LPL Player Stories | LokeN | Persistence and Self-Revolution
Written by the LPL Team
“Throughout his four-year LPL career, LokeN has always been a model of persistence and self-revolution – the two pillars that drive him forward. Every season, a new breakthrough. That is his goal.”
“LokeN is a very self-disciplined person,” says JDG Translator Ren Zhe. “You don't have to monitor him every day. He will always take initiative to train until very late into night. When he rests, he just watches dramas in the dormitory."In the autumn of 2016, Ren Zhe graduated from University and he pursued the beginning of his esports career as a team interpreter and leader. Through LvMao’s recommendation, he joined JDG in February 2018. That’s when he met LokeN for the first time.
The young man with thick bangs and braces stood there in front of Ren Zhe, and made his first impression. “He is a very good and polite person.” describes Ren Zhe. “It is crystal clear at first glance that he is the kind of person who isn’t interested in anything except for games.”
LokeN’s path to becoming a pro was not a smooth sailing road.“When I was in middle school growing up, I wouldn’t dare tell my parents I was into gaming,” explains LokeN. “I feared they would oppose it. All I could do was wait silently for the opportune moment.”In his freshman year of high school, LokeN officially contacted League of Legends about his interest in going pro, as he continued to grind the ladders as an ADC. It took LokeN less than a year to reach Diamond I in the Korean Server.In 2015, LokeN and his friends decided to start with primary games. Little did he know that his first step would also be his first blunder. The captain of the team would go to the wrong stadium, and his team would be disqualified for being late.After this failure, LokeN joined ECS Ever Club. In the Kespa Cup in November 2015, he and his team defeated the World Champion SKT squad 2-0. In December of the same year, ESC Ever club won the championship at IEM Cologne 3-2 over QG.
In 2016, LokeN put on his orthodontic braces and officially set off for the LPL. Fast forward to now, over four years later, LokeN has already established himself as an LPL icon.
“If you compete on the stage for too long of a time, you will start to lose yourself,” describes teammate LvMao. “Sometimes you need to change the way you think by looking at the game from a different perspective.”
JDG Captain LvMao’s first impression of LokeN was that he was a “little boy with a good character.” LvMao played a crucial role in LokeN’s life, as he helped him adjust to the LPL environment.“My Chinese was not very good at that time, so LvMao helped me adjust gradually by communicating with me in English and body gestures,” says LokeN. “I think he is a very enthusiastic person.”
In the 2018 Spring Split, JDG faced three consecutive defeats after the Chinese New Year. The team believed there was a communication problem, so they replaced LokeN, whose Chinese was not up to par. Feeling confused and helpless, all he could do was sit in solo queue and play ranked games by himself.
On March 30, JDG suffered a disappointing 1-2 loss to LGD in Hangzhou. After the match, JDG’s top management got angry in the team’s group chat. Coach UDJ urged to get LokeN back, and the team decided to give LokeN a second chance in the LPL.
“If I say I have no burden in my heart, it is a lie,” LokeN asserts. “But I must show that my hard work in solo queue translates into the big leagues.” Shortly after his return, LokeN helped carry the team to beat SN and RW, making it to the Playoffs.
“Every time I cry with him, I always feel the joys and sorrows of esports,” explains JDG Analyst Vusso. “It’s not like crying while watching a movie, where you can’t control what goes on. It’s about crying because of the actions take or don’t take when your destiny is in your own hands.”
In the last game of the 2017 Summer Split, LokeN's level 1 death lost JDG the game. After the match, dejected and regretful, LokeN did not return to the lounge for a long time. Vusso found him standing alone in the corridor, crying. JDG missed the Playoffs.
In the Semifinals of the 2018 Summer Playoffs, JDG faced up against IG. No one expected JDG to have a chance, but they managed to force a Game 5, only to lose in the end. Once again, LokeN was found crying in solace, reflecting in deep thought.
“If I made one or two less mistakes, would the end result be different?” LokeN asked himself the question, feeling guilt, resentment, and all kinds of emotions bottled up within.
Today, LokeN’s love for crying is a normal thing in JDG. It’s about his character, as Vusso describes, “He’s too fond of blaming himself.” LokeN has used crying to recalibrate his thoughts and polish his gameplay, which in the long run has made him stronger.
LokeN’s talent was not a secret within the LPL. “In 2015, I watched LokeN farm 700 CS on Tristana in IEM,” says TES Manager Hao Guo. “He drew our attention.”
At the end of 2018, LokeN's contract with JDG expired and he wanted to leave the team to look for new opportunities. JDG still wanted to keep him, so he decided to stay, at least for the upcoming NEST tournament.
On November 18, 2018, JDG won the NEST Championship. With his commitment being fulfilled, LokeN became a free man on the 20th. Six days later, TES officials announced that LokeN would join the team as their ADC in S9.
“At first, I wasn’t planning to go to TES, but Manager Hao Guo was very persuasive when recruiting me,” LokeN explains. “On top of that, the contract they offered was too good, so I couldn’t resist and decided to join them.”
After a year at TES, LokeN was back, but this time, with a new flair. His style of play on the Rift was more fierce, and his Chinese was better. LokeN had evolved as a player, but was still his familiar, lovely self off the Rift.
LokeN is not a quiet person with those he knows well. Sometimes, he talks to Deputy Coach Cui Hu about his health problems. “If he doesn’t tell us, we wouldn’t know about his stomach and eye ailments since he doesn’t express physical discomfort, and doesn’t like to burden us with his problems.”
In game, he always urges the Jungler to snowball other lanes instead of his own. In daily life, when four teammates take a taxi, he chooses to sit in the most uncomfortable position (back row middle seat). His selflessness is always an inspiration to everyone around him.
LokeN’s classic favorite way to release stress is by going to a KTV (public karaoke club). Once after a match, LokeN sang at a KTV until 5am. By the time he got back to the dorm, it was already dawn.
“When I first came into contact with this game, it was still an era when everyone made many mistakes,” says LokeN. “At that time, I thought that as long as I make fewer mistakes than the other, I can win. However, as time passed, I have evolved my perspective and found my own style of playing.”
LokeN was no longer a person who looks back at his past matches. At the end of a season, he doesn’t go back to watch previous matches again, “because a new patch and new meta will emerge, and all I have to do is look ahead.”
He rejects the image of a lost match. Everytime the “Defeat” screen would pop up, LokeN would ask to immediately turn off the monitor. It’s always about the next game, next match for LokeN.
After losing the LPL Worlds Regional Qualifier in 2019, LokeN vowed that his crying would not be about regret and remorse, but rather about reigniting his passion to get better. Things were about to change.“Changing the way you approach the game is not an easy thing,” LokeN insists. “It is more like an endless duel between yourself.”Finally, in the 2020 Spring Playoffs, JDG stood victorious after a grueling five-game series against TES. After the game, LvMao found LokeN crying as usual: “This time, they were tears of victory, tears of joy, without any regrets.”
On the night of December 17, 2020, LokeN finally ended his 14-day quarantine in Guangzhou and returned to Shanghai. This would mark the end of S10, and the beginning of a new season for LokeN.
Old teammates remained, but new teammates arrived. Xiye had already been training with the team. Mystic, who also plays ADC, hadn’t arrived yet, but the pressure had already begun to ramp up.
In spite of this, LokeN said that he would not change his perspective, or his actions, but would continue to train just as hard as he always had. The dental braces that were originally supposed to be removed by mid-2020 had still remained in his mouth, but they were just one more obstacle for LokeN to overcome.
LokeN is not a flashy ADC, nor is he the type to accumulate an impressive highlight reel. He’s the teammate who always reaches his upper limit by putting himself to the grind, in positions where he can make teammates better, and in positions to challenge him to conquer every single adversity.
Persistence and self-revolution are the pillars that have brought LokeN from obscurity to an LPL Championship. Now, in his fifth season, with the 2021 LPL Spring Split already under way, LokeN finds himself on another quest.
A new journey awaits him.
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