Bkop is but a name that symbolizes perseverance. From grinding hard and long for years to finally getting his big break at the DPC Regional League for China and SEA, moving past hurdles and personal losses, and still standing tall -- Benjamin has come a long way.
Hey Benjamin. Thanks for taking out time from your busy schedule to answer a few questions. How are you doing?
I’m doing really well I think. It’s been a while since I have felt this good, maybe years since I have been this good, thanks for asking.
Congratulations on landing a spot as a commentator in the Dota Pro Circuit Regional Leagues, well deserved. Amid the pandemic where broadcasting opportunities were dwindling due to lack of events, landing a gig for a major event, i.e, DPC Regional League, is something of real value. May I know your opinion on this matter?
I’m honestly psyched! I wasn’t really sure I would be in this position. Before DPC I was trying to put in as much work as I could to try and get a chance. It’s really tough being on the cusp never really knowing what's next.
What did you do when the pandemic hit the world and employment opportunities were scarce in esports for you? How did you survive?
Before Covid really shut everything down I was supposed to be working in “Fan Interaction” with a baseball team in my area. The day after we took our pictures for our ID’s the season got postponed and ultimately played without fans. I didn’t really have a job to fall back on after that and I needed to make money fast as we were selling my house.
I started picking up Dota work as much as I could, reaching out to anyone I heard might be putting on some sort of event. On top of that I was also streaming any event that didn’t have coverage. There were a few China/SEA events that I covered on my own channel. I swear combined both official and on my own channel I must have cast over 1000 games in 2020.
Nonetheless, I see this opportunity as your breakout moment in your commentating career. It has elevated you to the next level and it’s safe to assume that so many years of hard work has finally begun to pay off. Do you feel the same?
This definitely feels like the culmination of years of hard work but also still so much more to prove! Now that I am in this position I need to grow and get even better. I feel like while this is a paying off moment of hard work I can’t stop now. The best is yet to come.
Getting a chance to cast with Black, Lizzard, and Lacoste has been such an amazing experience that will for sure help me grow. Honestly it’s surreal that I get to cover and be the sole play-by-play caster for both SEA and China.
Speaking of which, how did you hone your commentating skills amid the pandemic that has led to this wonderful opportunity? How did you optimize your strong points?
For me I always asked around about how I can get better if there were any weak points in my casting. I think getting as many games to cast during the pandemic really helped me grow and hone everything in.
MoFarah has been a huge help. He will let me know straight up if there is something I can do better. The two of us have really been quite the team in 2020. I think by the end of the year we were really working well together mixing like coffee and cream.
We’ve kept in touch and as far as I remember, a while back, you were at a point in your career where you almost felt like giving up or more necessarily “being stuck” at the same place as you were going nowhere despite casting so many official and unofficial games and grinding like there’s no tomorrow. Challenging mental state for any individual. Tell us more about it.
I think it took a long time but mentally I just wasn’t giving myself enough credit and I wasn’t letting myself be happy with how far I had come since the beginning. A lot of stress in my normal life was taking over my mentality, in my thoughts on how I was doing in my career.
I have a lot of anxiety and it is something that has stopped me from having any self worth and made me question myself in where I was in my career. It has been a long road but I am finally feeling like I have turned a corner and have become more positive about myself.
Moving on, let's talk about DPC China and SEA. How has the experience of broadcasting the Chinese league games been so far in terms of strength, tiers, game-plays, emerging teams, potential prodigies, etc.?
This experience has been nuts. I am covering every game of China and SEA. Seeing these story-lines come together has been as exciting as it gets. We are seeing massive rebounds from Aster and IG to giant breakouts from teams like Neon. There seems to be plenty of potential coming out in the SEA region and high tier competitiveness in China. At some point too I am hoping to have a jersey from each China team and rep my favorite region with style!
How would you compare the region with those of Europe, CIS, North America and SEA, even though there’s not been any cross regional competition?
China to me while being a little biased seems to be on par with Europe. I think after all this time it’ll be great to see regions finally go up against each other again. People seem to think that Secret is unbeatable but they have only been watching them play against the same teams and regional style for so long now.
How has paneling with the likes of Lacoste, Lizzard, Black and Nomad helped you further develop yourself as an on-air and off-air personality besides duking it out at the gym with two behemoths in Black and Lizzard, and goofing up with Nomad?
Everyone here has been very relaxed and we have become this small little family. Feeling this comfortable with people has made it very easy to be calm and push myself to the next step. The gym has been a burn with Lizzard and Black I’m pretty sure they want to make me swole while also wanting me to get back to my flat, unable to move. All of us here, talent, production, etc feel like family and it’s awesome I love it.
That’s a wrap. Feel free to go ham on any plug you’d like before we sign off.
Catch me on SEA and China DPC and hopefully more! Follow me on twitter @Bkop92! Shout-out again to my one fan you know who you are. Thank you Mom for believing in me! Finally I love you dad, I hope you are watching me and I am making you proud. You never quite understood Dota but you always told me I could do this and I carry you with me each day. I love you dad!
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Feature image courtesy: PGL