Tomorrow on the 8th of August the main event of the biggest eSport tournament in the entire world will start: The sixth International. 16 teams from all over the globe will fight for the trophy. Those who will prevail are not only regarded as the currently best Dota 2 Team, there are also over 8,000,000$ waiting for them. But why is it so special? Why is everyone looking forward to it? Here are a few examples of why it can enjoy such great popularity.
The only Dota tournament organized by Valve
– at least until last year. Since it was the only Dota event hosted by Valve and had such a great impact, prize pool and viewership it always was the most important tournament. But this also caused a lot of stress for the players, since it often only mattered how high they ranked at the TI and all the achievements in other tournaments counted less. In order to reduce the pressure Valve established the three Major Championships, the Frankfurt Major in autumn, the Shanghai Major in winter and the Manila Major in spring. These are all leading to the absolute peak of the Championships: The International in spring.
A $19,985,107 prize pool
With nearly 20 Million dollars the International is holding the record for the highest prize pool from all eSport tournaments. But how could this incredible sum be accomplished by Valve? It’s simple: via the community. Valve opened the initial prize pool with $1,600,000 USD. Then they launched the TI6 Battle pass, an ingame compendium that can be purchased by all Dota players. 25% of all TI6 Battle Pass sales were added to the prize pool. The owners of the battle pass can receive different kinds of rewards by winning games, betting and finishing quests.
So, with the help of the community it was possible to expand the prize pool to such an insane degree.
Get the fans involved!
To get the fans even more hyped and interested for the International the Fantasy Challenge got introduced this year. The owners of a battle pass received several packages that included ingame player cards from the participating players of the TI. You can not only collect them and try to have all members from your favorite teams, you can also create your own fantasy team for the various days. Depending on how well the players are performing in their matches, one gets awarded with fantasy points and after the TI these will be exchanged for awards. Although this is more of a small gimmick to play around with, it also enhances to follow and participate in the TI even more. Apart from that it is also possible to earn points and rewards by making various predictions, testing ones understanding of the depths of the game and the playstyle of the teams.
The special All-Star Match
Another highlight is the annual all-star match. Five players shuffled from all teams form a new one, playing against a second team. In 2015 there were even fans from the audience allowed to be part of the teams, together with the pro-players. The fans can also define the hero pool from which the players have to pick.
All in all The International is a great example for the professionalism of competitive gaming. It shows that it goes beyond “just playing some video games” has to be taken way more serious. But it also provides a great possibilities for the community to involve, making it the annual highlight in the Dota 2 scene.
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