The South African gaming scene appears to be awash with a number of organisations – both established and new – trying to (we hope at least) grow the scene by offering a variety of online and offline tournaments and events.

One of the new additions to the online tournament world is Orena who made an entrance with a neatly organised site, with cash and sponsored prizes up for grabs in their first announced tournaments. Of course, prizes aren’t everything, and it helps that the team behind the organisation are passionate and organised too.

Orena is obviously a clever play on the word ‘Arena’ which they describe on the site as “an enclosed area, often circular or oval-shaped, designed to showcase theater, musical performances, or sporting events. The word derives from Latin harena, a particularly fine/smooth sand used to absorb blood in ancient arenas like the Colosseum in Rome.” We think that just means there will be blood. Lots of it.

So we cornered them and got some answers about their plans before the blood spilling began.

Orena came into being not too long ago. Give us a brief history of what brought the organisation about?  

Luca Tucconi, Orena’s Founder, felt that the Competitive gaming scene in South Africa lacked a regular and consistent tournament provider, which promised lovely prizes and a professionally organised infrastructure. These key factors provide motivation and purpose for players to spend copious amounts of time in front of their PC’s or Consoles practicing their chosen profession. This is what Orena promises to offer at every event!

After close to a year of elaboration on the possibility of this idea working, Tucconi approached Breedt, a close family friend, who he knew had the fundamental skills to help get Orena to where it is today.

What previous experience do the two main braaaaaaiiiiiiiinnnnnssss behind Orena bring?

The two MAIN BRAINS bring a tasty bit of variation to the table.

Luca Tucconi, CEO & Co-Founder of Orena, has been competing in the Call of Duty franchise since 2008 and has won himself two Do Gaming Championships in Call of Duty 4, Captaining Ventus Gaming in 2010 and Bravado Gaming in 2012. He currently competes in the Do Gaming League for Bravados Call of Duty 4 and Black Ops 2 teams. Tucconi is also busy completing his BCom Degree in Financial management, his knowledge of competitive gaming, general management and business skills play a crucial role in the organisation as a whole.

Christopher Breedt, Brand Director & Co-Founder of Orena, is the wizard that brought us www.orena.co.za with all its wonderful features and is the designer of all the graphic work seen on Orena’s online platforms.  Chris finished his studies at the Friends of Design – Academy of Digital Arts and provides in-depth insight into website and graphic design while also having deep knowledge of gaming in general.  

How long have you been planning and organising events – as individuals or as a group?

As a group we have been organizing events for the extent of Orena’s existence, so about 2 months now.

What were you hoping to achieve when you launched Orena?

Our main goal was to provide the gamers, with a new found motivation to compete at a professional level, a reason for putting hours of time into perfecting there passion.

And in the future?  Are you planning to expand beyond the online competitions maybe?

Oh most definitely! We are looking to expand to a LAN environment in the near future, we promise to keep everyone up to date if anything major arises.

In an ideal situation, how big would you like your events to get?

Ideally, we would like to be competing with the international entities we have all come to know and love to watch, the situation isn’t ideal but we will do our best to assist in changing it.

How do you think that can be achieved?

Possibly the most important thing is to keep your communication chain with the community wide open, listen to its requests and give them there deserved time, after all you’re nothing without them! We also think that tournaments should be hosted in a professional manner and treated like a business. This helps other businesses build a sense of trust when dealing with you and will be far more willing to offer better support.

How regularly are you planning to host tournaments?

We are looking to host tournaments on a weekly basis, giving different genres/titles an opportunity at each event.

What is the next series of tournaments planned?

Orena_Black Ops 2_PCThe next series of tournaments will be announced this coming week, we will be supporting the PC Black Ops 2 community once again after the awesome tournament we had this past weekend! We will also be hosting a 1v1 title plus a 5v5 strategy game and possibly another team FPS, we’ll just have to wait and see ;P. Once again, this will all be supported by the one and only, NAG Magazine!!

Initial impressions were that Orena might be focused on competitive PC gaming, but the addition of a Black Ops 2 console tournament allays that thought. However, is there a platform preference or focus for Orena?

There is definitely no preference from our side in the long run, If a tournament can reach the required amount of teams to make it viable to host then it will be hosted on the Orena tournament platform, without a doubt!

In regards to professional – or competitive gaming – what do you think needs to be done to raise the profile of South African gaming?

Most importantly a community effort to expose the general public to something they generally have no idea of. I have honestly spent the majority of the last few months just explaining the basics of competitive gaming to interested parties. It’s a grey area in the minds of most people, even the ones who spend hours in front of their consoles and PC’s playing socially.

Are sponsorships a vital part of the growth of eSports in SA, or is it really down to the community and their willingness to support tournaments and events regardless of prizes?

At first it definitely comes to the community showing support. Companies need to see massive numbers competing in local tournaments like the Online Arena. They need maximum exposure for their brand for it to be worth the costs of supporting a tournament, especially in the current state of the world economy. That exposure will only be visible once the community allows tournaments to expose it to potential sponsors and the general public; something ORENA has already begun doing.

With the amount of time spent getting everything organised, doesn’t it all feel a little like a thankless task at times?  There must surely be a cost implication in hosting the events that leaves you at risk of digging in to your own pocket?

In all honestly, the last few months has been an awesome adventure for us at Orena. After being so desperate for the same thing over the past few years we couldn’t be happier assisting in supplying the new generation of gamers with an awesome online and future LAN tournament! The costs of registering the company and all the legal fees are a necessary expense for the safety of all parties involved in our tournaments.

Thanks for your time – is there anything else you would like to add?

We would like to thank NAG Magazine for the awesome support they have given us from the get go! Also a big thanks to all the teams who competed in the past weekend’s BlackOps 2 Inaugural cup, the updated ladder can be found here. Bravado.X51 ended up walking away with R1500 in cash including 5x 1 year NAG Magazine Subscriptions and 5x Rage weekend passes! [Some additional coverage here – Undead Ed]

Last but not least thank you Mr.ZOMBIE and Zombiegamer for an awesome interview, I hope our brainnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnzzz pleased you! [It was… satisfactory thank you – Almost always disdainful Undead Ed]

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If you are keen to feature in this column in the future, please feel free to contact us at info@zombiegamer.co.za and we’ll think about – after you’ve sent us a sample of your braaaaaaiiiiinnnnsss.