It’s not a semester of Dota 2 without at least a massive ESL tournament — and the event production company is already prepared for next season. ESL One Hamburg is returning for the fall season, the company announced, and is the first event of its scale announced for the 2018-2019 year.
The event had mixed reception in its first iteration, with the final-day feedback thread complaining of excessive ads, an awkward stadium setup and expectations unmet for some Premium ticket holders. However, it’s hard to forget the tournament itself between Virtus.Pro’s rise to power against Team Liquid and the iconic Mercedes-Benz copypasta memes.
This time, as tournament organizers have more time to prepare this year for the demands of fans and teams, they’ve expanded the event to a larger scale. There will be three days in the stadium for fans to watch, and, more importantly for pro players, sixteen teams will attend, though no prize pool has been announced.
More importantly, it falls extremely close to the desired Major dates for the upcoming season, as requested by Valve in January. In fact, two of the major requirements for a Dota Pro Circuit Major have been met: a date on or near October 20-21, and a sixteen-team format. The lack of prize pool information also brings up the question as to whether Valve may sponsor the event or not.
Still, with the kickback ESL faced for signing their deal with Facebook Live, it’s yet to be seen how receptive fans will ultimately be to the tournament.