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Under the Spotlight: Luminous
Submitted by supa_fly on Wed, 12/05/2010 - 03:04

Under the Spotlight: Luminous

David 'Luminous' Zhang is known for making people smile. He is the co-founder and leader of Dota Commentaries, and a long-time DotA commentator.

Luminous developed a passion for commentating professional DotA matches. He soon began taking on other ambitions, like educational DotA videos in efforts to aid the learning process for new DotA players. Through his educational videos and shoutcasts, he grew quite a large viewer audience.

Recently, he along with his friends launched a new website dedicated to DotA shoutcasts: Dota Commentaries. The site provides thorough commentaries and has built some noticeable activity. Listen in as gets the first word from Luminous himself.
Hello Luminous, thanks for taking out time to have an interview. Please tell us something about yourself and your work for the ones new to you.

Luminous: Thank you for giving me an opportunity to talk to you. My name is Luminous, and I am a Dota Commentator. Unlike Dota Shoutcasters, I primarily commentate off from replays. The games that I generally focus on are professional games that are played in tournaments, though sometimes I cast inhouse games of scrims or non-professional players. Throughout my commentaries, I talk about strategy, item builds, each time’s mindset, amongst many other things that come across my mind. I also pride myself with my Pusher-Hates.

Outside of Dota, I am finishing my last year of university, and getting ready to jump into the work force. I really enjoy reading, I am currently writing a novel, and I watch lots of anime.

Since when did you develop your love for DotA? How did you come across the game and how did the idea of commenting on competitive games come?

Luminous: I first saw Dota being played 4 years ago on my roommate’s monitor, and it looked quite fun. There was love since day 1, when I moved into Shackle and got wtfbbqpwned by an enemy Ursa Warrior. I eventually got (a little) better, and moved into vouch leagues. I really love Dota for the huge learning curve, and the depth of strategy that’s available to players of all skill level.

I got the idea about commentating on Dota games when I came across several Starcraft commentaries. There weren’t any Dota commentaries that I found on Youtube, so I did some myself. At first I used these commentaries as a way to improve my Dota knowledge and speaking skills, but I have grown to enjoy commentating and providing strategic analysis to my viewers. My commentaries on day 1 were horrible, and now, they are less horrible.

How do you decide what games to commentate on? Any particular memorable one?

Luminous: Sometimes it is very hard to find a good game to commentate. I hate knowing the result of the game that I am about to cast, so I am afraid to lurk the forums for good replays. Fortunately, my viewers do a great job of recommending exciting games to me, as they already know that I like to commentate on even, exciting and high kill count games. If all else fails, I use the Epic Dota Replay Blog to find great replays (and now that it’s gone, I cried a river T_T)

The most memorable game I’ve ever casted is MYM versus Fnatic, around November of 2009, where Fnatic made a historic push with 5 Necronomicons. I was giddy seeing the Necro parts on all of the Fnatic heroes, but the most exciting part was that I had no clue who was going to win it till the very end. Best game ever.

As you said, you shoutcast only the games already played. Do you plan to do live shoutcasts in the future?

Luminous: I don’t think I have a flexible enough schedule to do commentaries live, being that I am a full time students, and I also have a couple of part time jobs. I really appreciate guys like Invalid and Madmortigan (correct my spelling please ), because they really invest a lot of time for the community. Also, I feel that most Dota games are fairly one-sided, and that’s a huge turn off for me – I really like to select games that interest me. I don’t think I will be doing live shoutcasts anytime soon, but if I do, I will keep them during the weekends.

Recently you launched a new website, Please tell us how the idea struck and why it is so special.

Luminous: There are quite many Dota commentators on Youtube, and one day I just thought, wouldn’t it be great if we would all be located in one place? So I contact the other commentators and asked whether they want to build a website together, and everything snowballed from that point on. As much as I won’t like to admit it, some of my viewers don’t particularly enjoy my style of commentating, but DotaCommentaries allow them to check out many different options, as well as a lot more other games commentated by others.

The most special thing about DotaCommentaries is the nice community to it. We have our own IRC built in, as well as our own TeamSpeak 3 server, so we often play a lot of inhouse Dota games. We always have hosts around (both NA and Euro), so we can always get Dota games going. The guys (and girls) there are pretty chill, and I’ve grown to know them enough to banter around. Though some of us (Nebula) nerd rages quite hard, all of us have a great time playing non-leaver Dota. Once a while I organize “Viewers Game”, or 12-hour-long Dota sessions in which we go on a massive Dota spree, and at the end of the day I select a game from the Viewers Game to commentate on. These viewers game allows me to hang out with the viewers that I don’t usually get a chance to, due to time zone or schedule difference, and they are always a blast.

Give us an overview of your fellow commentators.

Luminous: There have been so many commentators, but I’ll write a book about them if I talk too much about them
ian – he’s the mysterious cool guy that always ninjas around, and delivers great, enjoyable Dota commentaries when you least expect it
Lazzarrath – a wc3 commentators that does Dota from time to time, really have some off the wall jokes that’ll catch you by surprise
Darth – Euro commentator, a great guy, always lags when we play Dota, and for some reason can never save his audio files for his commentaries
Restocker – Another Euro commentator, I think he will become one of the best commentators ever if he actually commentates more games
Hobbes3 – the guy I love to hate, the dual commentating whore – cuz he’ll do it with anyone. Really a great addition to any commentary, provides great insights.
and finally…
Nebula – my clan mate, first great Dota friend, and guy that always ignore deadlines. We love to joke around, and with him being the strategic guru, our commentaries are quite humorous and popular.
Well, looks like a lot of funny stuff going out there. Coming back to DotA, what do you think about DotA and its future?

Luminous: Dota has a very promising future. As a commentator, I am very excited for the upcoming tournaments like SMM and ESWC, since big tournaments always bring big games. Like the rest of the Dota community, I am also looking forward to the Valve game that’s coming out ‘soon’. Under IceFrog’s careful guidance, I am quite confident in the direction that Dota is heading towards. Deep down in my heart, I sincerely wish that Dota has less flame and more respect, especially in the Western communities, so we as a community can be taken more seriously by the tournament organizers.

Short answer response questions:
Favorite hero: Crystal Maiden
Favorite team: MYM
Sentinel or Scourge?: Sentinel
One word to describe IceFrog: Mysterious
Thank you, David, for spending time for this interview. Any last words to your fans/viewers or anyone else?

Luminous: Huge thanks to the guys on DotaCommentaries staff, especially Uareanoob, Corelight, and DarkWizard, without them the website would be a 404 page right now. Huge shoutout to the other commentators that are working hard to provide great commentaries for the community, as well as the guys that hang out in our IRC and TS3. Finally, thank you again for providing me an opportunity to reach out to the community, much appreciated.
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