Valve is trying to tear down this barrier of entry to what is already its most popular game ever with the introduction of a new round of Newcomer’s Broadcasts at TI4. These video streams offer alternative commentary on the tournament’s matches, where the game’s jargon is either filtered out or explained so as to improve the spectating experience for the uninitiated. Alas, though the goal is noble, the execution has so far been uneven. The commentators come from the same roster that does the regular game broadcasts and they struggle between being overly simplistic — “the green bars above their heads” represent each hero’s health and LAN means Local Area Network — and utterly impenetrable with discussions of “ganking,” “popping the Aegis,” and being “blown up by the Dagon.”
I have yet to plunge myself into the MOBA craze but this seems like a novel idea, and not just for eSports. While watching a recent San Francisco Giants game, I joked with friends about substitute commentators that continually get sidetracked. What I didn’t suggest (but began pondering) was the inclusion of commentating for the novice viewer, breaking down different stats and rules. It would certainly be interesting to see commentary track choices rated by depth not only built into eSports broadcasts but services such as MLB.tv and NFL Network too.