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I would like to kick-off by congratulating you and the team on the second place at Insomnia 49. Kieran “DreadKnight” Ghataora, please explain a little about yourself

Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m 21, originally from Manchester where I lived with my little brother & parents. At the moment though I’m at the University of Leeds studying Comp Sci in my 4th year as a masters student. I have a cat that I do actually miss very much since going to university :(. She’s stupidly lazy but I love her all the same haha.

Honestly, my interests outside gaming are most definitely going to solidify my basement nerd status right here. I’m currently trying to get into Warhammer, building an army of Chaos Warriors right now, ( I have bought the battalion and a couple of heroes if anyone’s interested) I also really enjoy DMing D&D (Pathfinder is my system of choice) and obviously, I’m a student so I guess an interest of mine would have to be considered drinking? That’s how it works right…An interest ๐Ÿ˜€

What was it about DotA2 that made you say “I have to play this game” and who or what introduced you to it?

Well, when DotA 2 actually came out I didn’t really want to play it and that’s the reason I have a lot less experience in DotA 2 than some other people. I was an old DotA 1 vet, used to play on what could probably be considered one of if not the top UK team back then (Most likely because there wasn’t really a uk scene back in the day). Literally having played the game for about 2 or 3 years I decided to quit for various reasons, as did a lot of the competitive scene back then and I transfered to other competitive games. When DotA 2 came out I was pretty wary of getting back into it – Fearing the same issues would crop up again, but I started again in November or December of last year with my old DotA 1 team and had a blast and now I’m here! ๐Ÿ˜€

In terms of why I play the game, I am in general a very competitive person inside and outside the game so I am always drawn to play competitive games, I’ve gone through a whole roster of them playing at a decent level in each and currently I’m loving DotA 2. As to specifically why DotA 2? The team aspect mainly, whilst it has its drawbacks and issues, fundamentally DotA becomes a game where the main emphasis of skill is on your teamwork and that sort of skill is really interesting and rewarding.

As to who introduced me originally to DotA – I was a big wc3 player, it was pretty difficult to avoid it! The man that got me my first beta key however was the illustrious Harry Wigget of fnatic, I primarily blame him for all the hours I have sunk into it!


dreadknight @ i49 DOTA2

Dreadknight (centre) on the finals stage at Insomnia 49


Can you please briefly explain what DotA2 and MOBA games entail so someone with no real gaming knowledge would understand the concept?

Sure, at a very high level MOBA games effectively boil down to a simple formula of two opposing sides fight to destroy each other’s main HQ whilst an army of creatures or soldiers from each side attempt to push towards the enemy base down lanes. Everything else is more or less details.

What sets DOTA2 apart for you from the competition? Also are there any updates you feel would greatly benefit the game?

DotA 2 has a very long history of tweaking their formula and attempting to perfect it and I really think that’s the one key aspects along with design principle that DotA 2 has over it’s competition. I could go into depth about what exactly it is about each MOBA but most of my comments would probably be construed as flaming as is the norm in the MOBA world ;p. As an overarching statement I think DotA appeals the most to me due to their intentions with design, the current game state and the experience of the developers when making decisions, especially ones pertaining to balance.

The biggest update right now I guess would be to introduce the remaining roster from the original DotA 1 but apart from that I think I’d love for someone to look some underlying issues that have always been of great controversy in DotA, for example; Radiant vs Dire balance or RNG

To the untrained ear what is Radiant vs Dire balance or RNG?

Radiant vs Dire balance refers to the fact that the map in DotA is not perfectly balanced and certain advantages are had depending on which side you’re on. These can vary from being how easy it is to pull & pull through camps. To bigger advantages such as the positioning of Roshan on the map. By RNG I am talking about the prevalence of certain random based chance effects that stem from the warcraft 3 engine. Once again the issue varies in severity, from heroes like CK who are almost entirely RNG based to minor considerations such as attack damage being randomised.

Thanks, The Valve International 3 has just smashed prize money records of $2.8million. What makes this such an endorsed competitive scene and what are your views on the stature of the scene (how tough is it to get to the top) and also where do you feel you stand and could achieve within this scale?

Valve has done an amazing job of endorsing this competitive scene, it’s clear that they’re really interested in eSports and I for one am really thankful for that. On breaking into TI level, it requires so much dedication and time that makes it difficult to achieve in any small period of time. How we rank? It’s rather hard to place us without intimate knowledge of the scene, but we scrim a lot and are trying to break into the upper echelons of DotA. Right now due to roster concerns we’re facing some problems naturally but when we get back on track and after some work with the new lineups we hope to be competing internationally in some of the bigger open tournaments as we were before.

Tell us about your team, the players and their roles, why you work so well together and what are your plans within the team over the next few months?

We’re 3 very good friends and that’s the base of any good team looking to improve and progressively become a better as a team. Improving is hard, you fail, you do things wrong and without that friendship behind it, the improvement process becomes extremely difficult.

Dreadknight 2nd place DOTA2 Insomnia49

 DreadKnight holds the 2nd place cheque

Me and Antab have been playing competitive games for years, the notable ones being CoD4, SC2 & DotA 1 and have developed great coordination along that time. We’re currently playing the two support roles in the team – Probably the two that require you to be most in sync which makes it perfect for us. Infernokoi would be our carry player, he likes creeps and gold, perfect building blocks for a great carry. I actually met him when I started playing DotA 2 properly. What’s going to make us formidable again is our core of friends who have been playing together for so long that our teamwork is honed. Currently our goal after the restructure is to get back on top of the UK. After that our next goal will be aAa! They have taken two firsts off myself currently and I would love some revenge!

How do you handle being the captain? How do you not let the pressure get to you or do you just thrive off the split second all or nothing decision making?

Being the captain of the team is definitely a difficult task. It’s as much of a job in being able to conduct the game as much as it is being able to conduct people. I’m actually not one of those captains that do everything on the day with no preparation. If you ask anyone that’s been in a team with me or even knows me well they’ll know what you’re talking about if you ask them of the fabled DreadKnight sticky notes or my DotA notepad. I’ve got everything planned out in advance and whilst I could do it off no prep I think it’s much more reliable for me to work out exactly what I want to happen in terms of drafts, schedules and goals. Pressure wise I’d like to think my extensive history in competitive sports in general helps. I’ve played rugby competitively before, DotA, CoD4 & SC2 at decent levels and after a while you just sort of get used to it. I’d like to think pressure is where I thrive now, but preparation never hurts!

Thanks Kieran good luck with the new players that join and upcoming online and offline tournaments. Any Shout-outs?

Thanks, Shout to Adam “Blanks” Heath for supporting us and bringing us into Reason and King dave for “0-2 LAN 10/10 AM”

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Interview by NathanToad