Valve has confirmed that this year’s major Dota 2 event, The International, will be held at the KeyArena in Seattle, from the 3rd to the 8th of August. With a current Compendium prize pool of over $8.5 million, this year’s championships are already more than halfway to the 15 million dollar mark in just 22 days. As an avid Dota 2 player, I thought I’d share some of my own insights and experiences as the tournament approaches.
For those of you who aren’t entirely clear on how the Compendium works, let’s do a quick catch-up. The International’s annual interactive Compendium went on sale on the 1st of May at a price of $9.99, with 25% of the cash made from the Compendium going towards the tournament’s prize pool, which already stands at a healthy $8 million (approximately R95 million). A feat that we, the Dota community, have achieved in a mere two and a half weeks. At the same stage last year, two weeks into the Compendium’s launch, the prize pool stood at $6,500,000. That gives us, if my math serves me correctly, a 23% increase. A huge boost to that percentage happened on day one as Valve incentivised all launch day Compendium buyers with rare drops that would only be received at higher Compendium levels.
Levels are achieved by completing unique weekly challenges in Dota 2 or taking part in clever mini-games that require the prediction of team invitations and tournament results. If on the other hand you feel like taking the easier way out and not spend multiple hours leveling up, you could simply purchase Compendium Coins from the Dota store. This was a little frustrating for me as a Dota player to deal with initially. The reason I say this is because leveling up is not as simple as it seems, and it takes time. It draws you into this beautiful concept of achieving levels and unlocking rare cosmetics only to realise that after five hard-fought games, you’re only halfway to level 2 – and the final rare is quite a distance down the tunnel at level 250, making it a long road indeed. However, the possibility of Valve making leveling easier and bringing in new ways to achieve challenges gives me extra motivation to journey on.
Let’s look at the stretch goals of the 2015 tournament. There are 20 prize pool milestones, and when we as a community achieve those targets, we receive drops including Immortal Hero sets, rare couriers, loading screens, etc. I’ve listed a few of the stretch goals below:
$2,000,000: cursor pack
$3,000,000: Immortal Treasure I
$12,000,000: music pack
$15,000,000: special Axe Immortal and long-form webcomic
What’s impressed me is not only the speed at which we achieved those targets but how prepared Valve was in that regard. As soon as a target was reached, Valve released the associated reward, something that they definitely improved on from their 2014 campaign.
Valve has done their part, and now we the community are doing ours. All that remains is for the teams to do theirs. Qualifiers start in a few weeks (ten teams have guaranteed entry), with a new open qualifier that I will detail at a later stage. I for one am looking forward to three months of exhilarating competitive Dota 2!