Gonna start with congratulating Team Liquid who had an amazing run in the tournament from the lower bracket! Fun to see Kuroky finally get the aegis!
The text is quite long, starting with when I first got word about going to TI as talent.
Bruno reached out to me about a month before TI, some time after the regional qualifiers ended. He asked me if I wanted to be on the panel and my initial answer and feeling was no. I’ve been asked to paneling some times before at events like Dream League but never really felt that it was my thing. Didn’t take long for Bruno to convince me though, he said he knew I would do great and that I was gonna be on during the main event together with PPD, Merlini and Day9. Hearing that it was these guys that I was gonna work with made me a bit more comfortable since I had PPD with me to give the pro insight and I’ve always liked Merlini. Never had any experience with Day9 before but he seemed like a nice guy. I told Bruno I wanted the weekend to think about it but I found myself shopping a suit the day after so apparently I had already unconsciously accepted.. :D
During the time between that and the event I tried to prepare as much as possible by watching events and think of how people played and picked. I would walk around at home talking about a game and make up scenarios to talk about.
Fast forward to TI. Met up with Bulldog and sinneddonut (Bulldog’s girlfriend) at the airport and hanged out with them while traveling. Had never met sinneddonut before but it was fun to talk to her and get to know her a bit. When we arrived in Seattle Bulldog didn’t make it through customs and I didn’t see them again after that :(.
When I got to the hotel I met up with some of the other talent and casters. I made sure to talk some to PPD to get to know him a bit better before we were gonna work together. Never really spoken to him and it’s good to know the people you are up there working with. Had a nice lunch and later on in the evening it was time for the player dinner. My initial thought was “shit, are we allowed to go there? Since I’m not a player now..” but as I thought about it I also remembered that all the talents and casters has been to them the past years so obviously I could go now as well ^^. It’s quite a fancy restaurant so I dressed up in my suit and went to the shuttle but I have never felt so over dressed in my life. I forgot most people just go to the player dinner in their team clothes or at most have a dress shirt on. I missed Loda who always would dress up for occasions like this with me but I guess I went a bit overboard with tie and pocket square and all. Oh well, the dinner was super good and I got to hang out with the guys from OG which was fun. I felt a bit lost during some part of the event because I’m so used to going to the tournaments together with a team and hang out with them. Now I was there “alone” even though I obviously was welcome to join the other talents and casters.
Group stage starts but I don’t really have anything scheduled until the main event. I spent the days watching games, writing things up about the teams like if I noticed them do anything specific or something I knew about the teams. Stuff to remember to be able to talk about when the team is playing during the main event. Only thing I had scheduled during this time was to record a piece with Slacks and Pyrionflax but it never got aired. Apparently it was hard to cut into something good, well at least I got to go to Benaroya Hall again and see the place where we played the TI3 finals!
Main event starts. We are scheduled to take the 7 am shuttle. I set the alarm at 6:10 am but I think I woke up even before that, it was hard to sleep. I didn’t feel so well, I’ve never been this nervous in my whole life. I get to the shuttle and go to the venue where we have a morning meeting together with the producer, Kaci, Slacks etc. Everyone that are here looks super confident, talking and laughing with each other. I guess what I noticed was that I’m quite different than most people that were working here. In situations like this I’m quite shy and silent, I’m just thinking about the broadcast and that I’m so nervous. To be fair I’m not really sure why I was so nervous to begin with. I think it has something to do with that since I was there as a talent, I had certain expectations on me compared if I would join the panel as a player sometime during the event. Then I would be there as a player and no one would judge me if I didn’t do a perfect job, if that makes any sense.
I spoke a lot to my girlfriend throughout the whole event which helped me a lot. She gave me pep talks before and after the first couple of segments (actually between all segments she could watch ^^) and told me I did a great job which I really needed to hear :D. I tried to stay away from social media because I felt I would get really hurt if someone tweeted me something mean. Usually I don’t really care if someone tweets something bad or mean, I’ve learnt to deal with that in the past when someone is angry that we lost a game or didn’t like something I did during a game but when it comes to playing I’m very confident and good at separating good criticism from bad. But when it came to this, something that I was very insecure doing, I couldn’t deal with it at all. Luckily I have the best fans in the world who just wrote nice things to me and I really appreciate it, it made me being able to get more secure and better throughout the days. Love you guys.
I was very nervous the first two days but after that I started to feel more confident. There was even a time where when we were done with a segment I felt I just wanted to get up there again and talk about the game. The easiest part was talking about the draft and it was also quite fun. PPD and Merlini were very easy to talk to and fun to hang out with. The hardest segments was in the beginning of a day when we would recap the day before and things like that. The first day was especially hard since everything was very vague. The teams hadn’t played any games on the main stage yet and I feared getting a question like “Akke how does Newbee play”. Luckily Day9 asked me before we went live what I didn’t want to be asked so he knew I didn’t want a question like that but I was amazed of how PPD could just go on and talk about those things. PPD would be like “well they play more like the western teams, they like to focus around this player and tend to have a lot of team fight” and so on.
Day9 was super fun to work with. I’m not sure how he do it but the energy he had the whole days were just amazing. Constantly happy, joking around at the same time as he was very serious about what was going on. In the end, even though I was super nervous in the beginning and all that I’m very happy I got the chance to do this. I feel like I’ve grown as a person, gotten a really cool life experience to be at the panel during an event with hundreds of thousands of viewers. It was also a lot of fun to get to see how the broadcast team work and everything behind the scene.
I would like to sincerely thank Valve for giving me the opportunity to do this. It’s been two great weeks and it was fun to get to meet you all again. Thank you!