Dota 2’s biggest yearly tournament starts next month, but that doesn’t mean it’s not immune to changes. Valve has announced a number of key structural changes, which will take effect once the tournament is finished. Effectively, the Dota Majors will be almost completely unrecognizable after this year’s final. The biggest change is a focus on third party tournaments.
Up until now, Valve has run all of their own tournaments for the game.
Now, though, they will be searching for third part tournaments to directly sponsor. Speaking in a statement, Valve said:
“For the next year, we will be taking a more organic approach to growing the competitive ecosystem, working more closely with third-party tournaments.”
This is something that a majority of other tournaments focus on. Potentially, this will dramatically increase the number of official Dota 2 tournaments we see each year. This will create a two-tier system that varies by prize pool. According to the company, Majors will include events that can support a minimum prize pool of $500,000, with Valve than providing another matching $500,000, while Minors will be events with prize pools in the $150,000 range. For the Minors, the company will also match the prize pool. Dota 2, in particular, has long relied on the dollar signs accompanying its events to fuel the scene’s growth and talent accumulation.
In addition, all of these events, when sponsored by Valve, will be required to admit at least one team from each region (NA, SA, SEA, CN, EU, and CIS) through a qualifier process. These changes will hopefully address at least some of the shortcoming of the Majors system. This should also lead to a better and more stable circuit for everyone. One of the key components of these is a LAN finals component to their tournament.
The biggest change, though, is the introduction of a point system.
Instead of a somewhat arbitrary process, Valve is going to make the process more transparent going forward by predicating it on the highest ranked teams by point value. These are earned by individual players based on team performance, and then follow those players if they move during the transfer window. Obviously, Majors offer a lot more points than Minors. The company has also said that they will be handling all scheduling to ensure that there are no conflicts.
A leaderboard maintained by Valve will make it easy to see where everyone stands. This comes after criticism by teams who feel the company’s hands-off approach has led to too much chaos and uncertainty. The point system especially will help demystify the overall process.
The driving principle still appears to be eye-catching prize pools, however.
Roster lock seasons will remain, and players will be allowed to retain their Qualifying Points when switching teams. However, to allow for teams recruiting new entrants to the competitive landscape and to facilitate sometimes necessary roster changes between lock periods, only the top three players on each team will count toward their team’s Qualifying Points total.
This year’s International is set to take place on August 12. The series debuted in 2015 with four seasonal events, while the 2016-17 was reduced to three. These are Boston in December 2016, Kiev in April 2017, and the upcoming International in August.