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OZORAVEKI - "I used to be the kind of youngster who only looked at the present and never at the future."
From League of Legends Challenger to Mobile Legends Warrior
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Hey there eGGlets we are starting a new weekly series of exclusive interviews where we speak to local and international esports personalities. Through these conversations, we want to hear and share their stories and experiences; taste their high points and low moments.
This week we spoke to Poon Kok Sing a.k.a OzoraVeki - the famous Malaysian League Of Legends player in Malaysia turned to Mobile Legends. Wanna know why? Well, let’s check it out.
Emergence of Ozora Veki
“I got my name Veki when I was 10 years old while I was watching The Law of Ueki. Being 10 years old, I wanted a name for myself, and I liked how strong and resilient the character Ueki was. I decided then that I wanted to name myself after him,” Ozora Veki remembers fondly. The anime, The Law of Ueki was quite famous back then and the name stuck with him for 4 years. It was later that he picked up another name from the anime Katekyo Hitman Reborn.
He added “Ozora means a big sky, which is a symbol of harmony and peace. Not only that my sibling's name is also related to the sky - he calls himself Skydreamer, and my sister calls herself Skyly. Think about it, it was pretty cute.”
One small happy family
He lived in Seremban, the capital city of Negeri Sembilan and is the second child with an older brother and a younger sister - all raised by a single mother. When they were young, he would spend his free time playing games with his brother. That would mean playing whatever game his brother was interested in. When he tried playing League of Legends (LoL), he was attracted to the rune and masteries system in the game. Furthermore, he said “The graphics for the champions were also more attractive for me as well! Besides, the LoL map theme was also brighter compared to Heroes of Newerth (HoN) and Defense of the Ancients (DotA). I personally enjoy the brighter theme that LoL offered so I stuck with the game even though I did try the other MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) that were popular back then.”
First steps in the esports scene
In 2012, Ozora Veki joined his first tournament at the age of 14. It was held in Kuala Lumpur and at that time it was far for 14-year olds to travel but he said “I still remember that journey all the way from Seremban to Subang Jaya for that tournament. Passion gave me strength to take this first big step. Unfortunately, we lost in the second round, but it was a valuable experience.”
Before he finished his studies and joined Kuala Lumpur Hunters (KLH) in 2014, he spoke to his mother about his dream to pursue a career as a professional esports player. It took several days for him to convince his mom to allow him to continue in esports after he finished school. Ozora Veki is insistent that playing games did not affect his studies. “I passed every subject, and even got an A for Maths all the way.” He managed his time between studies and esports because knowledge and education are very powerful assets in life.
Ozora Veki never stopped
Ozora Veki achieved a lot of success In the 3 years he was with KLH. He was a famous AD (Attack Damage) carry in Malaysia and in every tournament the team joined, people trembled in fear when they heard the name Kuala Lumpur Hunters. In 2017, Ozora Veki made history in the Malaysian LoL scene by becoming the 1st Malaysian LoL player to be recruited to join a professional league in a major region. It was huge news and his popularity in the Local LoL esports scene continued to grow.
He left Malaysia to join the Hong Kong Attitude who were playing in the League of Legends Master Series. The league consisted of teams from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Where did he find the inspiration to switch regions? He said, “seeing teams from Taiwan performing well, especially Taipei Assassins, who won the LoL World Championship Season 2 and the Garena Premier League (GPL) in the SEA region, inspired me to work hard and made me dream to be like them.” He explained more “my dreams or goals actually changed from time to time. When I first started I just wanted to be the best player in Malaysia. Later on, I just wanted to do well in the GPL and gradually I want to actually win it all and make it to Worlds. It is professional player’s dream to qualify for Worlds.”
The Hunter came back
After a few months with Hong Kong Attitude, he decided to come back to KLH. BUT WHY? “To be honest, it wasn’t the easiest decision to make. But ultimately, I wanted to make it to the World Championships with a Malaysian team to help out the Malaysian scene. You see, I knew that the Malaysia League scene was not doing well. Secondly, I actually love Malaysia a lot: the environment, the food and the people - it really was home, and no place has ever matched that,” he said.
Soon after that, he helped the team win the The Legends Circuit (TLC) Malaysia Summer 2017 and also the LCM Spring 2018.
Next, they competed in an international event called Hyperplay held in Singapore. The tournament consisted of 10 teams from the ASEAN region and each team represented their own country. His team, KLH, represented Malaysia at Hyperplay and surprisingly (even to them) they won the tournament with style. He said “Hyperplay was the first time that I won in an international tournament. I remember shouting ‘Malaysia BOLEH’ proudly at Hyperplay with Malaysians in the crowd, and it felt so, so good! I’ll never forget that moment.”
“In my mind, I was thinking: finally! We did it; we achieved an unprecedented victory.”
No more competitive scene?
Looking back, Ozora Veki noted that while he was with KLH, the LoL scene in Malaysia was getting worse day by day. He explained “there were definitely issues with the game publisher and what tilted me was that League was such a wonderful game in SO many regions across the globe - and it was continuously growing. Even the Japanese server which started late compared to ours were already franchising their professional league. And then you look at SEA as a whole; besides Vietnam, every region was actually declining. That’s when you know something was seriously going wrong.”
He added more “despite how dead the LoL scene was in Malaysia, there were still players that wanted to compete and continue their esports dream. Right now it is the new competitive season for LoL and currently, there are no news or information about ANY of the upcoming tournaments for LoL. How can a competitive esports game survive without ANY tournaments? Just imagine that.”
No more LOL
In September 2018, Ozora Veki decided to leave KLH and the LoL esports scene, and the news surprised many. His reasons? A relationship and national pride. “I had 2 main reasons for leaving the League competitive scene. The first was my girlfriend. I actually do love her very much and wouldn't really want to go through a long-distance relationship anymore because my previous relationship didn’t work out for this reason. Hence, I tried looking for the most popular game in Malaysia, and it was Mobile Legends.” He added “secondly, I really do love the feeling of representing my own country and to make my country proud. Winning for Malaysia, or whatever your country is really does feel different when it comes to international events. I felt that with Mobile Legends, I still had a chance. Given the current situation with LoL, Hyperplay could have been the last biggest thing I’d ever win with the team.”
A New Era
In October 2018, Ozora Veki started playing Mobile Legends. He said “mobile MOBAs are generally about your game sense and your brain, and not so much about your mechanical skills. This is because the controls are really limited. Sometimes I lose interest in grinding to climb the solo rank ladder because it isn’t so much about how you can play a hero better, but about how the team can play better. You obviously can’t always expect your teammates to work together when playing solo. Mobile MOBAs for me is a condensed MOBA game compared to their PC counterparts. This is because they remove certain features that require a lot more in-depth knowledge and understanding of the game, like vision and warding, laning phases, and raw mechanical skills - but they still contain the "core" fun elements in MOBAs which include styling over your enemies, and playing PVP with your friends.”
Before he started playing competitively, Ozora Veki asked a lot of people about Mobile Legends and fortunately his brother and Edwardo help him to understand more about Mobile Legends scene. Afterwards, he said “playing with MYA for a short period also did help me to get a better grasp of the pace of high level competitive play. After that it was about grinding and theorycrafting, also transitioning the knowledge and game sense I learnt from LoL to MLBB.”
After that, in November 2018 he started Project O and participated in the Malaysian qualifier of the Mobile Legends Professional League (MPL) Season 3. Sadly, his team did not manage to get through to the regular season and he said that “I will lead my team and try to make it into MPL S4.”
Do not work in esports!?!
Recently, he made a Facebook post that read “If I have a son, I will cut off his hands if he decides to play competitively.” It was a strong statement and naturally, people were curious. He said “it was sort of a joke, but it had elements of truth inside. Maybe esports will be better in the future, and I won’t be required to cut his hand off. Esports is still in its early stage right now in Malaysia, so your future income is not really guaranteed. I used to be the kind of youngster who only looked at the present and never at the future, I also only cared about myself and didn’t really consider the consequences of the career path I inadvertently chose. When I grew older, I realised having a stable career and income is really important - not only for yourself - but also for your loved ones. For people that wants to have a proper family or relationship, I strongly suggest you do not work in esports - for now. BUT I STILL LOVE ESPORTS THOUGH, it made me what I am now and there are a lot of interesting experiences in esports that you can't get by doing a normal job!”
“I learnt so much over the years, especially between 2017 and 2018 that has made me a totally different person. Without naming them, I have to say a big thank you to all my previous managers, teammates and sponsors for making me who I am today. Also, I am immensely grateful to all my coaches who kept on pushing me and continually offered me opportunities to play internationally. I also want to thank the new people that I have met in the MLBB community that have believed in me despite me not having any experience in the game. I am really grateful for all the teaching and experiences that you guys have given me. And last but not least, I am really thankful to my fans who have kept on supporting me through the highs and lows while waiting for me to make a comeback. I’m sorry that I am in a different game now, but I hope you too can share my enjoyment of this game.”
Keen to follow what Ozora Veki is up to? You can watch him stream Mobile Legends, and do other crazy stuff here!