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So long, and thanks for all the fish!
This week, the ever talented IdrA is guest casting NASL group play alongside an alternating Gretorp and InControl. I must admit I haven’t been following the league as closely as I’d like, but the group-play model seems content to favor quantity over quality. I doubt anyone aside from Gretorp has actually seen every game. That said, unlike what often feels like the rest of the internet, I’ve been an NASL apologist from the start. They’re an evolving league that is slowly but surely adapting to the height of community production standards and expectations.
Despite my outlook, the mighty Gracken does give them something that they, and other fledgeling leagues like the IPL, have been missing: blunt honesty.
Sincerity is an important factor in forging a good cast, and part of sincerity is acknowledging when things are going badly. Not all games are epic; some games are just awful. Strategies may be one dimensional, players may mismicro into a giant goose egg, or painstaking stalemates may result in yawn-worthy breaks in the action.
When such games occur, Gretorp and InControl occasionally shy away from pointing out the obvious. I can’t say I blame them, the last thing any new league wants is a reputation for producing lackluster games. A lot of the more famous YouTube casters suffer from this issue as well. I remember watching Husky eagerly describing a pivotal defensive hold when the economics of the situation so clearly favored the aggressor that the game was already over. IPL casters like HD/Painuser, while good about letting us know when a player has likely lost in advance, also could benefit from being perhaps more critical of the players in unfavorable positions. The audience can learn as much from highlighting macro/micro mistakes as good, solid, or spectacular play.
Last night, though, IdrA was not afraid to tell the truth when he needed to. I pretty distinctly remember him saying “Rainbow should leave this game” as Moon threw wave after wave of roaches his way. Likewise, his persona was cleaned up for broadcast standards, but he didn’t change it so much that we lost sight of the fact that we were listening to a human being with legitimate opinions instead of a polished shell. InControl’s casting guise, for instance, displays the sort institutional demeanor that likely made him very good at college debate. That’s a side of him we don’t often see on more frank outlets like State of the Game.
IdrA was mostly himself, straightforward, unapologetic, and often completely correct in his analysis. Take the following example from IdrA’s stream (recording courtesy of YouTube user Swarmcast), for instance. IdrA will not shy away from labeling lackluster play for what it is.
A spade a spade indeed.
Critical sincerity is also an important factor in making Tastetosis so good at what they do. Remember the early San games? He got ripped apart, both in game and verbally. How about LegalMind? BitByBit? Etc? Tastless and Artosis are not afraid to bust the collective chops of underwhelming players on air. They will also be the first to say, “that game wasn’t very good, sorry guys” when it needs to be said. This helps considerably in establishing the legitimacy of their excitement when they DO see good games (like last weekend’s amazing series between NesTea and sC).
Hopefully IdrA will continue to be his frank self and casters around the net will take notes. Don’t be afraid to tell us when a game is over, or when players aren’t playing like they deserve our attention. Do so, and your audience will only gain a better understanding of the game.
NOTE: This article has been edited after further research revealed the statements initially made about HD and Painuser’s IPL casting were inaccurate. Sorry HD.
Click here to view TotalBiscuit’s response.