OUR STREAMERS

Our docuseries, Jalur 14, concluded its run last week with the stars of the episode sharing what they think that the public and our country can do to make the future of esports and gaming better in our country. However, those weren’t the only things that we learnt from the show. The eye-opening series gave us some valuable insights into what goes on behind the scenes. Here are five key takeaways from the show:

Even when you get sponsored, it doesn’t mean things will get better

A lot of esports players have big dreams to get sponsored and be on a good team, but that doesn’t mean all your problems will be solved. Sure, you don’t have to worry about a steady paycheck and facilities to train in, but you still need to work/play hard. And sponsorship doesn’t fix any problems that your team might have in the first place.

For example, Team Saiyan - it was a dream for the players to be playing for such a big brand, but it backfired. Because there was pressure to perform, they crumbled on the big stage. It wasn’t long until the team split up to go their separate ways. Fnatic was treated to a nice bootcamp in Sweden for a month before The International 2015, however, that didn’t solve internal issues within the team. When it came to the tournament, they fell apart and were eliminated in the first round of the lower bracket.

Good captains are hard to find

Friendship in a team is important, but so is discipline. There is usually a distinction drawn between the two in top teams. While you want to be friends with your teammates, you also need to point out their mistakes and correct them when they happen. However, not everybody has the chops to deliver their feedback or criticism clearly. If you can’t communicate properly or your teammates don’t trust you, teams will fall apart quickly.

Captains will make or break teams, and there’s a reason why good ones are respected and so hard to find. It’s not an easy role to play. Being the captain means you are responsible for everything your team does, be it success or failure, you bear the burden. While it also comes with glory, it’s one of the most difficult challenges one can face. Just listen to the stories of Mushi or Ramona to see how hard they struggled in their journey to the top. It’s definitely not for everyone.

You don’t have to give up on your studies to be successful in esports

There’s a common misconception that you need to quit everything to focus on esports if you want to succeed. That isn’t true. You can finish the basic level of education first before going full-time. Dr Yew proved that you can be a successful academician as well as an esports star. Soloz and Fredo finished some basic education before going into esports. ChuChu Gaming finished her studies before becoming a full-time caster. As long as you are determined enough, you'll be able to balance your time between playing and studying. Also, even though the field is full of young people, it’s never too late to join the industry. You don’t have to retire just because you hit 30, there’s a whole career path in esports if you are willing to branch out - which brings us to our next point.

There’s more to esports than just being a player

In episode 4 Soloz confesses that he wasn't great as a coach. Even if you're a highly skilled player, it doesn't mean you can easily make the transition to a coach. Even Mushi had problems getting his teammates to listen to him when he was coaching Mineski. Fredo wasn't winning tournaments when he was in MLBB, his success only came from PUBG. Not everyone is cut out to do everything in esports - that means there's a role for everybody. If you plan to succeed in esports, know what skills you have for what roles there are available.

In addition to being an athlete, you can be a manager, coach, team chef, nutritionist, lawyer, accountant, event organizer, reporter, game developer - and so much more! The game industry isn't just about the esports, and it is still in its infancy. Everyone is trying to figure out what can be done in the space. Here’s your chance to explore uncharted territory!

Streaming is a competitive industry

Yes, Soloz makes streaming look like such an easy or lucrative job - but it isn’t, for most people. He worked hard to get his stream to where it is now - he didn’t become successful overnight. It’s not something that everyone can pick up and just do. Sure, being known in the competitive gaming scene helped boost his numbers in the beginning, but people stayed for his content. Good gameplay is one thing, but you also need a great personality. People will follow streamers to different games regardless of what they play. A great streamer knows how to attract and command their audience.

He gave some advice to aspiring streamers - start with a niche game, build up a following before you decide to compete against the big boys. Because if you have a crowd of loyal viewers, they’ll be able to follow you when you play a more popular game, which will help your numbers improve.

Jalur 14 has concluded, but will still be showing on Astro Awani and AEC if you missed out the finale on eGG Network. Do keep an eye out for reruns on our network! Have you watched Jalur 14? What did you think of the series? Let us know your feedback below.

Jalur 14

A docuseries chronicling the rise of esports and the gaming industry in Malaysia. Jalur 14 recounts the tales of 14 Malaysian icons including Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung, Ng “YamateH” Wei Poong, Mohd Fariz “Soloz” Zakaria, Ahmad Fuad “Fredo” Bin Razali, Andriyana Binti “ChuChu Gaming” Mohamed Ghazali, and more, as they share about their struggles, challenges, and experiences on their path to success.

Covering some of the biggest games in Malaysia, namely, Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang BangCounter-Strike, and PUBG Mobile, Jalur 14 is a must-watch for anybody who’s had any interest in the Malaysian esports and game development industry. From zeroes to heroes, these stalwarts of the scene have all broken their backs putting the Jalur Gemilang on the map.

Jalur 14 is presented to you by eGG Network and Esports Integrated. It is proudly sponsored by Yoodo, Acer, Zotac Gaming and Suncycle.

It's no secret that esports has been growing tirelessly in Malaysia, what with teams representing Malaysia on a global scale, the birth of its first ever esports city, and initiatives specifically catered to nurturing the scene. We're a nation rich in history for esports, which is why eGG Network and Esports Integrated (ESI) teamed up to give you guys history lessons on the community with Jalur 14.

Jalur 14 is a 5-episode docuseries - premiered on 26 November - that sheds light on the untold stories of pioneers and industry leaders, who paved the way for the current generation of superstars. It recounts the tales of Dota legends, Chai ‘Mushi’ Yee Fung, Ng ‘YamateH’ Wei Poong; Malaysia’s first esports gold medalist Dr. Yew Weng Kean; along with young bloods in the industry such as Mohd Fariz ‘Soloz’ Zakaria, Ahmad Fuad ‘Fredo’ Bin Razali, Andriyana Binti ‘ChuChu Gaming’ Mohamed Ghazali; and more. From zeroes to heroes, they share their struggles, challenges, and experiences on their path to success of putting our Jalur Gemilang on the world map.

To have a clearer insight on what type of stories to expect from Jalur 14, here are some exclusive interviews we did with the stars:

Heroes of Jalur 14: Mushi

Heroes of Jalur 14: Soloz

Heroes of Jalur 14: MasterRamen

Heroes of Jalur 14: Wan Hazmer

Catch the fifth and final episode of Jalur 14 this Thursday (24 December), 9pm (GMT +8) on eGG Network Astro CH800. It will also be available on Awani (CH501) this Sunday (27 December), 10pm (GMT +8). The previous fourth episode will be broadcast on AEC (CH346/306 HD) instead on Saturday (26 December), 7pm (GMT +8).

Jalur 14 is presented to you by eGG Network and Esports Integrated. It is proudly sponsored by Yoodo, Acer, Zotac Gaming and Suncycle.

PUBG Mobile Global Championship Season Zero

The final Super Weekend of PMGC 2020 is here! League Play Week 4 saw many unexpected teams in the top spots this time, including - but not limited to - Nova XQF, Abrupt Slayers and Blue Bees. Could we see the same pattern repeat itself this Super Weekend 4?

Here's our full rundown to prepare you for PMGC 2020 Super Weekend 4:

PMGC 2020: All teams advancing to final Super Weekend 4, plus Grand Finalists predictions

Catch Super Weekend 4 from tonight onwards (18 – 20 December) at 7PM (GMT +8) LIVE on eGG Network TV (CH800 for MY viewers), Twitch (English), Facebook (English|Malay) or YouTube (English|Malay).

League of Legends All-Star Event

The eighth LoL All-Star Event may be held online-only for the very first time, but nothing can possibly change its thrills. Both pros and influencers will be participating from their homes or regional studios across three stages: Underdog Uprising (18 December), Superstar Showdown (19 - 20 December) and the Red Bull 1v1 Competition (18 - 20 December).

Here's our coverage of the star-studded occasion for more detailed info, or you can check out Liquipedia.

The League of Legends All-Star Event will run from from today onwards (18 - 20 December), and will be available LIVE on eGG Network (for LPL/LCK regions) and Twitch. Check out our TV guide for the full schedule.

Other programmes on eGG Network

Jalur 14 - Episode 5

Date: Every Thursday, 9PM (eGG Network); every Sunday (Astro Awani), 10PM; and every Saturday, 7PM (Astro AEC).

Where to watch: eGG Network (Astro CH800), Awani (CH501), and AEC (CH346/306 HD).

Here's a glimpse of what to expect: Heroes of Jalur 14 - Wan Hazmer

Jalur 14 is presented by eGG Network, Kementerian Belia dan Sukan Malaysia, Esports Integrated and Astro; and proudly sponsored by Yoodo, Predator, Zotac Gaming, and Suncycle.

Rocket League Summit 2 Online (LIVE) - NA/EU

Date: 16 - 21 December, 2AM.

Where to watch: LIVE on eGG Network and Twitch.

OGA Dota Pit EU/CIS Season 4 - Playoffs

Date: 22 - 25 December (Full timings).

Where to watch: eGG Network.

Apex Legends Global Series: Autumn Circuit

Date: 21 - 22 December, 4.30PM and 4PM, respectively.

Where to watch: eGG Network.

This interview is the final in a series of articles featuring the stars of Jalur 14 and this week we have Wan Hazmer. Known for his work on Final Fantasy XV, he introduced Roti Canai and other local delicacies to the world while he was part of Square Enix in Japan. Upon returning to Malaysia, he founded his own games development company, Metronomik, to grow the industry here. They released their first game, the multiple award-winning No Straight Roads, earlier this year to huge acclaim.

Congratulations on the release of your game last week! How do you feel about the release of No Straight Roads? (Note: this interview took place in early September)

Thank you! It's been a crazy week because we've been going through Reddit, Twitter and Facebook, going through the comments of the game and all that stuff. Obviously, some people did talk about the bugs in the game but we already issued a video message saying we will be fixing them. But apart from that, it's been a really great reception so far! A lot of people really love the game even despite the bugs there. Also, the game is already profitable on the first day of launch. That was an official statement by our publisher's parent company who released the news for all the investors. I'm very humbled by everyone's response to the game despite it being just a debut game from a not very well-known company yet. It's our first game. It's been surreal, to be honest, I just can't believe after two and a half years, we're finally having the game played by people, it's really nuts.

The game was partially completed while everyone was working from home right? What was the experience like?

Before the MCO was announced, I kind of predicted that it might happen, so we already issued a work-from-home order before the MCO commenced. Hardware-wise it wasn't much of a problem although it took a bit of time to set up because I wear many hats and one of the hats is IT manager. So I had to take care of the servers and all that. All my knowledge of networking in my college days really helped. The thing about working from home is that our team is very open when it comes to communication, so moving it to digital was not much of a problem because we are still open anyway. The programmers can talk about art, the artists can talk about game design, we're very open.

Sometimes there are a few advantages to physical contact, you know, really being there in front of your eyes. Especially in the last few months when you have to point out a bug, usually you can just point at the monitor and ask "what is this?". But working from home, it's a bit difficult because you have to take a screenshot or a video, and sometimes when you're playing the game you're not recording. When you encounter a bug, you think "oh crap" and you have to play the game again and hope for the bug to show itself again. And with the game as analogous as No Straight Roads, unlike puzzle games which are easier to recreate problems, a lot of things can go wrong. Some bugs only have a reproduction rate of 1 out of 20 playthroughs - which isn't much. But can you imagine when you amplify that by the number of players playing the game worldwide, that's the scary part. So that's been the biggest work from home hurdle we've faced, but we're glad we could overcome it.

Does it open the possibility of future games being developed from home?

I still think we can benefit a lot from being in the office. Not only in terms of working, but motivation, and being able to easily discuss with your teammates by just rotating your chair to the left. So there are a lot of advantages to that. Of course, we're already working from home for some people, even way before the MCO. Our creative director is in Japan, so we're already teleconferencing with him often. We also have PR managers, producers overseas. To a certain extent we're already working from home but to go full work from home, I don't think it's probable at the moment especially considering that most of the team are here in KL.

Has it been a sigh of relief to finally push it out, or is the team still busy with any patches or new content?

In a way, it's a sigh of relief because people finally get to play the game. But at the same time, of course, like I mentioned there are reports of bugs, so we're looking into whatever is being reported and seeing what we can fix, so they'll be very busy for the next few months.

Have the reviews been fair to the game? How do reviews affect you or your company? Do you pay a lot of attention to them?

First of all, it's our debut game. We didn't try to make our game super mainstream. We tried our best to make a lot of people like it, but we were prepared for the what-ifs. What if people didn't like the game? We're okay with that. Not everyone likes an action game that is based on music, furthermore, some people were expecting a pure rhythm game, while others were expecting a full action game, where everything comes with visual cues and has nothing to do with audio cues. We know that it's not a game everyone will like.

If it becomes a cult classic, then we are very happy. So far through the user reviews, we have seen, we rarely get reviews in the middle. We always get some in the red, a lot in the green. Twitter and Reddit are the same - you either love it or hate it and we're totally okay with that.

The most important thing for us is that it becomes memorable. Whether it is in a good or bad way, of course, good is preferable. But at the same time, if our game makes someone passionate enough to review it that way, it's better than them just going "meh" at our game. I think this is going to impact the lore and stories of the characters in the months to come. Hopefully, people will really resonate with the characters and who knows, maybe if we were to make a sequel, I hope people will come back.

There was some backlash about the game releasing on Epic Games Store instead of Steam. How did you handle the criticism? In the end, was it worth it?

For Epic Games Store, to me, it was a matter of us promising if the game was on Steam or not, which we didn't. We didn't have a Kickstarter to say that the game was coming to Steam. We didn't break any promises in that regard. So I don't think we are going against any company policy. If they all feel some hatred against Epic Games in general, I would say that a lot of games are built on Unreal Engine, and Epic Games made the Unreal Engine. We made No Straight Roads on Unreal Engine, and Epic Games provided us with a lot of financial backups to ensure that we could make the game whatever we dreamed of.

The thing is, it didn't limit us from creating for consoles. We still released it for PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. To release a game to that kind of standard with the very little time that we had and an inexperienced team - talented but inexperienced - I think if it weren't for Epic's support, we wouldn't have gotten here.

How did the deal with Epic Games come about?

Firstly, we made the game in Unreal, which attracted the attention of Unreal staff. Unreal Shanghai was very interested in it. When we were at Unreal Open Day (an exhibition full of games made in Unreal), we won the Indie Game Award for that particular exhibition - the best award you can get at that event. That caused it to get attention from the higher-ups at Unreal, so when we were at E3 2019, we spoke to them, and that's how the deal got done. It's more about getting the game to many shows to see what opportunities you can get. It's also how we got our voice actor from Japan, and our current publisher, through all these game shows.

What’s next for Metronomik? Anything you can share?

A patch! That's all I can share for now. Of course, we will strive to make more games from now on. But we just finished No Straight Roads which was released last week, so all we have in our brain right now is the game.

How do you feel about the current state of game development in Malaysia? Any concerns or praises you want to sing?

I think the game industry in Malaysia is thriving like crazy now, it's really nice. We have a bunch of original IPs, some of them are really going into the hardcore side of it. Really focusing on one aspect and pushing it, for example 7th Beat Games' A Dance of Fire and Ice and Rhythm Doctor. Just download them and see how wonderful it is. It's excellent, you can tell that a person who is in love with these sorts of games is behind them.

We also have Kaigan Games with all the phone horror games like Simulacra. They are also very passionate at telling stories. We have a lot of variety. We also have the AA standard kind of games like Gigabash from Passion Republic Games, and Bake 'n Switch from Streamline Studios. All that, on top of working with AAA companies to make games like Uncharted, Last of Us and so on. It's really nuts. We're going really strong right now.

And it's also really thanks to the government. MDEC has been supporting us a lot - not only in terms of finances, but also in terms of providing infrastructure, giving opportunities, connecting us with overseas companies and so on. And when I was in one of their exhibitions, I saw a bunch of booths where we have school kids coding for games, in a program called "Level Up Schools" by MDEC, it's amazing. It's really crazy.

I guess if you want to talk about concerns, I think one thing we have to really care about is how to make things relevant to the world. We have two problems basically - one problem is that we're not proud enough of our culture, and we're too proud of our culture. The first one being - people are shy to put in their own roots in a game. I'm not even talking about Hang Tuah, you don't have to go that far.

You can talk about your childhood - buying your ice cream from the roti-man, or other experiences like that. Just talking about food alone, there's so many you can choose from already. If you want to talk about going to mosques in school uniform or watching movies at TGV - it's all part of Malaysian culture as well. People are shying away from it because they think that it doesn't sell. It's very apparent when we try to put Malaysian accents in our game, and Malaysians are complaining about it. But other people have been wondering about it, mentioning that it sounds so unique and we have this stigma that anything local is low quality, so we shouldn't have that kind of mindset. I'm looking forward to more games that incorporate Malaysian culture in a very relevant way. Nobody is going to play congkak if there's no relevance.

And that's where the second problem comes in - when people are too proud of their culture. Some people make a game like congkak, and just stop there. They come up with ideas like Uncharted but with Hang Tuah elements. It's so shallow. When you talk about Hang Tuah, there are so many things you can incorporate into a game. For example, the art of silat itself - it's so different from karate or taekwondo. And the coming of Islam to Malacca, Malacca being a port. You don't have to refer to Uncharted. You can refer to it later, but you don't have to make Uncharted with Hang Tuah skins. It doesn't make sense. Making it relevant to the world is important because when you put your congkak or whatever Hang Tuah game in the shop, it will be beside Spiderman, God of War, and Assassin's Creed. Will your action game be better than theirs? Will people actually buy your game? So that's something I want people to think about.

What needs to be done to take it to the next level?

A lot of things! Number one is we really need a lot of financial support. MDEC has been giving us a lot of grants, but it feels like MDEC is the only financial body that recognizes video games. I tried to get a loan from banks but it's been very difficult because they don't understand how the video games industry works. They expect us to give them a revenue report for our first game, which doesn't make sense because they don't understand that a game takes two years plus to make, unlike a restaurant. We're not a client servicing company as well, when you get a client, sometimes the project takes three months at most and then you get the money straight away. For us to make a video game, it takes a very long time. And I go to a lot of banks, and they don't even have 'video game production' in the dropdown box where you select your industry. It's a bit heartbreaking, you know? I can tell that a lot of people are suffering because of this. That's why we depend a lot on MDEC. Hopefully, we can get a lot more financial institutions and also support groups to recognize how video game production really works.

The other thing is something of a personal gripe of mine - the reason why are not proud of their culture is because the way we spread or promote our culture is very low quality. I've been to a few museums and while a few are great, it feels very lacking. I've been to so many museums around the world and Malaysia is very far behind. We are too 'slumber' or too honest, you can say. We just show the history as it is, but we're not entertainers. To get young people to get into culture, we need to put it into an entertaining package.

Before the MCO, there was this craft festival called Riuh. Riuh is this very nice event where local Malaysians show off their craft, clothes, sewing etc. It shows Malaysian craft in a much more modern light - we need more of these kinds of things so that people would be proud of their culture. When I was staying in Japan for 10 years, you can tell that they're very proud of their culture. And the Japanese themselves have lots of festivals. All their anime, everything that they do - there is a connection to Japan. Not only in terms of Kimono - Japanese high school life and so on. Persona, is a very big celebration of Japanese lifestyle and culture. We just don't have enough of this kind of things here. Having things in a much more entertaining package would really help.

Another example is the ramen museum in Yokohama, where you can explore different ramen from different prefectures all in one place. The place is even decorated like 1950s Japan, you can hear sirens, and planes flying by, as though it was World War 2. I'm just boggled why we don't have a laksa museum where you can eat different laksa from different places. We also have that kind of culture, just that we don't have that kind of facility for entertainment. We really need that to celebrate our culture.

Anything to say to fans of Metronomik or No Straight Roads?

Thank you so much for playing the game, if you haven't gotten it yet but you're still drawing fanart, thank you so much also! It's really an honour, we worked on this game for two and a half years, we never expected to get this kind of reception. This is the reason why we're making games in the first place. It's for the fans. I would really like to thank everyone for the support and hope that you'll continue to support us on our journey to make more games, and also to put Malaysia on the world map.

RELATED 


Watch Jalur 14 every Thursday, 9pm (GMT +8) beginning 26 November 2020, on eGG Network Astro CH800, available to all Astro subscribers. It will also be shown on Awani (CH501) every Sunday, 10pm (GMT +8) from 29 November 2020 and AEC (CH346/306 HD) every Saturday, 7pm (GMT +8) from 5 December 2020.

Jalur 14

A docuseries chronicling the rise of esports and the gaming industry in Malaysia. Jalur 14 recounts the tales of 14 Malaysian icons including Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung, Ng “YamateH” Wei Poong, Mohd Fariz “Soloz” Zakaria, Ahmad Fuad “Fredo” Bin Razali, Andriyana Binti “ChuChu Gaming” Mohamed Ghazali, and more, as they share about their struggles, challenges, and experiences on their path to success.

Covering some of the biggest games in Malaysia, namely, Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang BangCounter-Strike, and PUBG Mobile, Jalur 14 is a must-watch for anybody who’s had any interest in the Malaysian esports and game development industry. From zeroes to heroes, these stalwarts of the scene have all broken their backs putting the Jalur Gemilang on the map.

Jalur 14 is presented to you by eGG Network and Esports Integrated. It is proudly sponsored by Yoodo, Acer, Zotac Gaming and Suncycle.

This interview is the third in a series of articles featuring the stars of Jalur 14 and this week we have MasterRamen. Firdaus Hashim, the founder of E-Sukan, a community and news portal for local esports back when dedicated media didn’t exist. He stuck around and earned himself the “Father of Malaysian esports” nickname for being a prominent figure in the scene. Having been a part of various games in the past, including Dota 2 and MLBB, he’s currently the manager for Team SMG’s PUBG Mobile squad.

Why the name MasterRamen?

Back in 2010-2011, my old Lowyat.net forum account was banned because I was trolling a lot, so I had to make a new account. At that time, I was watching a lot of Naruto, and I liked the character who always gave free ramen to Naruto and decided to name myself after him.

How’s it been managing Team SMG? How did the offer to manage the team come about?

It started during PMCO when the players approached me to become their 'father'. That's when I created Bapak Ah Esports, to groom and help them grow into professional players, in hopes of an organization to sign them in the future. Team SMG was one of the organizations who approached us to hire the team and we took their offer since it seemed like a good opportunity.

Is managing teams something you’re passionate about? What do you enjoy/dislike about it?

I've loved playing games for a long time and have been passionate about esports as well. I've also organized a lot of events and it's very different from managing a team. The hype, the nervousness from watching your team playing - is why I focused more on the latter.

As for dislikes - when your team loses, there's a lot of pressure on you. When your team isn't do well, you won't get sponsors, and vice versa. So you have to make sure that your team is playing well all the time. Another thing is taking care of the feelings of the players when they lose. That's what I dislike most about it.

For likes - winning! The best thing is winning with your team.

How do you split your time between managing and streaming?

It's really tough. Sometimes due to streaming commitments, I can't be there for my team. But most of the time, I've sacrificed time with my family to focus on the team.

Looking back now, at the infamous Arrow Gaming incident, do you think it has affected the Dota or esports scene in Malaysia? 

Back then yeah, but now I think most people have forgotten about it and surprisingly, all the players from Arrow Gaming are still playing just that they can't compete in official Valve events. They still can make a living from it.

Do you still follow them or talk to them?

Sometimes, but since I don't focus on Dota much, it's not as often. The last time I talked to them was trying to get them to play for the SEA Games.

Do you think it was fair for the players to be banned from Valve tournaments? If no, what would have been a more suitable punishment?

It was a very harsh punishment, considering the amount of money involved wasn't a lot. They were also very naïve and very young. But I don't blame Valve for such a harsh penalty. They probably wanted to make a strong statement to the community. It sucks to be them (Arrow Gaming) because they were one of the first few people to get the Valve banhammer.

You recently participated at the SEA Valorant Invitational, how was the experience for you?

It was fun! The game is very new, and the concept is very fun and interesting. You can see a lot of people playing it now. It was a good experience because we won our match! I hope the format will be better in the future.

Your team actually won the match but failed to advance because of the point difference. Were you upset or frustrated over it? Soloz mentioned that he had only downloaded the game an hour before the tournament so he had no expectations, but he was happy you guys did quite well!

We had SiuPakChoi and JanuaryAKG, who were experienced FPS players, and that helped a lot! Also, we played together well as a team and had a lot of fun. Our opponents also were as new as us to the game so they didn't have much of an advantage over us.

You have an impressive G-shock collection, what got you into the hobby?

To be honest, I didn't have an interest in G-shock watches in the beginning. But people in chat were telling me about them constantly. So one day I did a search on them, saw a promotion for some G-shock watches on sale, and found myself attracted! I posted about it on Facebook and a lot of people agreed. Initially, I was going to buy a cheap one, but ManParang (from Yoodo Gank) messaged me, telling me to search more - which I did. I then discovered there was a lot of nicer looking G-shock watches out there, and that's when my journey to collecting them began. Now I'm a G-shock collector.  

What do you think of the current esports industry in malaysia, and what needs to change to take it to the next level?

The current esports industry is great at the moment. There are a lot of pro leagues especially for PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. Recently, I've seen a lot of FIFA tournaments, endorsed by FAM themselves so we can see that the government is still supporting esports regardless of the change. There is also a lot of positive news about the scene instead of negative (like in the past), so that's nice.

What advice would you give to people looking to enter the esports industry?

My advice is, don't throw everything away to jump into esports completely. You must know that not everybody can be a professional footballer. People with talent can be a footballer, those that don't can't make it as one. It's the same thing in esports. Maybe you like to play games, if you have talent, you can possibly make esports your career, but if you don't have talent, take it as a hobby. That's my advice.

Anything to say to your fans?

My message to my fans is simple, "Kurangkan Toxic lebihkan amal!" (less toxicity and be good to each other!).

RELATED 


Watch Jalur 14 every Thursday, 9pm (GMT +8) beginning 26 November 2020, on eGG Network Astro CH800, available to all Astro subscribers. It will also be shown on Awani (CH501) every Sunday, 10pm (GMT +8) from 29 November 2020 and AEC (CH346/306 HD) every Saturday, 7pm (GMT +8) from 5 December 2020.

Jalur 14

A docuseries chronicling the rise of esports and the gaming industry in Malaysia. Jalur 14 recounts the tales of 14 Malaysian icons including Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung, Ng “YamateH” Wei Poong, Mohd Fariz “Soloz” Zakaria, Ahmad Fuad “Fredo” Bin Razali, Andriyana Binti “ChuChu Gaming” Mohamed Ghazali, and more, as they share about their struggles, challenges, and experiences on their path to success.

Covering some of the biggest games in Malaysia, namely, Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang BangCounter-Strike, and PUBG Mobile, Jalur 14 is a must-watch for anybody who’s had any interest in the Malaysian esports and game development industry. From zeroes to heroes, these stalwarts of the scene have all broken their backs putting the Jalur Gemilang on the map.

Jalur 14 is presented to you by eGG Network and Esports Integrated. It is proudly sponsored by Yoodo, Acer, Zotac Gaming and Suncycle.

This interview is the second in a series of articles featuring the stars of Jalur 14. This week, we have Soloz, a man who needs no introduction. Former Dota 2 player turned Mobile Legends: Bang Bang pro and now a full-time streamer, Mohd Faris Zakaria is one of the most popular gamers in the country. Known for his in-game skills, good looks and humble personality, he has been part of many notable MLBB teams in the past, including the squad that represented Malaysia at the 2019 SEA Games. Since taking a backseat from the competitive scene, he’s been focusing on his life as a married man and content creator.

How’s life as a married man? Any difference compared to when you were unmarried?

Back then when I was single, my life was not as organized as it is now. I had random times for eating, sleeping and such. I wasn't as committed to my job as a streamer. However, when I got married, I had to start thinking about lives other than my own and that led me to prioritize my career. If you're lazy then your family will struggle in the future. So yeah, there's a difference between married and single life. I learned that proper time management is one of the most important things in life.

Are you going to change your name now that you’re no longer “solo”? 

No! I will be using the same name. It's the same name I've been using ever since I was a kid, even during my time as a Dota player.

Do you feel that marriage will affect the kind of content you create?

No, maybe because I am used to my viewers and I always educate them about the games I play. My viewers watch the stream not because of my looks, but because of my educational and funny content, and my personality. I don't intend to change that.

What was your motivation for streaming when you started and has that changed so far?

Initially, I had no plans to become a professional streamer. In fact, I had wanted to become a teacher because my mom wanted me to become a teacher. But as you know, I didn't further my studies, so that didn't happen. The silver lining - I was good at games, so a lot of people who watched my YouTube videos asked me to stream, so it's easier for them to ask my questions. So what I did was become a Mobile Legends: Bang Bang educator instead. I taught people about the strategies of using heroes, and the meta of the game through my streams.

My goal is to become a quality streamer with good gameplay content, who engages with his audience and has a personality that draws people in.

How do you feel about your success so far? Did you work hard to get where you are?

I'm happy with my success so far but it wasn't easy to get here. Before I became a full-time streamer, during my professional player days, we spent many nights only sleeping four to five hours because we wanted good results. Every moment awake was spent training hard for our matches. Fortunately, these days I don't have to go through that anymore!

How did you become a popular streamer? Was it because you used to play on a pro team?

My popularity started when I was 15-16 years old, during my Dota-playing days. People knew me through tournaments that I had attended. In my early 20s was when I started streaming Mobile Legends. It was then I noticed that the majority of my audience were the same people who followed me from Dota. After playing in various MLBB tournaments, that's when my popularity skyrocketed.

You recently had a taste of competition with the SEA Valorant invitational - how did you feel about it? Do you miss the competitive life? Any chance of going back to competing in the future?

I had never played Valorant before so when I was invited to the tournament I was like, "okay let's try it out". I do miss competitive life, and there might be a chance for me to come back to the competitive scene. We'll see how things go because I want to make sure that I have time for myself and my family as well.

You were very close to making to the next stage of the tournament, how did it feel to be knocked out because of point differences?

For me, I didn't mind if we progressed or not. I would have been fine with the result either way.

Are there plans for a Bosskurr Valorant team? Would you like to be part of it?

Yes, there's a high chance there will be a Bosskurr Valorant team and I'll be in it - until they decide to kick me out because I'm not good enough. Then I'll just stick to streaming the game instead!

Besides Valorant and MLBB, what other games do you enjoy?

I've been playing games like Call of Duty, Dragon Raja, and more. When a new game comes out I'll give it a shot, but usually they don't hold my interest for a long time. At the moment, I enjoy PUBG, MLBB, Valorant and Fall Guys.

Was it fun going down memory lane filming the documentary today?

It was a bittersweet experience going down memory lane. Thinking about the past, how we struggled and the special moments between us, going to places together - now everyone has moved on their separate ways, working hard to earn a living. We're all blessed to be here today and if I could go back in time to fix a few mistakes I made I definitely would, but for now we just have to keep moving forward.

How does it feel to be selected as one of the heroes of Jalur 14?

It feels amazing to be selected as one of the heroes for Jalur 14 and talking about esports. At the same time, I can share my experiences as a pro player as well as being a streamer. This is a unique experience for me as you can't get knowledge like this from textbooks or anything yet, as it is rare in Malaysia. For all the youth that want to strive in this industry and need guidance - I am happy to be sharing all this with them. Hopefully, I can inspire the youth to push on and try out the esports industry!

What tips do you have for aspiring streamers who want to be the next Soloz?

They must have a fan base - the fans who love you and not the game you play. Start by playing new games and building your community before you proceed to compete with other big streamers on the same platform. The most important part is building your community first, streaming is all about entertaining your viewers. Once you have a substantial audience, try to collaborate with other steamers to increase your exposure and put your name out there.

Any message to your fans?

Thank you to all the fans who have been there from the beginning till now. You guys are the ones who are responsible for me achieving "The Most Watched Creator" award from Facebook Gaming. Also, I would like to say thank you to my VIP club members for supporting me. Firm handshake to you guys!

RELATED - Heroes of Jalur 14: Mushi


Watch Jalur 14 every Thursday, 9pm (GMT +8) beginning 26 November 2020, on eGG Network Astro CH800, available to all Astro subscribers. It will also be shown on Awani (CH501) every Sunday, 10pm (GMT +8) from 29 November 2020 and AEC (CH346/306 HD) every Saturday, 7pm (GMT +8) from 5 December 2020.

Jalur 14

A docuseries chronicling the rise of esports and the gaming industry in Malaysia. Jalur 14 recounts the tales of 14 Malaysian icons including Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung, Ng “YamateH” Wei Poong, Mohd Fariz “Soloz” Zakaria, Ahmad Fuad “Fredo” Bin Razali, Andriyana Binti “ChuChu Gaming” Mohamed Ghazali, and more, as they share about their struggles, challenges, and experiences on their path to success.

Covering some of the biggest games in Malaysia, namely, Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Counter-Strike, and PUBG Mobile, Jalur 14 is a must-watch for anybody who’s had any interest in the Malaysian esports and game development industry. From zeroes to heroes, these stalwarts of the scene have all broken their backs putting the Jalur Gemilang on the map.

Jalur 14 is presented to you by eGG Network and Esports Integrated. It is proudly sponsored by Yoodo, Acer, Zotac Gaming and Suncycle.

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