A brief rundown of what’s new: the International Compendium will launch next week alongside a new balance patch, and Valve will be sponsoring three more major tournaments a year in the hopes of making Dota 2 a bit more professional and stable. I apologise for the slightly generalised headline, but with a précis like that, I kinda had my work cut out for me.
A new post on the Dota 2 blog, entitled “The Dota Major Championships”, manages to mention all of this in the space of three paragraphs.
First: next week brings The International 5 Compendium along with “a major balance update,” and that’ll be followed by Valve announcing which teams will be heading to The International tournament itself. If you focus primarily on playing the game and only watch the occasional pro match, that’s pretty much all you need to know.
If you do actually follow the eSports side of things, though, then the rest of it might prove to be a bit interesting.
Firstly, there’ll be a “series of four marquee tournaments” per year, one of which will be The International itself. The other three will be sponsored by Valve but hosted by third-party organisers in other locations around the globe, and – more crucically – teams that participate “will be required to adhere to limited roster trade periods during the year.”
A large part of this is that the Dota 2 competitive landscape is a bit fragmented and lawless, which has its advantages, but a few major inherent downsides. As the post puts it: “While the lack of roster stability and major focal points during the year had its advantages, it has eventually come at the cost of fan engagement and competitive stability for the players.”
Right now, players are regularly switching teams, and teams themselves are disbanding and reforming so often that it can be a little bit tricky to keep track of who’s playing for what and which teams are still relevant. It also doesn’t help that tournaments tend to be a little… scattered. If I recall correctly, there was a point when there were set to be three tournaments in June, alongside the TI5 qualifiers. (Thankfully, this isn’t the case anymore.)
Personally, I reckon it’d be nice to see a bit more stability and professionalism hit the Dota 2 tournament scene. It’s still a growing game and it’s inevitably going to have plenty of teething issues as it gets bigger, but – as long as this doesn’t completely shut out other big tournaments like The Summit, Dreamhack, or ESL – it seems like a step in the right direction. That said, there are of course plenty of potential problems that could result from this considering the sporadic prize pools, the average age of competitors, and the fact that teams don’t necessarily have to be anywhere near each other…
More tournament details will be announced as the fall event – the first of the marquee tournaments – comes closer.