With Rainbow Six Siege recently celebrating its 4th anniversary, I thought it was a good time to look at what we’ve learned over the past few years when it comes to one of the most important parts of the game. esports, casting. Over its lifetime, Siege has had a variety of casters in its time, ranging from mediocre to amazing, depending on who you ask. However, regardless of your opinion, the range of talent we’ve had allows us to see what works and what doesn’t.

For those new to esports – What is casting? Well, it can be divided into two types. The first is play-by-play casters, they cover the action, break down what’s happening on screen and weave a story throughout the game. The color caster, also known as the analyst, fills in the lull of games, explaining the reason behind a player’s actions rather than describing the action itself. A good launcher will let the audience know exactly what is happening in the game without even looking at the screen. Not only that, but it also acts as a translation for new viewers, which is especially important in Siege. I’ve been playing this game since the beta over 4 years ago and yet I’m learning new things all the time. With that in mind, when someone has never experienced Siege before, it can be quite difficult to figure out what each operator does, which wall is destructible, and generally what’s going on. This is where casters help, they can explain why players are randomly shooting at the wall in preparation or why each operator is settling into a certain position. It can also make viewers familiar with the storyline of the scene, such as roster changes, friends becoming rivals, and new organizations in esports. I think Monkeyfist summed it up pretty well.

“Casting isn’t about telling the audience what’s happening on screen, it’s about taking what’s happening on screen and turning it into a story, giving them that extra flair to help conceptualize on-screen drama, whether enhancing the overall experience or providing context for the casuals who may be less informed.

(Milosh and Mzo throw a 3k by Acez in the Season 8 finale)

Casting is the equivalent of commentary that is prevalent in most modern sports. Whose history dates back to the 1920s, with the first official sports broadcast by the BBC of a football (soccer) match between the two English teams Arsenal and Sheffield United. Also in the same decade radio commentary began for cricket, horse racing and boxing matches, but these did not feature live commentary, but someone at the event was on the phone with the radio host who used the information to piece together what was going on. The cricket commentary also included sound effects to give the illusion that the hosts were at the event, as they sat in the studio. The beginnings of esports begin 70 years later, in the late 1990s, when the SHOUTcast plug-in for Winamp was released in 1998. This gave rise to the first casters, short for SHOUTcasters, who shoot their plugin name. I couldn’t find any evidence of the first casted tournament, it seems to have been lost in time. We do know, however, that Esports tournaments existed before that, with the first commonly accepted taking place at Stanford University for the game Spacewars.

Behind the scenes is the backbone of the casters: the production team. Although these are not as forward facing, they are still vital for flow and casters. Although there are many parts in the production team, I want to focus on two main people; the producer and the viewer. The producer will talk to the cast mainly during the intervals between matches to tell them what they are about to talk about. The viewer controls what the viewer and actors see on screen. In some smaller leagues, the pitcher can also control the camera. Recently, YouTuber and former Rogue Reaper analyst created a video about what made Medicz stand out looking at the OGA Pit miner.

Both of these roles are important because they provide information to spellcasters. The viewer in game information and the producer in stream information respectively. I was surprised when I spoke to the casters that none of them brought this up. A poor spectator means pitchers miss most of the action, leaving play-by-plays to guess what happened.

Likewise, overall production is important. If there are constant rehosts and technical issues, the casters will tire. For me personally, the worst production flaw that degrades casting is during an online duo casting, where one is either in front or behind the other causing delays in their reactions, taking you completely out of the action . Although this is usually limited to smaller leagues or qualifying games that are broadcast by the community, these issues are beyond the hands of the pitchers and yet lead to an uncomfortable situation for both the public and the pitchers themselves.

So, enough about the background, what makes a good spellcaster? Well, I contacted all the spell casters I know to get the advice from the experts. Due to the number of responses I received, I have divided it into subsections which I believe cover the range of their comments.

Organization

Knowledge of the game

Personality

Self-awareness

team relationships

Conclusion

Casting is one of the most sought after roles in esports, usually only behind a professional gamer themselves. For this reason, the competition is fierce and requires a lot of hard work. It is necessary that you sound good, look good and prepare well. Many responsibilities are given to a spell caster and it can be easy to get it wrong, but with time and the will to improve a spell caster, high level gameplay can become an amazing viewing experience and infuse broadcast personality.