Mofarah sat down with Esports Heaven on his casting, aspirations, British Dota and events, 7.25a and more.
Hello Mofarah/Jack. Introduce yourself to our readers.
Hey! I'm Mofarah/Jack. Currently working as a co-caster within the Dota 2 scene and a part time math tutor.
How did you come up with this nickname? A fan of the British athlete I see?
Me and a few others decided to create accounts during the 2012 Olympics as a joke and it kind of just stuck after that! I became more of a fan as time went on because I felt morally obliged to follow his results!
Tell us about your humble beginnings.
My life was pretty normal growing up! I was a big geek as a child and loved math and problem solving - wanted to challenge my mind and understand as much as possible. I still see that side of me now in gaming and trying to understand the tactical side of things. Went on to study math and geological engineering while playing far too much Dota!
How and when did you decide to get into Dota 2, especially casting?
Casting was never something I originally thought about when playing Dota. During the summer of 2016 I became really ill with something called vasculitis which made trying to find work really difficult because my condition changed on a daily basis. I quickly realized that I would need to try and find something I could do while being at home and so one day I decided to message Nomad and ask if he fancied casting sometime.
Soon after that we entered the Epicenter casting competition which ended up giving us the chance to go and work at a major event in Russia. It was such an amazing opportunity at the time and although I wish I'd had more casting experience at the time, it was a time in my life that I'll never forget. Sitting and eating breakfast while all these professional players that I'd watched for years walked past was surreal.
Talk to us about your current status of casting events? Where can we catch you casting games and when?
I usually cover most major/minor qualifiers in some capacity but unfortunately with the corona virus going around it doesn't seem like there's much chance of any LAN events happening! Hopefully there will be some online tournaments coming up that will help entertain all us Dota fans and you might hear me then!
Speaking of which, you’re also a staple name when it comes to casting the ESL UK premier championship alongside Nomad. Tell us a bit more about this gig as well as the tournament.
The ESL UK premiership is something I feel very passionate about. When I first started casting I'd always hoped that one day I'd be able to work within a league system involving UK players. It's a round-robin group stage between 6 teams, consisting of 3/5 players from the UK, with a £10,500 prize pool. After a small playoff system the top 2 teams play against each other in a BO5 to decide the final winner!
I already knew a lot of the players coming into this event because a lot of the higher MMR players I'd either met at previous LAN's, such as ESL Birmingham, or had talked to online. So between my knowledge of the people and my passion for UK Dota I was so happy they asked me to be a part of the project!
As a caster, where do you see yourself now and have you met your set expectations?
I've reached the point in casting now where the only real step forward is to try and push towards making more LAN appearances. It's such a difficult accomplishment because the guys at the top of the casting scene within Dota are very good at what they do, especially the analysts. A lot of them are ex professional players so their points are well made and carry a lot of weight because of their previous involvement within the scene.
My casting opportunity came around so quickly that I didn't ever originally set any goals outside of the UK scene. I don't realistically see myself getting much further but I mainly cast because of the enjoyment that comes with it. Nothing makes me happier than knowing somebody has watched my cast and they've taken a piece of knowledge I've given them into one of their own games to help them win.
It's the same as when I tutor math and you know you've made a difference in helping someone reach their goal.
What is the most difficult thing you face when you enter the Dota scene as a caster and how tough is the struggle?
The thing that stood out for me most when I first started casting was the need for feedback to try and improve yourself. Although almost everybody within the casting scene is a great person, it's well known that you are still competing against each other, especially in the online scene.
Everyone wants to be given the chance to go and cast at events so you have to be greedy in a way so that you give yourself the best chance of succeeding.
The other issue is that when you start looking for feedback you turn to Reddit/Twitter where not all of it is constructive. You need to have thick skin to read some of the things that people say and I struggled with that at first.
I remember Kyle giving me advice during Epicenter at a time when I felt a bit down and I'll never forget the things he said to me. He went out of his way for me and I'm eternally grateful for that.
How does the advent of the recently introduced Regional Leagues help out the casters? Share your thoughts regarding the same and also how does it help the tier 2/3 scene or Dota as a whole?
Regional leagues, as a whole, are definitely a welcomed change for the Dota community. I do have some issues such as region strength weighting and teams not getting paid if they don't finish in the top half of a major but I'm very excited.
It's a refreshing change to see a much more even distribution of prize pool that can help support players that are working hard to try and get to the top. Also, who doesn't want the chance to watch Dota at any hour of the day?
In terms of casting I've talked to a fair few people in the same position as me and none of us are 100% sure. It will come down to how many studios there are and the number of casters they feel are needed but I'm quietly optimistic that it will give more people a chance to show what they're capable of.
Impressive take on the Regional League. Kindly expand a bit on how it would affect the casting scene in particular, especially those trying to make it in the scene. What inhibitions might the casters be having?
Well I'm not sure on how the studios are going to want to run things but if nobody casts the 2nd leagues from a studio setting, then Twitch viewers will want to watch the games somewhere. If that were the case, it would give new casters the opportunity to cast them on their channel and get noticed to possibly work other leagues in the future. As for the T2/T3 casters, it gives us bigger opportunities for consistent income, which can be a problem at the moment when you don't know where your next gig is coming from.
I think a lot of us are slightly worried at the moment though because it's all very unknown. It will come down to the studios' decisions and nobody has a basis to work off at the moment, so it's all guess work on our end!
What do you think about the new patch?
I'm a big fan of them getting rid of the 2 minute power runes, the double damage and regeneration spawns felt far too lane winning that early on in the game. The picking stage in pubs seems to be a lot fairer now which can only be a good thing; last pick was a little too strong before.
In terms of heroes, I'm really glad they brought out 7.25a quickly because Night Stalker and Ursa seem a little too much on the strong side and are still relatively strong. Lycan seems like a powerful hero at the moment and I imagine we're gonna be seeing that in pubs a lot more until it gets nerfed!
Alright, that’s a wrap. Anything you’d like to say before we sign off?
Thanks for chatting with me! I hope everyone is looking after themselves at the moment and taking the right precautions (make sure you're washing your hands). If anyone has any questions for me, including about casting, then don't be afraid to drop me a message on twitter, @MoFarahDota
If you would like to know more about my work, you can follow me at KarY.
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Headline image courtesy: Epicenter