Cap sat down with us to talk the life of a DPC talent, from the start of his journey to how it is today.
Austin "Capitalist" Walsh has been in the industry since the early days of Dota 2, with just under a decade of experience under his belt since making his first appearance at the MLG Championships in 2014, in Columbus, Ohio. Since then, Cap has done all it in Dota, including play-by-play commentator, analyst, host, interviewer, and occasional DPC Div II player.
But how has Cap managed this longevity and variety? And what's it been like adapting to his newest role in the SEA DPC? We sat down with him to talk casting Dota, regional differences, and more!
Like many casters, Cap started out disliked by the community, mainly because he wasn't somebody else. New casters are often compared to their more-experienced peers. But according to Cap, this reaction galvanized him, making him work hard to win them over.
After the initial reaction from the community, Cap felt that he might have to change his style and personality. But in the end, he doesn't think he really changed that much at all. He just got better. Who he is as a person and as a commentator never changed; the community just got used to him.
As a personality, he became more secure in his job and a bit more confrontational. He is more willing to call the community out, especially when he feels like they are going in the wrong direction:
"I get into scuffles with Reddit every once in a while, and I think that the Me Too movement changed a lot of my perspective for both myself and my role within the community, along with my view on the community. Both good and bad, shaping a healthy amount of who I am today."
Obviously, the Me Too movement shook the Dota 2 scene, and changed a lot about it, but not everything. But Cap believes we're heading in the right direction. Of course, there's always room for improvement. He's the kind of person that's pretty critical, so he sees room for improvement in everything, which is one of the reasons he's gotten better over the years:
"I rarely feel like people are giving their all when it comes to something, including myself. I think that I'm a pretty hard worker, but I know I can do more."
What's it like to cast so many regions?
After casting in mostly Europe and North America, Cap has settled into the Southeast Asian region. He felt that Western Europe is spoiled for choices when it comes to talents, so he's happy to be casting in SEA again, as he used to cast the region a lot way back in his early years. However, hedrifted apart from casting the SEA region as a caster due to living in North America, because the time difference made it harder to cast in.
"It's the middle of the night, I live in an apartment, I don't want to be that neighbor who's screaming at 3:00 a.m., so I'm happy to be back to casting SEA again. "
Due to his dedication to being brutally honest, he's pretty agnostic when it comes to the regions and the teams he supports. He doesn't care who wins and loses at this point, and he's never been one to have a favorite sports team or anything like that. What he cares about is that he gets to see a good game of Dota. And if you aren't good at the game or entertaining, then that's not what wants to see. In his experience, regions that are the most entertaining to watch, in order, are Western Europe, China, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America, with North America at the bottom.
Has Cap considered branching out to other non-Dota titles?
When asked whether he has considered branching out to other games, Capitalist believes that it's really hard for esports commentators to diversify, as viewers are good at picking up on what's real and what's fake. A commentator has to be genuinely passionate about the game that they are covering, as the community's good at being able to read the commentator.
There's no other game that Cap comes close to being as passionate about as he is about Dota. He has obviously played other games and has ventured into casting some other games, such as For Honor and done some stage hosting for packs in Gray Goo. He found casting Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and For Honor fun, but they weren't his main game. After all, he says he would not be able to compete with the dedicated commentators, as they live and breathe the game — just like he does with Dota 2
Cap on how are SEA Dota pubs are compared to NA?
As someone who sees all of this from the inside, especially as someone very close to the game as a caster, Capitalist's found that he likes playing SEA pubs more than North America. He says NA is full of ego players, which can be hard to play with. But in comparison, SEA lacks a lot of direction in the games he plays.
During a recent interview, MidOne said that SEA is the hardest region to make a TI-winning team out of, due to culture. Cap can't say confidently that culture is the reason, but he knows that SEA definitely needs better leadership to reach TI-winning form.
How is it casting with SVG?
"I've really enjoyed casting with Avery, he's the most try-hard of all the talents I've worked with."
Cap went on to elaborate that the fact that Avery "SVG" Silverman comes from a pro-player background means his mind is set up for more grinding. That means pouring over analysis, getting better, then doing something, and figuring out who's good and bad at it, then doing his best to get better. That resonates with Cap, because he is self-critical, and he goes through the replays to get better. He attributes that work-ethic to the success he's had as a commentator.
Working with someone like SVG means that they are able to talk about the product to try to make it better. This has allowed them to get better quickly, even if they felt they started off as not so amazing a year and a half ago. But Cap believes they got really good over the past 12 months.
"I think we've reached maybe a nice honeymoon period, starting towards the end of TI and we did some of our best casts there."