Community Spotlight: Eiya

Today, we had the privilege of chatting with our Raider.IO Featured Streamer of the week: the talented esports sideline reporter and host, Eiya! In this exclusive interview, Eiya delves into how she entered in the esports industry, the difference between an esports “reporter” and “host”, her favorite events to cast, her prep work for various events, and so much more!

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“So many great things in the gaming/WoW community have started off as passion projects and turned into full-blown careers in the esports/gaming world...Find a niche and fill it.”

Q: Hi Eiya! Let’s do a quick introduction. Please tell us more about you!

Eiya: Hi! I am Eiya and my real name is Gillian. I am a host, sideline reporter, producer, and content creator. I have been playing WoW since early Burning Crusade when my dad started playing. My first character was a Night Elf Druid that I named Eiya. I’ve mained Death Knight since WotLK and I started playing Demon Hunter on the side in BFA. I’ve been pretty busy during Shadowlands, so I’ve mostly been doing mount farming after I got AotC.

Outside of WoW, I have a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism and a minor in Film and Media. I have two cats and I love skiing and rock climbing! I grew up competitively ski racing and playing soccer.

Eiya backstage during BlizzCon in 2018 as a Stats Producer

Q: Let’s talk a little about your history as an esports sideline reporter and host. How did you get into the profession/industry?

Eiya: When I graduated college, I was working part time in the ski tourism industry and also streaming a little on Twitch. I was pretty good friends with the GCDTV people (Dmachine, Clutter, Elbareth, Toxic, and Starship) already. I had made a few videos for their YouTube page and done a bit of social media work for them. They had just lost Healingstat as an admin because he got hired by Blizzard, so they asked me to step in as admin for a little bit. GCDTV kept doing more tournaments and I kept getting more jobs and responsibilities. We started observing the MDI and I also started stat producing, developing the first system to track stats live for the Area World Championship (AWC) shows. So I was admining/stats producing/editing/observing and I always felt like, although I loved what I was doing and working in esports, I wasn’t really utilizing my skills and abilities in full.

In BFA, GCDTV got word that Blizzard was looking for someone to do live interviews at shows. As much as the thought terrified me, it’s something that I have always wanted to explore but never thought I’d have the opportunity. I threw my name in the hat and sent in a video of myself talking about a made-up series as an example of what I could do. Blizzard liked it enough to consider me. My first show was the 2019 AWC Spring Finals. My first ever interview was with Chan and I WAS SO NERVOUS. You could probably find the video and see my hands shaking. What helped the most was that I already knew most of the players pretty well at the time and they were all very helpful knowing it was my first event. I’ll be forever grateful for their support.

For hosting, my first event was a GCDTV 6v6 event. I never thought about hosting before, but I volunteered! After that, I got an offer from Complexity Limit to host their Ny'alotha Race to World First (RWF) event and it went from there! Now I am honored to be able to host the AWC full time.

Most recently, I was given the opportunity to produce some content for WoW Esports as well. So far, this has ranged from interviews with players, to light-hearted pieces of the players talking about upcoming tournaments. These pieces then get used on the WoW Esports Twitter page and during the broadcasts for filler content. I still can’t believe that I get to call this my job.

Q: What is the prep work like for being a caster/host? How do you prepare for different events? Is there any variance in your preparations and methodology for different kinds of events or reporter roles?

Eiya: For my pre-show routine, I usually order boba or make coffee, and then I usually sit at my desk and do my makeup (my desk and mousepad are covered in makeup stains lol) during rehearsals while listening to music. “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac always gets me in the mood. I don’t's my go-to “get up Gillian, you have work to do” song.

For prepwork, it varies from event to event. For example, for the weekly AWC events I don’t need too much prep work since it’s all very fresh. Typically, I’ll look at all the determined matches for the day or possible matchups and look at how those teams have done against each other in the past, what they played, etc. Also I look for any storylines around those matches that I can bring up. This can come from info the players have given us, previous match records, roster changes, things other competing players have said about this team that the audience may find interesting, etc.

For new shows or games that I don’t know very well, I like to learn as much about the game as I can and watch previous vods. Some advice Rich Campbell once gave me on how to host games that you don’t play yourself was to “Watch what the host does and take notes on what questions do well with the other casters/experts”. I also like to touch base with the casters and ask if there are any storylines/points/etc they want to discuss.

Eiya at the MLG Studio in 2017 observing the first-ever MDI

Q: What do you like most about being an esports sideline reporter and host?

Eiya: I love that I get to be creative and have a voice in the community and interface with so many people. From the players to the community to my fellow casters/production, I’m really having such an amazing time.

I’m still fairly new at this role, so I’ve also really enjoyed the process of learning everything I can about being on camera and improving every show. I also have had the opportunity to do other games like Halo, Overwatch, Minecraft, etc. and it's been great being able to step into other gaming communities.

Photo Credit: Reece Martinez for Blizzard Entertainment

Q: What are the hardest parts?

Eiya: Definitely some of the push back from the community. Rich was cherished by not only myself but by the community and stepping into his role hasn’t been easy. Some people in this space will never accept me or like me for all sorts of reasons and that’s something I have to be okay with. Also, damp games are the silent killer.

“It is so misunderstood what my job is on the desk as a host. I am not at all there to offer expert analysis. My job is to fill silence. I am doing so many other things that the audience may not be aware of.”

Q: What would you like people to know about the role of an esports “host”? Do you think that some people may not know the differentiation between host and caster roles?

Eiya: Absolutely. It is so misunderstood what my job is on the desk as a host. I am not at all there to offer expert analysis. My job is to fill silence. I am doing so many other things that the audience may not be aware of. I’m listening to the producer and director’s feedback (they’re always talking in my ear for calls they want to do), I’m introducing the show, I’m ending the show, I’m leading us out of/into break, I’m asking questions so the casters know what to talk about, I’m going over the bracket/giveaways/social media callouts/contests/etc, and introducing the matches. I have to do all of this while keeping pace with the run of the show for the broadcast. If I’m doing my job right, all Ziqo, Ven, and Supatease (or whoever else I’m working with) have to do is analyse and talk about the game. My experience on the desk comes from a production standpoint, not game expertise.

Q: In the recent expansions, we’ve seen you cast for the AWC, the RWF, the MDI, and several large scale community events. What have been some of your favorite events to cast/host for and why?

Eiya: I think community events will always have a special place in my heart. It’s where I got my start and I love the grassroots feel of them. So many people in the WoW community are creating their own tournaments and it's an honor that I get considered for so many. I OF COURSE have to give a shout out to the Mythic+ Charity Pro-Am done in part with Raider.IO, Complexity, and Keystone Masters. It was an amazing event to be a part of and was probably the most I’ve ever tested my skills as a host with all of the different things we were tracking at once! It was so fun and I hope to see more in the future. I also absolutely adore hosting events with Complexity. They gave me my first real shot as a host and they are always so much fun to work - from the players, to the gameplay, and to my fellow casters. I can’t wait for the next one.

My favorite event ever was when I was a sideline reporter at BlizzCon 2019. That event may have been the very last LAN event since covid hit in 2019 (yeesh, it’s been that long???). It was amazing going on stage in front of a massive crowd. I’ll never forget that experience.

Photo Credit: Reece Martinez for Blizzard Entertainment

Q: What is (are) your favorite part(s) of WoW and why? Has Shadowlands treated you well so far?

Eiya: I started out just farming random battlegrounds all day when I was younger because I didn’t really have in-game friends and that's all I had time for with all the sports/extracurriculars I did at that age. These days, I enjoy casual raiding with my guild but like I said earlier in this article I’ve been focusing more on older content during Shadowlands such as mounts and achievement farming. As soon as I finish writing up this document, I am going to log in to The Burning Crusade and level...something. I am not sure yet since I play classes that don’t exist in BC. If you’re reading this, maybe tweet at me about what you think I should level.

Q: If you could eat any WoW food item right now IRL, what would it be?

Eiya: There’s this table of food in The Jade Forest that has always looked pretty fantastic. I recently leveled a panda and I stared at it for far too long.

Q: We’ve seen a lot of your cats Boom and Copper on social media and they have quite the fan following. If Boom and Copper were each a WoW class/spec, what would they be and why? What class/spec do you think you would be if you were an IRL WoW character?

Eiya: Okay this is easy and I established this long ago. Boom is a Boomkin and Copper is a Feral Druid.

Oh man, I would love to be a Druid and I could just shapeshift into whatever. Maybe Feral so I could have the added bear and cat form. Maybe I’m a total nerd, but does anyone else have dreams where they are IN the World of Warcraft walking around Azeroth as your character?

Q: Outside of being an esports sideline reporter and host, what are your favorite parts of being a content creator? Any cool things you’re working on that you’d like to share?

Eiya: I absolutely love that I get to be creative and post my dumb little videos on Twitter and people actually think they’re funny and worth sharing. I’ve actually gotten other hosting gigs from my videos because they liked what I was making and thought I was funny. But posting something that I am not even sure will resonate with other people and have the response be really good from the community (and seeing people share it with their friends) is literally the best feeling ever. There are so many times where I am about to post something and think “man this video is so stupid, no way people think this is funny” and it will do surprisingly well. Other times I think “okay this one will definitely go viral” and it totally flops and figuring all that out is extremely fun.

There are things in the works but it’s a secret :) you’ll just have to follow my socials to find out.

Q: What advice do you have for people trying to get into the esports industry or specifically for aspiring esports hosts/casters? Is there anything else you’d like to add or say to our readers?

Eiya: So many great things in the gaming/WoW community have started off as passion projects and turned into full-blown careers in the esports/gaming world (GCDTV, Keystone Masters, Oasis, etc). Find a niche and fill it.

For hosting/casting, I think being active on social media (especially Twitter) can be an extremely useful tool. Make yourself known. Put in your bio what you want to do. Make your Twitter a place to showcase who you are. Start casting over games and putting it on YouTube and sending it to people who are creating tournaments. You’d be surprised at how many people aren’t actively doing this but still say they want to work in esports. If you’re loud enough, I think you will eventually get noticed, especially with how small our community is. Shoot your shot.

Eiya with the GCDTV crew as a stage admin for MDI in 2018


About the Author

Vitaminpee specializes in tanking classes in WoW and other MMORPGs and loves doing competitive Mythic+. She is the Editor and Assistant Producer of Raider.IO and is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration. She is a partnered Twitch streamer and Discord Partner. Feel free to message her via Twitter for any business-related inquiries.