Dota 2’s largest tournament, The International, has known a few changes in its format, duration and most recently – prize pool. The tournament has managed to outdo all expectations by reaching yet another record in terms of prize money. With the tournament returning for seven years now, each event has turned to pay out more generously than the one before it.
The Hefty Prize Pool
The International 2018 has done an outstanding job out of bringing together Dota 2’s most talented players. But it has equally well managed to channel fans and help expand the prize pool. Courtesy of the 2018 Battle Pass, a crowdfunding campaign allowing fans to truly live the hype and build-up to the event, Valve has managed to collect over $24,788,622.
More importantly, the event has officially become the eSports competition with the largest prize pool of all times, making it indeed an unprecedented affair. A seven years of upward growth has continued uninterrupted. And fans do indeed have a big say in this. Even then, the money from the previous tournament hasn’t grown by so much.
In comparison, the 2017 prize pool was $23,188,622, which is a comparatively small amount given the grand total. And yet, Dota 2 has seen a surge in its popularity insofar as the largest tournament has been concerned. Following the successes of TI3 and TI4, the total money allocated to the winning teams has grown significantly.
It’s not only players and fans who have been interested in the expanding the prize pool, though. Newly-minted eSports organizations have also done their absolute best to guarantee a spot in the prestigious event. Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), a football club, has decided to open their eSports arm and they tied up a deal with LGD, a popular Chinese team, in order to participate in The International 2018 as PSG.LGD.
With 4 wins and a single win, PSG have been doing an outstanding job so far. Meanwhile, the game has changed significantly from its previous iterations. If you are an old-timer returning to the game right now, you will notice that hero talents have been introduced.
The Changed Rosters
Focusing on the gaming landscape itself, it’ll be immediately obvious that Natus Vincere (Na’VI), the first team to win an International, is no-longer part of the event. Na’Vi managed to perform well during the first two Internationals, winning the first and placing well in the second. However, the team has petered out since.
Another eSports house, OpTic Gaming, known for their participation in FPS titles most of the time, have also made an entry in competitive Dota 2. With the pull of $24 million, it’s understandable why organizations will be fielding squads of their own to try and seize a piece of the tidy pool. Of course, Dota 2 is also a game with overwhelmingly steep learning curve, and mastering it also takes years, unless the athlete is particularly talented.
But even then, practise tends to beat talent. And when millions are at stake, everyone’s practising pretty much around the clock.