One of the biggest up-and-coming Dota 2 streamers right now comes from a place you wouldn't expect a Dota 2 player to come from.
Japanese streamer "xiinya" started only streaming in 2021, but she quickly gained popularity when she started streaming Dota 2 and has since become one of the game's rising personalities.
You wouldn't expect a big Dota 2 streamer to come from Japan, where the game's community is very small.
But in xiinya's case, she quickly gained renown after she was embraced by the community in nearby Southeast Asia.
In an interview with Yahoo Southeast Asia, xiinya said that streaming in English has greatly helped her reach out to the massive Southeast Asian Dota 2 community in countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
"In Japan, the Dota 2 community is too small. It's just like a village, not much people watch other streams. But because I was streaming in English, I think that is one of the big reason I am in the Southeast Asian community," said xiinya.
"Most of my viewers were from the Philippines and Indonesia. But after I went to [ESL One Malaysia 2022], a lot of Malaysian viewers came in because I learned a lot of Malaysian words."
Much like other Dota 2 streamers, xiinya broadcasts her matches to her viewers, even if she's not as skilled in the game as them.
But what she brings to the table is more light-hearted content, relatively speaking, such as travel and karaoke streams. By now you should have seen her song about Dota 2's infamous SEA server.
Xiinya's popularity has earned her over 28,000 followers on her Twitch channel, over 17,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, and even a place in the streamer division of Swedish esports organisation Alliance.
All this started when one of her friends introduced her to Dota 2, which led to her learning more about the game's community and esports scene.
"The person who told me about Dota, she's from Indonesia, I learned about the Southeast Asian Dota 2 community from her. [I learned in Southeast Asia] there are a lot of good players, I watched the [Dota Pro Circuit], and I loved Dota more after that," said xiinya.
Xiinya said that her favourite thing about the game is seeing her "enemies die", especially when she's on her favourite hero, Jakiro.
"[My favourite hero is] Jakiro. After level 25, I can use my stun, Ice Path, many times. I just stun, press all of my skills, and then the enemy dies. I love to see my enemies die," said xiinya.
Xiinya's time in the Southeast Asian server has rubbed off on her too, as she has come to embrace the region's patented 'toxicity'.
"At first I got shocked, because they called me 'idiot' or something. But after five or six games, I was already used to it. Whenever they called me an idiot, I always called them an idiot back after that," said xiinya.
Even so, xiinya has seen the good side of the so-called 'toxic' Southeast Asian Dota 2 community, recalling when her viewers banded together to assist her in a difficult time.
"When I went to Malaysia last time, I lost my wallet and got COVID. At the time, I was really in a sad situation. But a lot of my viewers in Malaysia and from outside of the country helped me a lot about that, so I was really touched and it felt heart-warming at the time," said xiinya.
"I really love them, I really want to thank them for supporting me. Even if I turned toxic, they still support me so I am really thankful for that."
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