Sheever on the front page of a Dutch newspaper

Sheever on the front page of a Dutch newspaper

Jorien "Sheever" van der Heijden is on the front page of one of the biggest free newspapers in the Netherlands. “Guess what she does for a living”

The magazine is in Dutch, but Sheever explained that the news is titled “Guess what she does for a living”, and on page 5 it compares her to a Dutch famous sports panel host.

A Dota 2 fan and Redditor, u/nelsonbestcateu, translated and shared the piece in English. He gave us permission to post it here.

The original article in Dutch is copyrighted by Metro, a free newspaper distributed daily since 1999. Metro is owned by Telegraaf Media Group (TGM)

Jorien Earns her Living by Playing

What Jack van Gelder was for football (He was the Netherlands’ most popular sports commentator) Jorien van der Heijden is for Dota 2. Even if her name might not ring a bell, her alias Sheever will.

Working as a computer saleswoman during the day and online general by night. A line that could have come straight from one of Paul Jambers’ programs (Used to be a popular TV presenter with controversial topics).

But this was what Jorien van der Heijden’s life was like for a long time.

I’ve played World of Warcraft enthusiastically for years. I used to be a raid officer in that game, a kind of management position.

Five or six nights a week we used to all raid together. At one point in time it just lost its magic. I didn’t play because of the game anymore but because of the people I played with. After I realised that I quit cold turkey.

It only took Jorien 2 weeks to find a new game: That’s how long it took for her to get her requested Dota2 beta key: A permission to play Defence of the Ancients (Dota) 2 while it was still under development. In those 2 weeks she planted the seed for her current career. She even knows the exact starting date:

11 November 2011, the release date of Skyrim (A roleplaying game). I’ve played that game for 2 weeks straight at nights. Alone, because it’s a single player game. After that I was already kind of done with it already.

Fraction of a Second

For Jorien the game starts becoming more fun when there are more levels at which the game unfolds.

Dota is three-dimensional chess. You react to what happens in the game in real time. You are continuously taking decisions, which influences the pace of the game. At the same time your teammates and the opposing team do the same.

You play with 5 people on your team and the game has 112 heroes, so you can always change the path you want to take. If you win there’s a great sense of accomplishment and you want to play again right away.

This also happens when you lose because your friends or foes sometimes do something incredible which makes you think “I want to do that!” And you immediately want to try that.

Strangely she doesn’t earn her money by actually playing the game.

I’m not good enough for that.

The real good players are really very smart, where I need a minute to plot my next move they see their chances in fractions of a second and immediately know what the consequences of those actions will be.

They are thinking 7 steps ahead.

The Big Bucks

Players who are good play for money. The big bucks. Dota2 is a competition with a growing prize pool: During the last edition in August there was over 24,7 million dollar to be won.

Just like a football competition a Dota2 tournament is about more than just playing. There is pre and post game analysis, ex pro players who give their take on the game. In that area it is where Jorien build her career:

My role is to lead the discussion during the pre and post game analysis, so the viewers at home get some insight on the game and the players. Really a sort of Jack van Gelder, yeah.

Joriens commentating career took off during those 2 weeks of Skyrim.

I used to stream my gameplay on Twitch.tv, my friends used to watch me. It wasn’t at all about the money. I just liked doing it.

Next to her job as a computer saleswoman she started organizing Dota2 tournaments for amateur players, for which she wanted to generate more publicity.

That’s why Jorien and her admin (from her twitch channel I assume) also streamed those games on Twitch.tv.

Because we thought it would be a little awkward to just watch the games on Skype in silence we decided to comment on them as well. That took notice and we were asked to commentate various tournaments more and more.

Glorious Future

When Jorien had to quit her job as a saleswoman for economic reasons and got a bonus for quitting, she decided to go with Dota2 all the way. Her timing seemed perfect.

Dota2 was a young game where plenty of matches were being played but where there were hardly any commentators yet. So there was a lot of work to do.

That’s how she ended up in 2012, as an independent contractor, in Seattle. The main stage for THE Dota tournament of the year, The International.

The year after that she paid for her ticket there through donations, in 2014 she could make a living from advertisements and she earned a trip to The International paid for by the organisation.

During that edition I was co-host for a panel, for the pre game analysis. When the host asked me to do the opening ceremony of The International I jumped at the chance and obviously did it.

My first gig as host was opening The International: How cool is that! Because I enjoyed that so much I started focusing on that.

Meanwhile Jorien has business deals and she travels the whole world to comment at games, not just for Dota2, but also for StarCraft, CS:GO and Hearthstone. In short she’s an esports professional, and she sees a rich future for gaming events.

Full stadiums, that’s definately going to happen. It’s just a question if the games will stay the same.

Dota 2 has existed for a while now, and it’s hard to predict to what new game the attention will shift. Whatever game it is, that there’s a huge market behind it, is clear by now.

 

Header Image: Stefan Dorresteijn

Vincenzo is an esports writer with five years of experience. Former head editor for Natus Vincere, he has produced content for DreamHack, FACEIT, DOTAFire, 2P, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.