Interview with Valorant Caster Doug
Yoann: Hello everyone! Today I'm with Doug, caster and Host for Valorant. Can you introduce yourself?
Doug: I've been a professional Valorant caster really since the Ignition series, which feels like an eternity ago, maybe two years ago at this point.
I've been in eSports in some form or fashion for 17 years, since 2005. I've done a little bit of everything, I competed, I did some content creation, I've done some coaching, I've done casting obviously.
Yoann: Good! How did you learn to cast?
Doug: I would say it was honestly a lot of watching and listening to the people that I highly respect. Who have been around the game a lot longer than I have. Guys like Machine, Sadokist...
There are a couple of people that I really admire and I really look up to who have paved the way. I would be foolish if I didn't look at the people who tried walking down this path before me and see what did they do well, where did they struggle and what can I learn from those things.
Yoann: What changed when you first started working for Valorant? (meeting new people, working in a different environment…)
Doug: A few things actually. I've made some wonderful friends, I hope to be lifelong friends. It's been fun because it's been both on the talent space, in the player space and with coaches.
It's been awesome to see this really cool community. And mind you, there are plenty of bad eggs in the community as well. But to find the good ones I think has been awesome. I think the other massive change is because of Valorant. I no longer work full-time, I only do Valorant casting and content creation full time, which is massive.
For the first two years of Valorant, I was doing both. I'd get up early, go into the office, work all day. And then I'd get into casting. So it was just a lot. And fortunately because of Valorant I have been able to set that aside and really focus on this game, and on this community. Something really cool.
Yoann: Yeah. About working for Valorant full time, did you find it difficult at first, and how is it going today?
Doug: The whole path really goes further back than just two years. I would be lying to you if I told you that I didn't have this voice in my ear almost every day telling me to quit because I wouldn't be good enough to do it, or because I'd never get the opportunity, whatever lie you believe it was there and it was incessant.
It's been hard. I still have this imposter syndrome. We've gotta remember at the end of the day, we're talking about video games. it's such a dope job. Because if you had told the 15 year old me that I was going to travel around the world and talk about video games in arenas, that's banging haha!
Sometimes it's really helpful to just take a step back and understand that you're just doing what you can, you're not gonna do it perfectly, and that's okay. Just do it and see what happens.
Yoann: Yeah I agree. Do you play Valorant in your free time, maybe with other casters or analysts?
Doug: Yeah, when I was still working, I wasn't able to play as much as I would like. Much more now that I'm casting full time.
Last week I played the 10 man when Harbor came out with a bunch of pros, and I got absolutely obliterated. And it was a very humbling experience, but it was a lot of fun.
I am so thankful.
Yoann: You obviously need to have a great game knowledge to cast games and to be an analyst. Do you think you could become a Valorant coach one day?
Doug: That's a really good question. I have coached in the past. If the opportunity were to arise, I would absolutely love it. A coach has such a unique role both in and out of the game.
And as someone who's been around for a little bit longer I humbly would like to think that there are things that I can help with. Even just from a maturity perspective.
I think the eSports community unfortunately, often lacks mentors. People who've been there, who've been established, who know what they're doing to help the next generation come along. So that the community's in a better place.
And then honestly, from the game perspective, I'm just a nerd man.
I think there's so much more to this game than people often realize.
Yoann: What are your hobbies / passions aside from Valorant?
Doug: Valorant takes most of my time now, which is wonderful. But I think I, as I've gotten older, have come to recognize the importance of investing in those who are close to you. I have gotten so much more grounded, so much more aware of how valuable of an investment it is to have people around you.
Because this will all come to an end one day, I'm not gonna be able to cast forever, and I know that. So, invest a lot more in me, invest a lot more in weightlifting and music and things that I genuinely enjoy doing, and then invest in the people that are around me.
Yoann: That’s so interesting! What's your routine one hour before going live?
Doug: That's a fun question! An hour before going live, it's usually our call time. At that point we arrive at the studio, I try to eat, because I've made the mistake of casting without eating in the past and it is a disaster haha.
I get settled, I often get a coffee. And then I look over some notes, and spend a lot of time listening to music. I spend so much of my time trying to refine my craft to include Word play such as rhyming, homophones, alliteration, metaphors, things like that.
Music helps me a lot, it loosens up my brain in a sense. Rhymes and word plays come a bit more naturally.
Yoann: What are your thoughts about the franchising program in general?
Doug: I think it's awesome. Part of me wishes North America had more slots, it's really sad that there are very talented players who are also friends who are gonna be on the outside looking in.
But I love it because you're building long term sustain.
Valorant is setting itself up to be as long lasting as possible. They're thinking about 10 years down the road.
I see the blueprint they have, and it's very exciting.
Yoann: So what are your shorts and long term ambitions for you as a caster or for Valorant in general?
Doug: I think in the short term, I want to cast an international final.
I set these goals for myself and I've been able to knock them off and cross them off. The next one on that list for me is the international final.
About the long term. I want to leave a positive legacy. I want people to remember. We're building something for generations. We are so far future facing here that Valorant will succeed long after the days of today’s talents.
But I want to be the best to ever do it. Those are my ambitions and I know that that's gonna take time and it's gonna take a lot of work, and I may never accomplish that. But I know what I want to strive towards.
And it's helpful for me to have that mountain to climb.
Yoann: That's super interesting. How do you feel about Pearl as a Caster?
Doug: I need to give it more time. I like the map, I like how it plays from a spectator's perspective.
Is harbor gonna be included? Do they finally move off of the Neon meta on Pearl? Then it'll be easier for me to say, for now It's forcing teams to think about the game in a different way, which is always exciting.
Yoann: What would you change to Valorant if you were a developer?
Doug: We need to bring Split back, and get rid of Icebox!
Jokes aside, I would do something different with icebox. It needs some changes. I would probably nerf Chamber, unfortunately.
Harbor could probably get a little buff. We'll see what pro players do with it. I don't think he can necessarily replace Viper.
On the bigger scale, I would say I still feel like there's a little bit too much randomness in the game around the running accuracy. It's just too often that I see somebody get rewarded for something like that.
Yoann: Yeah I agree, personnally I think that the first bullet should be a little more accurate, especially on rifles.
Do you have a favorite team to cast?
Doug: I've had the privilege of casting Paper Rex a couple of times, they're fun because they think about the game differently.
They are bold and they're willing to break conventional wisdom. So I think it's really fun to watch them play and cast them. Shout out to all the IGLs out there, that is what I appreciate watching the most, that chess match that I get to see unfold is a lot of fun.
Yoann: You spoke about Paper Rex. The coach told me that quote, “We just try to break the game, find some combinations that don't make sense and kill people”. I love it, it’s very good!
Doug: Yeah, and it works!
Yoann: Yeah! Which Valorant team are you going to cheer for next year?
Doug: Not all the rosters are out, and I have friends on all of the teams, so it's really tough to say. I will be the fan of whatever partnered team sends me merch first!
Yoann: Okay that works haha. And from last year's 2022 VCT?
Doug: I think the 100T roster was a lot of fun, because we saw them grow.
And the fun thing is they didn't do things necessarily differently. They trusted their plan, and that was great to watch.
Yoann: Is there anything else you want to add to this interview?
Doug: Yeah, Thank you first and foremost for reaching out, this is awesome. The game is so young that we're still in this unique area where we can start building stories, write out the history books.
Thank you to the people who do support me and who appreciate my content and my casting, that means so much more than you know. And this is related to the last point that I wanna make. Just be kind to people and like, don't take yourself so seriously. It's just video games.
Yoann: Awesome, thank you so much!
Doug: I appreciate it. Thank you!