LOKKE – The unbreakable twins
You ask who or what Lokke is? Well, besides serving the pragmatical purpose of making this article’s title a little shorter, hidden behind this word is an ever enduring companionship (or fellowship, to give one of the interviewees’ cultural taste some credit) between two great personas in the Dota and gaming world in general. Also, it is quite obviously a weak attempt at a witty meme-coining by the editor, but given how often the two have appeared in rosters of winning teams, none could really blame him of trying to shorten it a bit.
Jonathan “Loda” Berg and Joakim “Akke” Akterhall, Sweden’s most intimidating duo that has burned and pillaged through the history of DotA and HoN, continues to do so in Dota 2 as an integral part of the lately highly achieving team, Alliance. This tandem’s long run of cooperatively earned trophies reaches from as far back as 2007 in the glory days of Team_Team, MeetYourMakers and SK-Gaming, to as recent as Alliance‘s successes at 2012 Thor Open (2nd place) and Dreamhack Winter 2012 (where their trophy was of the golden hue).
We set up a talk with the guys themselves, to get to know more about this long-living and charismatic gaming symbiosis.
Hello to you both and thanks for finding the time for this conversation! We’ve mentioned parts of your professional careers in the introduction, but perhaps you could tell us a bit more about how you actually met. Was it gaming that brought you to friendship or was it vice versa?
Akke: Well, we met in school when we were at the same class, we were 16 years old I believe. You can kinda say that it was gaming that brought us together, since we started to play Warcraft III together pretty soon after that. We played a “Random team 2v2″ tournament on Battle.net where we actually qualified for playoffs and finished 9th or something like that. ^^ Some time after that Loda told me to try out DotA and that’s where our journey began!
Loda: Yeah, like Akke says, it was when we ended up in the same class that gaming kinda made us connect. I brought Akke and his girlfriend to play DotA at a Net Cafe and that’s where it all started! Akke actually played Techies and built a Refresher
Quite an explosive start, if you know what I mean! So, after some time of playing together, did you come to the idea of getting into competitive DotA jointly or did you enter at different times and then meet up later?
Akke: I don’t really remember much, somehow we started to play Dota-League and competed there. Also, at the time we were still only playing on Battle.net and I somehow got into TeamQ’s (which was one of the best teams back then) Ventrilo channel and played inhouses with them. I also found a mIRC channel where they had 2-on-2 tournaments where I brought Loda. From then on we were more and more interested in the competitive scene, which was very small at that time.
Loda: Well we started quite early actually. I mean, we wanted something else out of the game, so I ended up pulling a team together out of random people at first. And then, during quite a short span of time, we went through a few different line-ups and finally ended up with the old T_T line-up. But as Akke mentioned there was a lot of inhouses and stuff like that on the way that I was able to sneak us into
Was MYM (or JoY, before the sponsorship) the first professional team you both played in?
Loda: Well the first real team would be T_T (Team Team). If im not wrong it composed of Loda, Akke, Bogdan, Renji, Kwom. We signed up for an ESL qualifier where we played against some of the big names back then, like ONI (German team with H4nn1 and LevenT) and lolboat I think (which was a mix of Maelk, MaNia and maybe Paccie – not sure). We ended up winning the qualifier and shortly thereafter I was approached by Maelk to create a team (JoY) with him, me, Akke, MaNia and Paccie.
By the way, you know it’s been 7 years from the days at MYM, right? That’s a lot of time!
*a bit of collective snickering*
Akke: It’s crazy that it’s been so long…
Loda: Indeed, it’s been a long road ^^
Within this timespan, you have been through a lot of teams – without going through all of them, which do you feel was the one you enjoyed your play (and stay) in the most?
Loda: I would say the times with SK, when we won 2 Dreamhacks and the ESWC Masters in Paris. It was a team that was always very fun to be in and it was just awesome going to tournaments together
Akke: Like Loda said, it was indeed the funniest time so far!
Was there someone else that you played with for very long, but who quit in the meantime (and would now, if he continued, be part of a legendary Swedish trio, instead of duo)? Or at least someone who came very close to this?
Akke: If I would have to name someone, it would be Kwom. I think he easily would have competed with the best players in the world if he continued to play, maybe as a solo mid!
Loda: *laughs* Well, it would either be Bogdan or Kwom. Both of them were very good when they played, Bogdan more as a very calculated player (probably in a support role) and Kwom as a solo mid or an offlaner But I mean, Bogdan and me are very very close friends, so we have even joked about it and considered it, but it just didn’t become a reality.
Were there some significant periods of time when neither of you was in eSports or even gaming? Did you ever feel like quitting the entire scene? Also how was HoN for you and why did you return to Dota (2)?
Akke: I’m always drawn to competitive gaming no matter what I play, so I strongly doubt that I would just quit everything. I’ve had some breaks where I didn’t play as much, like the time between my retirement from DotA (1) and my comeback to HoN, but to quit entirely – no, not really.
HoN was a lot of fun. Back then it was a really fun game and I got to go to some nice LANs – I went to Singapore for a week and also to USA (where Loda also played with us) and we actually placed second. At that time I also got nominated for “The best support of the year” which I won together with another player that got the same amount of votes. But yeah, the transition to Dota 2 felt very natural. Also, it was a good time to switch since Dota has always been my favourite game and with Dota 2 just getting a bit more popular, I didn’t hesitate. Loda also harassed me, telling me that we were gonna make a team and stuff like that. And I simply can’t say “No” to that man, so that’s what happened!
Loda: Well yeah, sure, there are always times when you feel like quitting. And I did quit for a while, a few times. I played HoN for quite some time, since I just didn’t possess the will to play DotA anymore. There was also a time when I moved to Dublin for a while, and so on. HoN was fun in its own way, there were a lot of imbalances though It was a fun experience, though, but my heart was always with Dota. And I knew I would quit HoN as soon as Dota 2 came out.
Loda being in the roles of solo-mid expert previously, as well a hard carry as of late, and Akke the microing master, you seem to fill very important and mutually complementary spaces in a competitive Dota team. Do you feel that this role distribution, along with your friendship, is one of the main reasons the teams you play in are often successful?
Loda: *laughs* It’s been a long time since I was a solo-mid expert ^^ Now I’m more of the hard carry that auto-attacks creeps, etc. Sure, it does help that we are great friends, it makes it much easier to lane and stuff like that. But we both have our fair amount of skills and have been able to succeed without each other before. Although, I have to say it’s great to play together again!
Were you always prone to more-or-less the same specific roles in the team? I mean, of course, everyone starts out by trying everything, but has there been a point in time when you were tied to totally different roles than now?
Akke: Back in the old days, when Loda had the hard carry, I usually had the solo mid role. I played heroes like Viper, SF, Sylla, Leshrac and stuff like that. Also, I played Chen a lot and we had many “innovative” strats back then. One of our specialities was me going in the enemy woods with Chen (which at that time wasn’t popular at all) and Loda taking Terrorblade middle. I would come out as a biiiig suprise and gang their middle hero, maybe an SF, resulting in Loda having great farm on a super hard carry that couldn’t otherwise compete on mid lane.
But yeah, back to the question! No, I didn’t play the support role that I play today. The reason I switched was mostly because I played support in HoN and thought it was fun, so I stuck with it when I got back to Dota 2.
Focusing a bit more on your current team – do you discuss when drafting or is it up to EternaLEnVy most of the time?
Akke: It’s mostly Envy doing the picks, but we all try to be there to support him and make sure he doesn’t miss anything. We also try to add factors that he might not think of.
Regarding this, who thought of the ambush versus EG? Should we hope for more of these kind of strategies, hidden up your sleeves?
Akke: It was s4′s idea. We spoke about it for like an hour before the game, planned the draft, our position in the woods, the ward and everything We might have more, but I guess you’ll have to wait to find out!
I’m sorry in advance for asking this, but I have to. There has been talk about you guys getting a new sponsor with Alliance – will we again see Loda & Akke under the banner of a well known gaming club or is this a completely new name to the scene?
Akke: Can’t say much right now, you will see soon!
That’s fair enough! Thanks again for this interview and great luck to you both, and your team as well!