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When gaming becomes a job: Local esports players share their experiences in pursuing their dreams

From handling health conditions, juggling jobs to running away from home, MPL players share their experiences as an Esports player. — Picture courtesy of Moonton

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 — Being a professional esports player comes with its own set of challenges and for some, sacrifices need to be made.

From managing health conditions to juggling between one’s day job or running away from home, these local Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League (MPL) players share some of the challenges they had to deal with.

Ciku’s asthma condition

Prominent MPL player, Ciku is also struggling with his asthma condition. — Picture via Facebook/Ciku
Prominent MPL player, Ciku is also struggling with his asthma condition. — Picture via Facebook/Ciku

Being one of the well known MPL players in Malaysia, 20-year-old Ciku from Esports team, Todak, is also struggling with asthma which has impacted his game.

Ciku or his real name Muhammad Danial Mohamad Fuad was recently warded due to his asthma condition, which resulted in him having to withdraw from a match at the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League Malaysia Season 7 (MPLMY S7).

According to Ciku, he was diagnosed with asthma when he was a child, and this is the fifth time he was admitted to hospital due to it. 

There are a few reasons for his recurring attacks which mainly includes the cold environment, his diet and secondhand smoke around him.

“I usually have my inhaler with me but during that time, it didn’t seem to have any effect, so we decided to go to the nearest clinic that referred me to the hospital where I was admitted to.

“This is the second time I’ve experienced asthma attacks during a major competition. The first time was last season while playing against esports team, Evos and for this season, it was while playing against SMG and Homebois,” Ciku told Malay Mail.

Ciku who is also a streamer with over 60,000 followers on Facebook said that even though he’s in stable condition now, he is working on improving his health with sporting activities such as jogging and making sure he prepares his medications and inhaler in future events.

Programmer by day, gamer by night

MPL player Inferni had to juggle between being a MPL player and a programmer to make ends meet. — Picture via Facebook/ Inferni
MPL player Inferni had to juggle between being a MPL player and a programmer to make ends meet. — Picture via Facebook/ Inferni

Inferni, 26 from local esports team, Homebois, has to juggle between being a programmer and an MPL player just to make ends meet.

Having two jobs is not something new to Inferni (real name Muhammad Saiful Aujang), as he worked during his college years.

His experience includes working at a bakery factory where he worked in the packaging department and as a barista at a local café before securing a job as programmer after getting his degree.

He also admitted that the reason he started joining amateur tournaments was to get extra income while he was studying so he could provide for his family.

“I studied information management in UiTM Puncak Perdana and it never occurred to me to go into the pro scene.

“I used to assemble my own team to play in amateur tournaments as a way of finding some side income because I didn’t have much things to do at night. 

“Plus, even the amateur tournaments were offering big cash prizes at that time,” Inferni said.

Inferni added that the thought of quitting his day job crossed his mind when he first broke through as an MPL player but he decided to do it as a part-time job as tournaments were usually on weekends. 

Since becoming an MPL player, Saiful has joined many tournaments, but he is proud to have made it into the MPLMY S7 playoffs as it was his first time participating in a national level competition.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m a part time or full time MPL player. When it comes to tournaments and championships, I’ll be sure to give my all.

“Even with a day job, I will make time for my training as well as giving my best in tournaments,” Saiful said.

From running away from home to being champion of MPLMY S7

MPL player Syno has had a run-in with his parents as he told them he wanted to pursue his career as a professional esports player. — Picture via Facebook/ SynoGaming
MPL player Syno has had a run-in with his parents as he told them he wanted to pursue his career as a professional esports player. — Picture via Facebook/ SynoGaming

The MPLMY S7 saw esports team, RSG MY being crowned champions.

This is a huge accomplishment for the team as it was their first time being crowned champions.

But the win was especially meaningful for one of their players, Syno (real name Mohamad Amir Afdhal Ruzlan).

The 24-year-old had some run-ins with his parents in 2017 when he first stated that he wanted to pursue esports as a career.

Things ended badly for him at the time as his parents did not approve of his choice especially when esports was just beginning to grow which led him to leave his home to pursue his dreams.

“I was gone for about two months. I decided to crash at my friend’s place.

“The pressure was increasing during that time. I’d just finished my three months practical at an accounting firm and I was supposed to go for a job interview that day.

“I didn’t even want to be an accountant. I felt like I was forced to go through all that and that’s when I decided to leave,” Amir said, adding that he left to his parents saying that he was going to pursue esports.

As things began to cool down and with advice from his friends, Amir decided to return home and explain matters to his parents.

He brought his friends with him and they helped to explain the potential of esports as a career choice to his parents which led to them to come to an agreement with each other.

“With my parent’s blessings, I’ve done nothing else but give my full focus on being a MPL player.”

“I’m so happy that we’ve managed to win the MPLMY S7 and we are looking to give our best at the Southeast Asia Cup.

“Throughout my journey, I have learned that it is not easy to become a professional esports player, there are always challenges and obstacles.

“But never give up and keep going. That’s the key,” Amir said. 

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