In recent times, with Quality of Life (QoL) upgrades and balance adjustments, we've seen a lot of old names reappearing. Among these we have also seen the return of Khaldor. I have the pleasure of featuring him in the fifth edition of our Content Creator Highlight!
In the past, Khaldor was involved in the WarCraft 3 scene through several ways. Starting of as a community manager for a German website, he later ventured into being manager of 4Kings and Mousesports and also casting various prestigious tournaments.
Eventually he led the caster team at GameSports and became manager of the whole project, leading him to founding the NGL ONE league a year after together with Freaks4U - the company behind GameSports. Khaldor supervised the project until its very end.
With the release of StarCraft 2, Khaldor, together with many others, shifted his focus away from WarCraft 3, to pursue a full-time career in e-sports. Later on he also started casting Heroes of the Storm, and has since become a well known profile within the community.
With the announcement of WarCraft 3: Reforged, Khaldor announced that he'd return to some of his roots and start doing a bit of WarCraft 3 casting again.
Over the past few weeks, Khaldor has been posting almost daily WarCraft 3 videos on his YouTube channel and has been casting several tournaments on his Twitch channel, including some for the group stages of WGL W'18.
With Khaldor's many years of experience in the e-sport scene, his thoughts are always interesting to hear. So let's see what he has to say!
You've just recently made your return to casting Warcraft III. Have you found yourself immediately comfortable with casting the game again?
As so many others the main reason why I got interested again was the announcement of WarCraft 3 Reforged as BlizzCon. Sitting in the audience, watching the trailer, brought back a lot of memories and literally gave me goosebumps! But I also didn't really want to wait for Reforged to come out in 2019, so I decided to start commentating a few games of TFT for fun.
The experience was actually very interesting since the pacing of WarCraft III is so different from StarCraft 2 and especially Heroes of the Storm. Especially in a big team-fight in Heroes you have to convey a massive amount of information, which oftentimes led to "rapgod" moments during HGC commentary. WarCraft III, outside of big late game fights, has a very different rhythm, so I needed a few games to adjust my style to it. I'm still experimenting with a few things but lately I'm quite happy with the results and have a lot of fun commentating the game again. To tell you the truth: I didn't even realize how much I missed casting the game until I finally logged into the client again and loaded up the first game :D
Considering that Reforged is "only" an upgrade to aesthetics and QoL, what do you think will be the long-term effect on the game as an e-sport?
That's honestly a great question. I have absolutely no doubt that Reforged will revitalize the WarCraft 3 Esports scene, you can already see how the interest in the game is growing since the announcement at BlizzCon. The big question will be how sustainable that growth will be in the long run. I think there is a really good chance that the game will become quite popular for spectators and especially in China we should see a lot of hype around the game. Personally I believe that it has the potential to put WarCraft 3 on around the same level as StarCraft 2. A lot of it will hinge on Blizzards decisions regarding the tournament / league environment though. But I certainly believe that there's a very good chance that Reforged will have a healthy, long lasting impact for the Esports scene and will hopefully also show Blizzard that there's a lot of interest in an eventual upgrade into WarCraft IV ;)
What do you think is needed for the game to become a 'mainstream' e-sport again?
It needs to become popular for viewers in order to be a success in the long run. There are a lot of aspects that the interest from the audience will hinge on (storylines, rivalries, balance and so on), but I believe that the most important aspect will be a completely new Observer Interface for the game. We need a lot more information displayed to the audience and the casters to make the game easier to observer and allow the casters to tell a story about the game. Showing supply and resources for both payers is only the first step, but we need much more than that. Starting with the observer features that StarCraft 2 has (show player vision, units/structures in production, upgrade overview, army vs. economy supply, resources lost etc.) would be great but on top of it the UI needs to show a lot more information about the Heroes on each side, since they are one of the most dominant factors in the game.
In the past a lot of Blizzard's games struggled heavily because the Observer Interface was mediocre at best and made it very difficult to keep track of all the necessary information in a game. Addressing this issues from the start in ensuring that Reforged gets released with an Observer Interface that allows to convey all of these things to the audience would definitely be a big step towards a healthy Esports environment for WarCraft 3 Reforged.
Khaldor at BlizzCon'18
If the game becomes popular as an e-sport, do you think it's feasible for you to be a primary profile in both HotS and WarCraft 3?
My plan for the time is definitely to be a part of the WarCraft 3 scene again, but I have no immediate plans to leave Heroes of the Storm either. I'm pretty confident that I'm able to commentate two games on a high level and also think that casting two games that differ as much as Heroes and WarCraft III provides me with some welcome variety. After commentating a game for several years it's easy to settle into a certain rhythm and that's not always healthy, especially since it's very easy to tunnel vision a lot. The pacing of Heroes is completely different to WarCraft 3 and it's been a lot of fun for me to figure out how to approach the casting for both games. As long as my audience enjoys my casts and I still have fun casting the games I'll work as hard as I can to be part of both communities.
You, together with many others, faded away from the game back in the day. Tell us about those days and the apparent loss of interest at the time? Do you still have old qualms with the game?
It was not necessarily a loss of interest but more a question of necessity. I started to commentate WarCraft III while I was still in school and continued to do so throughout my time at university. After I got my degree I went to Australia for a year and decided afterwards that I would try to work in Esports full time. This all happened during a period in which Twitch didn't exist, personal streams were basically unheard of or just emerging and one had to make huge sacrifices to be able to live from the little amount of money that one could earn. And after Blizzard released StarCraft 2 the public focus shifted very quickly and so did the attention big tournaments like Dreamhack (and many others) gave to WarCraft 3 compared to StarCraft 2.
It was a financial question as much as it was a matter of interest. And once I got the offer to commentate StarCraft 2 in Korea the decision was an easy one. In today's online environment that's a very different story. Through Twitch and YouTube it's possible to make a living even with games that are not on top of the Esports food chain (or at least try to establish a second income for one-self).
Thinking back on your previous days of involvement in Warcraft, what is your most memorable moment?
Without a doubt casting the World Cyber Games in 2008 in Cologne. Specifically of cause the match between Moon and Grubby which has achieved a legendary status. Seeing Grubby as the European challenger take down Moon was incredible and being able to cast those games simply amazing. I hurt my vocal cords back then so much that the organizers at first didn't even want me to cast the Grand Final because they were worried about my health. I told them they'd have to fight me off the stage and we agreed that they'd pull me off if it got any worse. Thankfully it didn't, but I still could literally not talk for 2 days after the match. To tell you the truth I was at that point extremely worried that I'd damaged by vocal cords long term and was more than a bit happy when after a few days my voice slowly recovered xD
WCG 2008 - Moon v. Grubby
Can you find time to play the game yourself or are you purely putting attention to casting?
Yes, I started playing again as well. It was actually super funny to play again since I realized that I still remember all the hotkeys ^^ My muscle memory didn't let me down but after all those years it was still quite tricky to get back into it. My first few games were absolutely horrible, but practice makes perfect and I finally started to get back into it again ;)
Who's your favourite WarCraft 3 hero?
Dreadlord, no question. Mostly because it reminds me of the RoC playstyle where you'd usually open up with Dreadlord and play double aura with DL/DK into Frenzy Ghouls + Gargs. I loved that period of the game, it was before I became a commentator and was even able to win a few online tournaments. It was a lot of fun and the hero I associate most with that time is the Dreadlord and the epicness of dropping an Infernal onto a Human's army backline!
Fantastic, thank you for your time and the energy you bring to your content. Any closing though?
Only that I'm really happy to see how many oldschool WarCraft 3 fans are still around and that it's amazing to be back after such a long hiatus! It feels great to commentate the game again and I hope that the community will enjoy the commentary, especially on KhaldorTV on YouTube. And if anybody has feedback they are more then welcome to leave a comment and I'll try to incorporate as much of it as I can! Thanks a lot for the interview, been a pleasure :)
I'm very much looking forward to seeing Khaldor being involved more and more in the scene. He's a talented and dedicated caster/content creator, with a great personality. If you haven't already, I highly recommend you follow him on any or all of the platforms below: