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Dota 2 competitive overhaul: What’s changing and what you need to know

Valve: “We will be taking a more organic approach to growing the competitive ecosystem”

The Aegis of Champions facing the crowd at The International 3.
Dota 2 Blog/Valve

In the year of Dota 2 to come, its developer Valve will be shifting back towards one of its more renown strategies: organic tournament ecosystems. In a blog post published Monday, Valve announced a major overhaul to its competitive system that pushes the focus back towards—and even rewards—third-party events.

Previously criticized for its lack of transparency regarding how it handles esports, the Dota 2 developers most notably reformed their pre-existing “tiers” of competitive events, redefining their “Major” and “Minor” events and announcing further sponsorship of such tournaments. More interestingly Valve also announced a new “Qualifying Points” system that will determine what teams are invited to The International 2018.

Valve has also scrapped their “Majors” events series, likely in favor of these third-party tournaments.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what you need to know about the new system:

Majors & Minors

  • Events with larger prize pools may apply for a “Major” or “Minor” sponsorship status
  • An event with a $150k base prize pool may be considered for a “Minor” status; Valve gives such tournaments $150k extra
  • An event with a $500k base prize pool may be considered for a “Major” status; Valve gives such tournaments $500k extra
  • Sponsored tournaments will have mandatory qualifiers for the six current “regions:” North America, South America, Europe, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), China, and Southeast Asia
  • These tournaments will also have mandatory LAN finals
  • Valve will help coordinate such events throughout the year to avoid conflicts
  • There will be no more end-season Valve-run “Major” events like in prior years (minus The International)
  • Roster lock “seasons” will still be enforced

Qualifying Points

  • Sponsored events will give both players and teams “Qualifying Points” based on placement, which will determine The International 2018 (yes, next year’s) invites
  • Majors will give more points than Minors, with point counts scaling by both category and prize pool
  • Points will scale up based on proximity to The International
  • Only the top three-scoring players on a team will count towards the team total
  • A leaderboard will be made available listing both the top teams and individuals
  • Players switching during the roster swaps periods will keep their individual points, though the corollary regarding unofficial swaps was not mentioned

The strategy is likely aimed at bringing prominence and attention to third-party events, which were a focus of Dota 2 before the Majors. The implementation of “Minors” is also a likely attempt to bring life into the ecosystem of lesser-known teams, as it’ll legitimize lesser-known events, regions and players. Even “tier-two” teams will have an opportunity to earn their TI8 invites, whether direct or for qualifiers, at these smaller events.

This is one of the biggest changes in competitive ecosystem formats in any recent esport, but the shifts it’ll cause are yet to be seen.