We got hold of Rikard 'skrff
' Holm Melin for a quick interview ahead of Dreamleague Leipzig Major where he sheds light on being an observer, his humble beginnings, predictions for Leipzig Major and more.
Interview conducted by Kary
Hey skrff. How are you doing? Kindly introduce yourself to our readers.
Howdy, I'm Rikard 'skrff' Holm Melin I’m quite fine; thank you for asking. I consider myself a pretty ordinary guy - grew up in a small town in Sweden with my parents and my big brother. I'd say my video game interest comes from the competitive needs I had growing up from normal sports where I played football, ice hockey, floorball all the time and i can also thank my brother for the sibling rivalry i guess. I also grew up with having a NES then later on an N64 while also having a home PC very early on in life, so later on, the interest for sports died out and the video games took over.
When did you come into Dota 2 and what made you come to the decision of being an observer?
I got into Dota2 when i got my beta key in 2011, but I have many years of WC3 DotA experience on battle.net. On the question of being an observer - that came later on when we were doing various tournaments for different games back in the GD Studio and James 2GD Harding just said, “Why not do observing for Dota2 when there is [observing] in Starcraft II and other games?”, so we did.
Your profile also mentions that you're a producer. What do you produce?
I guess not much anymore, but ages ago with the GD Studio I [produced].
Being an observer, what kind of setup can one expect to see back at your place? Also, compare that setup to the events that you've attended such as a Major, or say, TI.
My PC setup at home isn't much to brag about - just my PC and 2 screens. Nothing special. And compared to a Major or TI setup, it’s about the same..? I guess my personal PC is outdated, so it’s smoother.
I'm sure that the road to being an observer hasn't been easy for you. How difficult was it to make a living out of it in the earlier days?
I didn't start in esports doing only observing, but I wouldn't say it’s been hard, but challenging and fun. [In the] early days it was not sustainable to make a living off of, but luckily I had extra gigs and worked with GD Studio, so it’s worked out over the years.
How difficult is the job of being an observer? What are the things that you've to keep in mind at all times? Also, how tiring can it get?
I don't consider the job being hard. It’s more that it’s focus intensive and you need a little passion for it and good knowledge of the game. With that said, during long days with jetlag and little sleep and a lot of games the eyes can get quite dry. (:
Currently, there are only a handful of people who are widely known for being observers in the English criteria such as Pimpmuckl, Weppas, Aonir, Bukka, yourself, etc. Is there a lack of interest in this particular field or is it because most of the observers don't even know what they are doing?
I think there is only a handful of us because the market is quite saturated, and with a personal guess I’d say most getting into this esports ride would rather take a shot at being on camera then being the silent guardians behind the camera. xD
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What advice do you want to give to those who are trying to make it in this particular field? What to expect and what not to expect?
My advice would be, abandon hope all ye who enter here! On a serious note, play the game you are observing for, talk with the people you are doing the observing for and take feedback from them.
DreamLeague Major will be the next event that you'll be attending. Do you have anything special planned? What are you most excited about to see the most in both of these tournaments?
I personally don't have anything special planned, just excited for some great dotoes on this new crazy patch and hopefully some wild hero picks! Will be really nice going to Leipzig since I haven't been there before so maybe i should have planned something.
Make a prediction for the most likely winner for DreamLeague Major. Do justify your picks as well!
Oof! This is a hard question with the shuffles and new patch, but I would say the safe picks are TNC or Vici because they are the ones who look the hottest right now after the Chengdu Major and the qualifiers. It will be exciting to see how this DPC season shapes up with the big EU powerhouses coming back from their hiatus.
By the way skrff, you've attended more TI's than most of the players in the scene. How does that feel making it to TI every year since 2014?
I was at TI3, but as a spectator, watching the Swedish boys win! xD But I feel good and you appreciate getting invited every time, like getting confirmation that you are doing something right. TI is the big event of the year so getting invited is always a huge honor of course!
Which is the most memorable tournament you've attended? Also, how does it feel when you miss out on clutch first blood or kills?
I'd say the most memorable one for me is TI3 as an attendee when the Alliance boys won in Benaroya Hall. It was my first time in USA too so that whole trip was amazing! That or Shanghai Major — oh, the memories...
Alright skrff, that's a wrap. Thanks for making time for the interview. Anything you'd like to say?
Thanks for having me for an interview, and to anyone reading, remember to be excellent towards each other & party on! (:
If you enjoyed this interview with skrff, follow the author on Twitter at @Karyb4u.
Image courtesy of Skrff's Twitter