An interview with Sjokz: "This is what I want to do - nothing else"
Wed 2nd Jan 2013 - 6:48pm
We often watch her interviews on youtube but she is always the one asking the questions and so we don't really get a chance to get to know her. Today, I want to change that and I want you to get to know the person behind the nickname, Eefje 'Sjokz' Depoortere.
Sjokz is a League of Legends player, a gaming fanatic, an eSports journalist and interviewer. Most of you know her from her Summoner's Recap feature or the many appearances she made at events to bring you interviews with top players. Today we caught up with her to ask her some questions and find out how exactly Sjokz got into the League of Legends scene.
When did you get into gaming and what was the first game you played?
Sjokz: I got into gaming about 11 years ago playing Unreal Tournament '99. It was the first online game that got me hooked - Instagib Capture the Flag all day. I was a pretty good shot but most of all I was fingerfast on the map! I competed in several LANs and won the Eurocup with the Belgian national team a couple of times.
When did you make the switch to League of Legends?
Sjokz: Going to college put my gaming activities on hold - lack of good computer/internet connection/time, although I kept playing on the Playstation 2. I only started playing League a little over a year ago.
What got you interested in League of Legends?
Sjokz: My old Unreal Tournament buddies put me up to it - I didn't like it at all at first, I just wanted to shoot people ^^ Luckily Ashe kind of played into that need ;)
In the last few months you became quite a known personality in the League of Legends scene. Can you tell us what was the turning point that made this happen?
Sjokz: I think just getting recognition by the right people - my Korea coverage did really good and that impressed Alex (SK CEO) and opened a lot of doors for me. After that CyberSportsNetwork sending me to major American events like MLG and IPL5 definitely helped me make my mark. And of course Travis for letting me participate on Whose League is it Anyway - the State of the League spinoff that introduced me to North America.
At what point did you decide to try and make a career in esports? Did anyone inspire you to do it?
Sjokz: In march last year - after finishing college - I did nothing but play League all day and write for SK-Gaming. At that point I didn't see it as a career, but after attending Dreamhack Summer 2012, meeting the teams, Riot-staff and just being around all the fans and competition made me realize: "This is what I want to do - nothing else"
You're a host on "Whose League is it Anyway?", can you tell us how you all came together?
Sjokz: Basically Travis Gafford (host of SOTL) had an idea to make a show with people from the scene that weren't pro players - reporters, casters, tournament organizers. The goal was to make a show we could be proud of - not hauling in huge viewernumbers. He contacted me because he liked the Summoners Recap episodes - my weekly newsshow - and thought I would be good for the format since I keep up with the scene religiously.
You've been travelling to a lot of events, meeting all the players. What do you enjoy most about these events?
Sjokz: Well, the feeling of being at a tournament where everyone is obsessed with League. You know the feeling when you try to tell your non-gaming friends what it's like and how exciting it all is, and they just don't understand. For me personally events are hard work. I aim to get to the venue half an hour before the games start, I rarely see an entire match because I'm running around with my tripod and camera.
I run around gathering info, taking notes, preparing interviews, I set up my own camera and conduct the interviews, edit them, upload them and go back to the venue. I think that's one of the key reasons that a lot of them do well - but it's exhausting, in a good way!
Who did you enjoy meeting the most? Were there any first time encounters that you'll never forget? Do share :)
Sjokz: Well just as anyone I guess I get starstruck anytime I meet someone for the very first time. One of the first pro players I interviewed was Snoopeh at Dreamhack Summer, and I remember breaking out in sweat and standing around for about twenty minutes before I had the guts to to up to him - but he and the entire CLG.eu crew are just amazing guys. Besides that hanging out with Ocelote at Dreamhack and worlds, he's just larger than life!
On a similar subject, what was your favorite moment at an esports event?
Sjokz: So hard! Can I please pick three? :-) My time at OGN in Korea - eSports, Korean food and the occassional jägerbomb ;-). Worlds, I still get shivers thinking of the atmosphere in the USC Arena. And IPL 5 - in it's entirety. The level of competition, the hard work paying off in viewernumbers, and of course Vegas... Let's leave it at that ;-)
And were there any bad or annoying moments you can tell us about?
Sjokz: I've had a lot of times where I wasn't sure I could keep doing this much longer - eSports is a dream but you need to work hard to succeed and sometimes I just didn't think I could make ends meet. Those moments were certainly the worst of the year - because there's just this overwhelming feeling that this is what I'm supposed to do!
What are your plans for 2013? Anything in the works you can tell us about?
Sjokz: Whatever happens I just don't want to quit doing this. I may move next year - I'm still based out of Belgium - to be closer to the S3 competition and I'd also like to get a chance at hosting, but we'll see what happens!
To wrap up, What is your goal in eSports, what needs to happen for you to feel you've achieved all your eSports goals?
Sjokz: That's easy - I want to achieve what Rachel (Quirico) has. I've learned so much from her in just spending a couple of weeks with her. She is my prime example - she loves the games she covers, works hard and pretty much lives the dream. Not to forget she's gorgeous!
Thanks for the interview. Any shout outs? Where you can people find out more about you?
Sjokz: Thank you very much! Shoutout to SK-Gaming and CyberSportsNetwork, Travis for giving me a chance on Whose League, and Pluto.