Dota 2 Q&A with team leader of PMS Asterisk*

We speak to Tammy "furryfish" Tang Zhao En about her team's move to Razer and her thoughts on the upcoming Valve multiplayer online battle arena.

No doubt readers have heard about PMS Asterisk*, the first female Dota group, officially joining Razer's pro-gaming ranks. GameSpot Asia recently had a word with PMS Asterisk* team leader Tammy "furryfish" Tang Zhao En, who also happens to be in charge of the community, e-sports, and social networking aspects of the peripheral company.

GameSpot Asia: Are your ties with Razer the sole reason PMS Asterisk* joined with the gaming peripheral company for promoting female gaming?

Tammy "furryfish" Tang: Well, I've been working at Razer since 2007, and I've been in my team since 2005. I believe that my ties aren't the sole reason. If it were, my team would have been sponsored much earlier! Before all this, we've been approaching and have been approached by laptop and hardware brands.

The PMS Asterisk* team.

It's more of a two-way thing being with Razer--they see the benefit of us being officially under them, and we enjoy using their products. Clan PMS also has a pool of sponsors, and the benefits trickle down to us here in Asia.

GSA: Your team has been the spokespeople for the Cyber Wellness campaign in Singapore. How did that come to be?

TT: I believe we started representing the campaign since last year's Licence 2 Play event in Singapore. We play the ambassadors of healthy and responsible gaming.

Our role is to educate the gamers on how they should present themselves, behave, and react to online situations like cyber bullying. I guess we teach by example! Our objectives are to change the negative perceptions about gaming and gamers, which will lead to a more vibrant competitive scene in Singapore, and a more supportive community.

It has opened up a lot of opportunities for us. We attended the Digital Youth Awards-organized tournaments in Singapore and Shanghai, and we've been invited to participate again this year in December.

GSA: How were you approached by Singapore's Cybersports and Online Gaming Association in the first place?

TT: Dawn "pinksheep" Yang is actually on the SCOGA board together with our ex-teammates from renowned Singapore gaming clan X3M. The board found us suitable for the job because we are pretty good examples of "healthy gaming" and "responsible gaming"--we've got full-time jobs, we're educated, we have a life outside of gaming, and we prioritize our time decently. Also, it helps that we're quite well known in the gaming circle and are public figures in a way.

GSA: What are your thoughts on Dota 2 at this point from a team perspective?

TT: It's still pretty raw--not many heroes have been ported over yet, and we've had a few small hiccups with the reconnection system. But in spite of the teething problems, it's a good game, and the feeling you get when playing it is almost the same as in the first game. It's definitely very faithful to the original.

I see it as a new start for the Dota scene. A lot of retired/dormant players have come back to play the game in preparation for Dota 2, and there seems to be a lot of support for it from both the community and the organizers. SMM will be using Dota 2 for their annual competition which boasts over 60k USD as their prize pool. We're hoping to attend that, since it will be our first Dota 2 event.

We're pretty excited, but we're not sure how things will play out. One of us recently had been accepted into a full-time position for a job which will keep her very busy. She's not going to be easy to replace in the team.

GSA: Are there any major differences your team found?

TT: There are now customizable controls: you can either play with the legacy keys or the QWERTY keys as your hero skills. The UI is different, and the reconnecting system is probably the biggest change.

As for individual characters, the shadow fiend was a little buggy. The character's attributes are scaled wrong, but these are probably just teething problems. The pace of the game is more or less the same, but the selection of the heroes still limits how the game can be played for now.

GSA: Is it safe to assume that the team will be competitively focused on Dota 2 once it hits shelves next year? Has your team considered League of Legends or Heroes of Newerth on a competitive basis?

TT: We're aiming to be competitive in Dota 2, of course. We did consider the other multiplayer online battle arena titles (MOBA), but somehow we were still most attracted to Dota, even though the scene went a little quiet for a while.

Having said that, we had been invited to take part in other events like the Road to Los Angeles LoL tournament and the Singapore GameFest's HoN tournament last year.

GSA: Who is your most-used character in Dota and Dota 2? Why do you use him/her often in tournament play?

TT: I'm a support player, so I usually play range casters. In Dota 2, I'm mostly attracted to female heroes like Windrunner, Drow, Mirana, so I play them the most often. They look good!

For more information on Tammy "furryfish" Tang, check out GameSpot Asia's interview with the pro gamer last May.

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