL, CoD etc.
I never got into the industry to become popular or for money. I was doing it because I was and still am very passionate about the scene, and HoN is still something I just really enjoy as a game player and a spectator.
I do have days where I wonder what if I chose to move on to another game earlier on, but I am honestly very happy with where I am right now and although I am older than a lot of people reading this I am sure, I still feel like I am pretty young and have plenty of time!
Have you ever considered becoming pro? After seeing your performance with QsQ some months back I must say I'm impressed, you even brought scout into the draft way before he was a part of the meta. You're clearly on a whole another level.
I would be too good, best I stay a caster.
But at what cost?
edit: Seeing as angrytestie finally gave in, what is the consensus around the office about how popular your game currently is? Worried?
Not sure what you are refering to when you mention AngryTestie giving in.
But I know that myself and around the office we are still very excited about the HoN game and know that it is still very successful among many standards and are willing to make certain changes to enhance that.
Breaky, i have but one question: ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) BUT AT WHAT COST?!?
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