Like his namesake, Jackie “Dora” Lee wants to explore the limits of his budding esports career.
As captain and holding the tank role of Team Explorers, Dora grew up playing games, particularly multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs).
He dabbled in the original Dota, before moving on to League of Legends and ended up playing a lot of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, due to how convenient it was.
"I picked up MLBB about three seasons ago after a drinking night with my buddy and he asked me to give it a try. I knew I was good enough to go pro when teams started to approach me to ask me to join them. My skills were being recognised," said Dora.
If you’ve not heard of Explorer before, you’re not alone. It’s a newly formed team with the idea to train and grow professional esports players.
It is supported by the Singapore Cybersports & Online Gaming Association (SCOGA), though the current team was selected after trials due to a short time to get a squad up in time for MPL SG. Future team members could possibly be graduates of the SCOGA academy programme.
Dora’s squad ended up being picked, and as part of a bet, he changed his handle from “Jack” to the current Dora. His teammate, Pebble, was supposed to change his name to “Map”, like in "Dora's Map," but backed out as he didn’t want to confuse his stream followers.
“I chose my nickname after our team got selected after the trials. It was a side bet with my team. I told them that if we were to be picked by Explorer, I would change my nickname to Dora,” he said.
As the oldest in the team at 28-years-old, Dora is one of the rare few at that age in the MPL SG. But with age, comes wisdom.
He thinks he won’t be focusing full time on a pro career five years from now, stating it would be “status quo” for him at his full time IT project management role in the health care sector. He might still play competitively, but not as much as he was doing now.
“I have to be very realistic here. The esports scene in Singapore is still not self-sustaining. I think it's maybe only the top five or top three esports players here that can survive on their salary. That's why you don't see a lot of full-time esports players around. However, I do believe there might be room to grow," said Dora.
As captain, he also tries to push his younger players, who may not take their plays too seriously.
“Being a captain is difficult. There's a wide age gap between me and my teammates. I have teammates whose IC's (Identity Cards) start with S and T, which means there's a straight up generation gap. Some of the younger guys may occasionally not take it as seriously, so I have to be the push factor for them.”
To bond, the team eats meals together before and after games on the weekend, while training together four times a week.
Their hope is for a top four finish after the playoffs, which would help cement the Explorer squad as a team to watch out for.
To do that, they will have a tough climb from the lower bracket, and will have to defeat Impunity first to proceed on May 7.
"We are still figuring things out, as we are a very new team. But we are confident we can produce at least a top four result in the playoffs," said Dora.
Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com
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