We catch up with SirActionSlacks to talk all things Captains Draft, from creating video, to what goes into an event and what it’s like being a part of the Dota Pro Circuit.
The Dota Pro Circuit has totally changed how the world of competitive Dota works. No longer do teams only care about three big events each year, now they have to try to play and win at every single event on the Pro Circuit – and the competition is fierce. Essentially, this is pretty much what the pro Dota scene should’ve always been like, with almost weekly events that all matter.
While this new system is great, there was one concern that many had when the circuit was first announced. Some of the best events in the world of Dota – back when Valve pretty much sat back and did nothing – were created by a host of broadcast personalities and differed greatly from the traditional events put on by the likes of ESL and StarLadder. The Summit, and the multiple events from Dota Cinema and Moonduck, created fun tournaments that had a different feel to the big events, but many were worried they weren’t the kind of thing that Valve wanted in the Pro Circuit.
Fortunately, Valve decided to let both events into the Pro Circuit, and last week the Captains Draft Minor took place, with Team Secret coming out on top. It was a great event and one that provided more laughs than most events. A lot of that came down to Jake ‘SirActionSlacks’ Kanner, who was in charge of video content and played several other roles during the event. We caught up with Kanner at the filming of Well Played – a new quiz show produced by cryptocurrency platform BestMeta – to find out just how much work went into putting on the Captains Draft Minor.
Your main role on the event was making sure you had a tonne of video content to show off during down time. How much work went in to that beforehand to get everything ready on that side of things?
Oh, jeez. For the content specifically? Well, we had a lot to do. I was busting butt on Midas Mode, which I was the project lead on; this one was more on Shannon ‘SUNSfan’ Scotten, so I couldn’t help them until the day after Christmas. I spent Christmas with the wife, then went out there on the 26th, and we were working hard on getting content ready until it started on the 4th, so a lot of prep. That was something.
Are you pleased with how it all turned out? You got a lot of praise for the stuff that you did.
Yeah, yeah. It was all right. That’s any content creator, though. If you ask any content creator, they’re going to say, ‘No, it was horrible. I hated it,’ if they’re a good content creator, because you always want something more and you don’t think about any of the good parts. You think about like, ‘Ugh, if only I did this, we could have had more of this, and this is what should have happened there.’ Yeah, as in all events, I hate it. The same as all the others, yes.
Are you pleased with how everything turned out overall?
Oh, yeah. I’m not afraid to admit, I was a little bit burnt out after Midas Mode was done, so going into this tournament I was really dragging my feet. We weren’t expecting much from it to be perfectly honest with you. There was a problem with the sales website and it told us that we sold like 20 tickets a day or something, so we were just expecting to walk in there and have like 30 people there, maybe, or something. Then, yeah, it exceeded all of my personal expectations. SUNSfan was in charge of it, so I thought it would just be a disaster from everything, but, no, it worked out really well, I thought.
Obviously, you were lead on Midas Mode. You guys have done Elimination Mode and stuff like that. All of that has been online. How different is it for guys trying to build a LAN?
Phew. It is so much different. There are so many more things that you have to think about, like actually taking care of human beings, teams, computers. All that stuff is nuts. Doing your first one on a scale like this; this was a Valve Minor. Most people would do their first one in a local auditorium. Just taking on that was insane. I’m very happy I was not the one in charge of doing any of that stuff. That all goes to Nikki and SUNSfan. It was crazy.
One thing that we do need to improve on is we took a lot of good care of the teams but we didn’t take good care of each other. All we ate every day was burgers, pizza and Häagen-Dazs. I literally wanted to die at the end. We could have had a way to get fresh fruit and vegetables. It was horrific.
Being a part of the Pro Circuit, especially with an alternate game mode, is a pretty big deal. Did you expect that Valve would agree to let Captains Draft in?
They did take a big gamble on us, being an alternate game mode, which I think we’re pretty thankful for. That’s how Valve like to do it. They like to test the waters and see what people like and what they don’t like, and then get empirical data on that. They’re programmers, after all.
Hopefully we showed that there’s still interest in that. You can have these kind of fun alternate game modes that you can still get points for TI. People were very sceptical in the beginning, especially my boy Noxville, and I don’t blame him, but it’s pretty interesting to think like you go to the best gaming tournament in the world, a captain’s mode tournament, and then you got points playing something else. It was a gamble that paid off for us – and hopefully it paid off for Valve, too.