Arena of Valor, gamescom, Illidan and WESG

Hey all, long time no see here on the blog! :) Not long after I got back from TI I went to gamescom in Cologne to promote the new mobile game Arena of Valor. It’s your typical MOBA but played on your phone instead of computer. Most of the times when I get asked to do things like this I decline, in the past the reason has been to focus on Dota but also that I generally don’t want to promote things I don’t enjoy or like. In this case I really enjoy the game a lot and a game duration of 10-20 minutes is very convenient, especially now when I have a kid.

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Happy Illidan :)

Anyway, Loda went to gamescom to do the same thing as well so it was kinda like the old times when we went to tournaments together. It was fun to get to hang out more again and both of us were hyped about competing in a new game even though it was a promotional event for us with no prizes. In one of the games we played against old League of Legend pros which kind of became a grudge match because both of us wanted to win really badly and show that the players from “our” game were better than theirs.. :D After the event was over we had dinner with all the players, organizers and the owners of Arena of Valor. We were only there for 2 days but it was 2 good days indeed!
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Me with one of the iPhone 7+ winners during the Arena of Valor event

Next week I went to Stockholm for a photoshoot with Dreamhack for their new merchandise. Their new web shop isn’t all up and running yet, so far I think they only have the Dream League jacket out, but we took a lot of cool photos! Anna, an old friend of mine now who I’ve met at multiple events, was one of the people working with Dreamhack and was there during the photoshoot to make sure everything went smooth. It’s fun to get to work with friends on things I never thought I would do when I started to work in the gaming industry.
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Picture from the photoshoot with Dreamhack

After this and a couple of weeks after not much happened because me and Bummi were expecting a child so we were chilling most of the time. We’ve tried to keep it somewhat secret because we wanted to announce it when we felt we were ready for it. Becoming a father has been a lot of fun, sure some nights have been somewhat sleepless but apart from that it’s been cozy and fun to take care of little Illidan! I’m very happy with the name, when Bummi and I met over 14 years ago we played a lot of Warcraft III together and we wanted to take a name that meant something for us. We wanted a name that was easy to pronounce in both Swedish and English and that didn’t sound weird in any of those two languages; Illidan fits both those categories. And let’s not forget that Illidan is an extremely awesome character! :)
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Bummi and Illidan

Going back to Dota, I qualified for the WESG EU playoff together with Loda, Gorgc, Micke and Insania. It’s mostly for fun since we haven’t gotten to practice much at all, it’s hard for me to find time but as always I’m very serious when it comes to competing. Doesn’t matter how much or little I’ve practiced for anything like this, I still always want to win! We will go to the European playoffs in Barcelona in a couple of weeks and the goal there is to qualify for the main event where the first place prize is 800’000 dollars! It will be hard for us to get there but I believe! ^^
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Shiva and Midas… :D

Coming up next me, Loda and some other Swedes will represent Sweden in an Arena of Valor tournament. We are going to Poland next weekend to play against the French team so the next month will be a mix of Arena of Valor and Dota tournaments! :)
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Cheers,
Akke

My journey at TI7

Gonna start with congratulating Team Liquid who had an amazing run in the tournament from the lower bracket! Fun to see Kuroky finally get the aegis!

The text is quite long, starting with when I first got word about going to TI as talent.

Bruno reached out to me about a month before TI, some time after the regional qualifiers ended. He asked me if I wanted to be on the panel and my initial answer and feeling was no. I’ve been asked to paneling some times before at events like Dream League but never really felt that it was my thing. Didn’t take long for Bruno to convince me though, he said he knew I would do great and that I was gonna be on during the main event together with PPD, Merlini and Day9. Hearing that it was these guys that I was gonna work with made me a bit more comfortable since I had PPD with me to give the pro insight and I’ve always liked Merlini. Never had any experience with Day9 before but he seemed like a nice guy. I told Bruno I wanted the weekend to think about it but I found myself shopping a suit the day after so apparently I had already unconsciously accepted.. :D

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View from the panel, sometimes it was super crowded there with people watching us ^^

During the time between that and the event I tried to prepare as much as possible by watching events and think of how people played and picked. I would walk around at home talking about a game and make up scenarios to talk about.

Fast forward to TI. Met up with Bulldog and sinneddonut (Bulldog’s girlfriend) at the airport and hanged out with them while traveling. Had never met sinneddonut before but it was fun to talk to her and get to know her a bit. When we arrived in Seattle Bulldog didn’t make it through customs and I didn’t see them again after that :(.

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Me, Sinneddonut and Bulldog

When I got to the hotel I met up with some of the other talent and casters. I made sure to talk some to PPD to get to know him a bit better before we were gonna work together. Never really spoken to him and it’s good to know the people you are up there working with. Had a nice lunch and later on in the evening it was time for the player dinner. My initial thought was “shit, are we allowed to go there? Since I’m not a player now..” but as I thought about it I also remembered that all the talents and casters has been to them the past years so obviously I could go now as well ^^. It’s quite a fancy restaurant so I dressed up in my suit and went to the shuttle but I have never felt so over dressed in my life. I forgot most people just go to the player dinner in their team clothes or at most have a dress shirt on. I missed Loda who always would dress up for occasions like this with me but I guess I went a bit overboard with tie and pocket square and all. Oh well, the dinner was super good and I got to hang out with the guys from OG which was fun. I felt a bit lost during some part of the event because I’m so used to going to the tournaments together with a team and hang out with them. Now I was there “alone” even though I obviously was welcome to join the other talents and casters.

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Me, Pajkatt and Sebastien during player dinner.

Group stage starts but I don’t really have anything scheduled until the main event. I spent the days watching games, writing things up about the teams like if I noticed them do anything specific or something I knew about the teams. Stuff to remember to be able to talk about when the team is playing during the main event. Only thing I had scheduled during this time was to record a piece with Slacks and Pyrionflax but it never got aired. Apparently it was hard to cut into something good, well at least I got to go to Benaroya Hall again and see the place where we played the TI3 finals!

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Aww sweet memories. Benaroya Hall ^_^

Main event starts. We are scheduled to take the 7 am shuttle. I set the alarm at 6:10 am but I think I woke up even before that, it was hard to sleep. I didn’t feel so well, I’ve never been this nervous in my whole life. I get to the shuttle and go to the venue where we have a morning meeting together with the producer, Kaci, Slacks etc. Everyone that are here looks super confident, talking and laughing with each other. I guess what I noticed was that I’m quite different than most people that were working here. In situations like this I’m quite shy and silent, I’m just thinking about the broadcast and that I’m so nervous. To be fair I’m not really sure why I was so nervous to begin with. I think it has something to do with that since I was there as a talent, I had certain expectations on me compared if I would join the panel as a player sometime during the event. Then I would be there as a player and no one would judge me if I didn’t do a perfect job, if that makes any sense.

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Cool Faceless Void cosplay

 

I spoke a lot to my girlfriend throughout the whole event which helped me a lot. She gave me pep talks before and after the first couple of segments (actually between all segments she could watch ^^) and told me I did a great job which I really needed to hear :D. I tried to stay away from social media because I felt I would get really hurt if someone tweeted me something mean. Usually I don’t really care if someone tweets something bad or mean, I’ve learnt to deal with that in the past when someone is angry that we lost a game or didn’t like something I did during a game but when it comes to playing I’m very confident and good at separating good criticism from bad. But when it came to this, something that I was very insecure doing, I couldn’t deal with it at all. Luckily I have the best fans in the world who just wrote nice things to me and I really appreciate it, it made me being able to get more secure and better throughout the days. Love you guys.

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Backstage with Day9 and Sheever ^_^

I was very nervous the first two days but after that I started to feel more confident. There was even a time where when we were done with a segment I felt I just wanted to get up there again and talk about the game. The easiest part was talking about the draft and it was also quite fun. PPD and Merlini were very easy to talk to and fun to hang out with. The hardest segments was in the beginning of a day when we would recap the day before and things like that. The first day was especially hard since everything was very vague. The teams hadn’t played any games on the main stage yet and I feared getting a question like “Akke how does Newbee play”. Luckily Day9 asked me before we went live what I didn’t want to be asked so he knew I didn’t want a question like that but I was amazed of how PPD could just go on and talk about those things. PPD would be like “well they play more like the western teams, they like to focus around this player and tend to have a lot of team fight” and so on.

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Me and Pajkatt

Day9 was super fun to work with. I’m not sure how he do it but the energy he had the whole days were just amazing. Constantly happy, joking around at the same time as he was very serious about what was going on. In the end, even though I was super nervous in the beginning and all that I’m very happy I got the chance to do this. I feel like I’ve grown as a person, gotten a really cool life experience to be at the panel during an event with hundreds of thousands of viewers. It was also a lot of fun to get to see how the broadcast team work and everything behind the scene.

I would like to sincerely thank Valve for giving me the opportunity to do this. It’s been two great weeks and it was fun to get to meet you all again. Thank you!

Time for WESG!

Just woke up here and it’s around 5 am. Even though it’s early, it is a decent first attempt to change the sleep schedule! It’s so weird to feel wide awake at this time – imagine to be able to wake up this early every day and not be sleepy. That would be something! :)

Alliance had a small bootcamp before the tournament in Gothenburg so they all took their flight from there. From my team it’s only me and Gorgc (and Ludwig who is coming with us as our manager) who lives in Gothenburg so we met up with the rest in Frankfurt.

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Gorgc, Loda, me and Handsken!

The trip was quite long since the event is being held in Chang Zhou so after we touched ground in Shanghai we had to take a buss that took 3 hours. We also had to wait for the buss for like 1-2 hours so I’m safe to say we were all quite tired when we arrived! :D

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Whole Swedish squad ordering food at the airport in Shanghai. Kelly is making sure everything is going according to plan with the orders!

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Buffet at the hotel. Gorgc and Eskil are still hungry, trying to find something more they can (and want) to eat.

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Me and Pablo, two tired boys just waiting to get to go to sleep. :D

Today’s schedule is photo session and time to practice. Looking forward to get to play some pubs in China, always fun to get some variety and see if you gain or loose MMR :D. Tomorrow there are also gonna be photo session for some teams but also rehearsal for the opening ceremony. Event starts the day after the 12th according to the schedule we got here but we don’t know exact times yet for our games (EDIT: Here is the schedule) in the group stage. Looking forward to the tournament starting, gonna be interesting to see how strong the other teams are and how we perform! :)

Cheers,
Akke

Happy New Years!

Hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year’s Eve! I spent most of the time with family, friends, good food and games – I got enough of party after the Christmas party we had with Alliance.. :D Got some good and practical Christmas presents from my parents like clothes and such. Even though it’s a lot of fun with gifts the most important thing for me is to get to see my family and have a good time. Me and my sister decided not to buy anything for each other since we hadn’t found anything we thought the other could enjoy or use. It just feels wrong when you spend money on things you know a person wont use or like, then it’s better to just give it some other time when you actually find something nice!

On New Year’s Eve me, Bummi and my sister went to my uncle and his husband for lunch and coffee. After I posted a picture of that on Instagram I got a couple of questions and negative comments (mostly happy though which is nice) because I wrote “uncle” and “husband” and yes, they are gay. They are also two of the kindest, coolest, most inspirational and generally awesome people I know and I’m so happy to have them both in my life. They’ve been together for more than 50 years but are still as caring and loving towards each other as they’ve always been, just as (in my opinion) a relationship should be.

We’re going to China on Sunday for WESG – going to be interesting to see how it goes. Our latest games in our officials have been quite mediocre but hopefully it will all get together for the event ^^. As I did in the tournament in Kiev (the European qualifier for WESG) I will go in with zero expectations but aim for the top and just see where we land. If we win I’m gonna be super happy but if we aren’t able to perform we still gave it a good try.

Cheers,
Akke

Alliance Christmas party

Two days ago we had our Christmas Party at GG-bar and almost all the players and people involved with Alliance came. It’s not often we get the chance to have everyone under the same roof because not many tournaments have competitions in all the games.

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Almost everyone. Some people are missing.. :D

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Loda and Joeleen (Kelly’s sister). We played a bit of Codenames which is a board game. Super fun! :)

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Played some Smash4 with Orange, Armada and Android. Obviously Armada and Android are ridiculously good on that as well and not only Melee.. ^^

Played against (ex) Imperial yesterday in Prodota Cup #13 and lost 2-1. Could have won the last game if we played it better and split pushed more (we had Io + Tiny) but we choose to fight them straight on instead. Oh well, at least it’s nice to have a big tournament coming up so you can take all these games as practice and not feel to bad about it even though it always sucks to loose. We are going to WESG finals in January where the 1st prize is 800k dollars so it’s almost like a Major.. Insane! Looking forward to play there! :)

Cheers,
Akke

Nordens Ark

Went to Nordens Ark yesterday together with Mobile Storytelling. After we had lunch there we met up with Tom Svensson (a famous “conservation photographer”) who showed us around the park and told us some amazing stories about the animals. He has a website with some pictures he has taken while traveling the world if you are interested.

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Cute wolf! :)

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Lynx (I think)!

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Nordens Ark are a part of a conservation project to secure a sustainable development of the Amur Tiger. He looks so innocent and nice but… ^^

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Since our official we were supposed to have today got cancelled (we got default win) our next one is on Saturday the 17th 20:00 CET instead if it doesn’t get rescheduled. We are playing against Alliance so it will be an interesting match! ^^ They are also playing in the Dotapit qualifier right now versus Elements Pro Gaming (Twitch link) – hope they will qualify!

Cheers,
Akke

New patch, last weekend and Alliance announcement

Was a lot of hype yesterday to read the patch notes. I had heard before the patch was gonna shake the game up a bit and it sure did! I think the talent tree is nice because it gives you more choices to tailor your hero and play style a bit and it can also make some hero viable super lategame if the games goes on so everyone is level 25. For example Crystal Maiden got a talent that adds 200 damage to her nuke which can be really useful to push out lanes. Really looking forward to when the patch hits the main client!

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At our friends Reuben and Johanna last Saturday

I went to see my father get 5th dan in jiujitsu yesterday. It was really fun and cool to see since he hasn’t been so active the past years after me and my sister was born. He got 4th dan in 1980-something so it’s fun to see him train/practice some again after so many years!

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My father just got 5th dan in jiujitsu! :)

We did an announcement a couple of hours ago, that Alliance now are a player-owned and independent organization. It has been something in the work for a long time so I’m happy it’s finally settled and looking forward to see what we can do in the future. I can make a longer blog post about this later and explain more of how it works if anyone is interested.

I’m playing in the ProDota Cup #13 that starts this week with team Horde and our first game is on Thursday. I updated the “Upcoming games” tab so you can keep track when we are playing! :)

Cheers,
Akke