TobiWan: 'The Open and the Masters is something we never want to let die'

Posted by Sovann "Skim" Kim 2 years, 12 weeks ago
Toby 'TobiWan' Dawson is one of the most famous personalities in the Dota 2 community. He has been the face of joinDota for over one and a half year and has cast a lot of games during that time, most notably The International 2011/2012 and all installements of jD's own tournament The Defense. In his interview with GosuGamers, TobiWan talks about his Vlogs, BeyondTheSummit and the effects on joinDota of own3d.tv's fall.

Note: This interview was conducted by Eric 'ReiNNN' Khor, before joinDota released their statement regarding own3d.tv.

Australia Toby 'TobiWan' Dawson

Hello Toby, it's been a long time since you have been interviewed, how are you?

Been hiding under the radar, you know (smiles). Been doing really well actually after a bit of a rough patch, feeling very optimistic for this year.

Right after your returned from The Asia, you posted several Vlogs on your YouTube channel and it has seen both good response and bad response. You mentioned that you are only human in one of the Vlogs. How did you feel about the bad responses even after posting a video like that?

I didn't really care about the "bad" responses as those are the people the Vlogs were not made for. It was made for the people that actually looked to understand not only myself but also the way things work behind the scenes, things that are not normally explained.

Overall, do you think the Vlogs successfully got your message across to the viewers about how you truly feel?

I feel like they achieved what I was looking to do, so will continue to keep doing them

You cast a lot of games on a daily basis. Do you have time to watch or analyse other's cast?

I try and check out as many new casters as possible and also see the development of current casters. How much I get to see depends on my schedule though, which I have a feeling this year is not going to have many days to just 'watch' games.

Toby with VP's female sqaud

  Image source: TobiWan's Facebook
joinDOTA is also a little more diverse than just livestreams.
The WinteR and LD combo on BeyondTheSummit (BTS) attracted three times more viewers than your stream on G-League, what do you think about BTS in general?

I don't really think about the numbers during G-League, there was some controversy surrounding the English broadcasting of the tournament, most of it crap (not from G-League themselves).
I was streaming on an inferior service, with an inferior knowledge of the region, the numbers were exactly what should have been expected, but I was casting for fun and experience, not for the bragging rights.
As far as BTS as a whole, they are doing a great job to forward commentary in DOTA2 and have given me and alot of other casters the kick in the arse to start trying to push the content value, for this I am grateful.

You mentioned that you watch the new and upcoming casters. What do you think about WinteR as a co-caster?

WinteR is a person with a huge amount of experience and it's kind of sad it has taken so long until he started casting for the community to fully realise that as I remember casting with WinteR back when I was really involved in SEA with things like the ADC.
As a co-caster, he brings an awesome vibe and level of knowledge that I hope we will see from him and other pro players in the future.

joinDOTA is considered a streaming site mostly rather than a news site. Do you think the rise of BTS and other streamers may threaten joinDOTA's revenue stream?

joinDOTA was originally designed as a streaming site, in fact it was the only thing on the original website. joinDOTA has evolved since that point and we are not only looking to accommodate more joinDOTA casters, but also promote non jD streamers.
The revenue of joinDOTA is also a little more diverse than just livestreams, considering we do news, tournaments, websites, and more as the company that hosts joinDOTA and other projects.

Many have said that the joinDOTA stream has not improved since the establishment of the company two years ago, what will we expect to see in the near future?

Those 'many' must not have been watching the stream since my return from Asia in December. We are already working hard to improve the stability and quality of the stream which is now helped by the ability of the TwitchTV servers.
I have also got an awesome team of people helping to create overlays, videos, and whatever else we can think of that will improve the quality of content on the stream.

TobiWan and Day9

  Image source: joinDota
I try and check out as many new casters as possible.

It was reported earlier today that own3d.tv will be shutting down as of the 31st of January. Will you be moving to stream on Twitch instead?

What provider we will end up with is still being 100% worked out, but for the moment I will be streaming on twitch.tv/TobiWanDOTA.

You were reported testing out streaming on Twitch a few days ago. Did you have insider information that it was going to happen beforehand? The news about them definitely caught many by surprise.

We have worked closely with own3d for a long time and they were able to help us prepare by keeping us informed.

Share with us some of your stories while dealing with own3d. Everybody seems to have their own story when dealing with streaming companies.

I feel no need to discuss it yet, all I will say is that the support which own3d.tv gave joinDOTA and the whole DOTA2 community should never be forgotten.

Considering that most of the prizepool for The Defense is actually coming from own3d, you tweeted that the prizepool for The Defense 3 is secured. Does that mean own3d will still honour their sponsorship even after shutting down?

Like everything at joinDOTA, we are supported by the company of Freaks4U. So, no matter what happens we always make sure we can deliver on our promises of the tournaments.
As far as where the prize pool comes from that is something we will not comment on, we can just ensure that it will be paid like every tournament we ran.

You also tweeted that the VOD archives are safe on YouTube. What is going to happen to the VOD archive before joinDota set up their YouTube account?

All the VODs which have been stored on the own3d.tv servers have already been backed up on local hard drives. Some of the old matches may be rehosted again but for now we know they are all safe.

There was this whole shenanigans with joinDota's channel on YouTube. What actually happened and what did you guys do to retrieve it back?

The channel was shut down without warning and we submitted the forms to get the channel reinstated. We got an email back from YouTube apologising for the closure of the channel, saying that is was a mistake. We are just happy to have it back for good.

Hopefully that won't happen again in the future. What are your personal thoughts about the recent announcement of ESL EMS One tournament?

I am looking forward to seeing ESL getting into the world of Dota 2, and hoping that it will be smoother than the days of DotA ESL tournaments. Hopefully it won't be the only involvement in DOTA that ESL wishes to take.

Toby with 2009 and Khaldor at WCG Grand Final '12

  Image source: TobiWan's Facebook
The community needs the change of pace.

Will you be contesting for the casting spot of the tournament considering the LAN finals will be played in Germany?

I am sure ESL will make the commentators public when they are ready.

Going back to some of jD's events, what was special for you in this particular edition of The Defense?

There have been a couple of awesome plays here or there, but really during the group stage it was never going to be the situation where you are 'writing home' about every match. Better to ask this question after the playoffs *smiles*

Considering this plan is more team-heavy, do you think you may lose some viewers for some of the more unexciting games?

If you are always wanting to have THE BEST game being streamed, then you should give up running tournaments and just steal from all the others.
I remember an old friend of mine, who once said filler episodes are there to make you care when you get to the plot critical episodes. For me it is the same with matches which are not the #1 showcase.

Epi has been casting a lot of Defense matches in your absence. Are there plans to make him an official jD caster?

There are plans to get multiple casters involved in joinDOTA, in fact, we have been trying to do this for over 6 months but the process has been no where as smooth as we would have liked. As for Epi, he is a very useful and talented caster and jD like the community should be giving him a chance to prove himself properly.

When talking about tournaments, you need to differ between big and small. Now, jD has run a lot of smaller tournaments such as the jD Open or the jD Masters. Do you feel that viewer need this change of pace to not get bored by just big tournament after big tournament?

I think the community needs the change of pace, as well as an opportunity to show teams of lower rank, that is what things like the Open were designed for as it was created in the early stages of DOTA2.

Will there be another succession of the jD Open and jD Masters? What other surprises is joinDOTA going to bring us this year?

The Open and the Masters is something we never want to let die, and while our plans to bring it back may be delayed (due to the own3d closure), it is only delayed.
There are alot of other things planned for this year beyond that of our normal tournaments, we are always looking for competitions that the community want to see and also toward things that they may not have thought of.

Thanks for the interview. Any last shoutout mate?

Shoutout to everyone who works so hard behind the scenes at joinDOTA, and are working to make it even better, and to the people that use the site and watch my livestream. I have a silent shoutout as well, but it is obviously silent (winks).

TobiWan in social media

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