Without a doubt, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang has emerged as one of the top games not just in the Philippines, but in Southeast Asia as well.
After struggling to find footing during its infancy, the game has already cemented a strong community in the region almost five years since its initial release while also upping its professional league count to six with its expansion to Brazil – proving that the game can exist even outside of the empire that Moonton has built here in the peninsula.
But I bet that its developers, as well as professional players, talents, casual gamers, and even fans can agree that none of these would have been possible without the efforts of one man whose passion for Mobile Legends never wavered – Setsuna “Akosi Dogie” Ignacio.
In the pilot episode of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League Philippines’ Legacies, the 30-year-old content creator-turned-professional player shared the story of how he crossed paths with the game that most certainly changed his life.
At the young age of 10, he was plucked out of his life here in the Philippines and was brought by his mother to Belgium to study. Living away from home, the young Dogie had to be creative in spending his free time, bringing him much closer to video games, his first love.
“Nung umabot ako ng 10 years old, kinuha ako ng mommy ko sa Belgium kami ng kuya ko. Doon ako namulat PC games, una yung ibang MMORPG,” shared Dogie in the episode titled ‘Leaving a Mark.’
Juggling his time as a working student, Dogie eventually ventured into streaming but failed to land a major gig forcing him to work two jobs at a clothes brand store in the morning and a Japanese restaurant in the afternoon.
Even with his tight schedule and never-ending fatigue, Dogie still manages to find a way to squeeze in a little bit of game time at the end of his shift before making his way back to school in the morning.
But immediately after graduating, he decided to quit his jobs as he went through one of the most challenging battles he’s faced which ironically, led him to one of his biggest triumphs in life.
“Pag ka uwi ko doon na ako mag ge-games, inii-stream ko pa rin yun hindi ako tumitigil sa ‘pag ii-stream like… kasi hilig ko yun e, hilig na hilig ko talaga yun parang ayun na lang yung nakakapagrelax sa akin,” said the roamer out of Antipolo.
“Ayun, naka-graduate ako, nakapagtapos, nag quit na ako sa work ko nun, kasi na-burn out na ako tapos kinain na ako ng depression, like napapanot na yung ulo ko. ‘Pag ka naging store manager ka sa napakalaking shop sabihin nating 72 employees tao mo tapos 22-years-old ako parang nakakapressure, so ginawa ko nun pumunta ako sa psychiatrist and tinamaan na pala ako ng depression, suicidal na ako nun,” he further stressed.
Fighting depression, Dogie took a six-month break from everything. He then found his way back to the Philippines and eventually, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.
“Nung first month, okay. Nung second month, umuwi kami ng Philippines and doon ko nakilala si Mobile Legends which is around 2016,” Dogie shared.
“After nun, ‘di ko siya pinapansin basically, hindi ko siya pinapansin tapos bumalik ako ng Belgium, and then barkada ko tumawag sa akin kung alam ko ba yung Mobile Legends chineck ko sabi ko masyadong pambata kasi cellphone e, ‘pag nasa ibang bansa ka ano ba yung cellphone compare mo sa computer ‘di ba? Yung ego ko ayaw ko siya e, ayaw ko talaga siya but then, yung ex ko ayun na naglalaro na, nag eenjoy na so sabi ko sige, try ko na rin,” he explained.
In a desperate attempt to make a breakthrough in the streaming realm, Dogie, out of sheer necessity, decided to stream Mobile Legends on both Twitch and Youtube, but to no avail.
Still dead-set on kick-starting his streaming career, he eventually tried a new platform in Facebook but yielded the same results before finding inspiration in his dog. He used the FaceRig application to replicate his dog’s face hence the name.
That proved to be Dogie’s one-way ticket to stardom as he reached almost a thousand viewers after just a week.
Fast forward to today, the controversial yet colorful streamer now has almost eight million followers on Facebook and over six million subscribers on Youtube as well as multiple endorsements and brand partnerships.
“’Pag sinasabi ng mga tao na kung walang Dogie, walang Mobile Legends… I mean both comes in the same way e kasi kung walang Mobile Legends, wala ring Dogie.
“Paano magkaka-Dogie kung walang Mobile Legends? Yes, sabihin natin na ako yung pinaka consistent at that time sa Mobile Legends kasi wala talaga e, walang may gusto,” expressed Dogie.
Over the years, Dogie has been the face of Mobile Legends in the Philippines, creating countless content about the game as well as producing top-class professional players in the process.
While he has always been tagged as the individual who brought the scene to relevance, Dogie reiterated that Mobile Legends’ success has always been because of the partnership between the game and its community.
Still, even though he may have hit a few bumps in the road no thanks to his sometimes-problematic antics and 2 AM thoughts, there is no denying that Dogie played a pivotal role in Mobile Legends’ ascent in the upper echelons of gaming.
And that legacy will forever live in Philippine esports’ lore.
“Halos lahat ng content creator dito sa Pilipinas against sa Mobile Legends at the time, ako lang yung hindi sumuko and now Mobile Legends na yung top one na game sa Pilipinas and proud na proud ako,” he said.
“Kapag sinasabi ng tao na si Dogie nag pasikat ng ML, not really e. Kasi yung community yun e, kasi tuloy tuloy pa rin sila sa ‘pag subaybay sa akin ML, kung hindi naman dahil sa kanila, hindi ako sisikat, kundi naman po dahil sa kanila sa tingin niyo po ba sisikat yung Mobile Legends ‘di ba hindi? So, consistency na naglalaro sila ng Mobile Legends and naiinfluence nila yung iba,” Dogie explained.
“At the end of the day, community yung nagpalaki sa Mobile Legends which is napakaganda and yeah, both sides. If walang Mobile Legends, walang Dogie. Kung walang Dogie, walang Mobile Legends. Kung wala yung community, walang Mobile Legend. Kung walang Mobile Legends, walang community. So, both comes in the same way din.”