Dota 2’s largest competition of the year is coming back and if The International (TI) 6’s prize pool is anything like last years it’s going to turn some heads. The prize pools from Dota’s TI tournaments are higher than any other game’s and have been for the past two years. The newest tournament’s prize pool is already $7,433,092 after just 7 days of being open! The prize pool starts at $1.6 million dollars and is continually increased from a pool of fan-driven sales. How is it that Valve is able to grow their tournament prize pools so much? That’s easy. It’s through the Compendium and Valve’s more recent stand alone item, the Battle Pass.
Starting in 2013, fans were able to buy a Compendium that housed information relevant to the tournament, including the participating teams, players, and stats for each. 25% of the proceeds from each $10 Compendium sale went right to the prize pool, and by the end of the tournament the prize pool went up over $1.2 million. Of course, this means that Valve made back their initial contribution and then some, which made this method their go-to in future tournaments.
For the next two years Valve took their base Compendium model and expanded on it, pushing the prize pools up even further. By adding character costumes, HUDs, announcer packs and all kinds of other goodies along with the Compendium, more than just die hard fans became interested in putting money towards in-game swag. By adding more money in, players were able to level up their Compendium and receive more in-game items, so that $10 suddenly turned into more. In addition to this, there were ways to level up your compendium in-game, which brought many players back and had them playing more than any other time of the year.
Due to its resounding success, more tournaments started to adopt their own Compendiums to try and supplement prize pools, and not long after battle passes started to emerge. These provided many player sought items without needing to have large tournaments to track statistics on, which provided a great alternative throughout the year. Moba’s have a bit of a problem when it comes to toxic communities, so oftentimes players will take long breaks or even quit playing a game altogether. Having a way to draw players back in is exactly what this game needed.
This year Valve decided to break it’s yearly TI Compendium down by releasing the Battle Pass early to hype the community for the upcoming tournament. They pulled out all the stops by rewarding players more than ever before. Now with cursor packs, announcers, special events, and progression goals it is a better time than any other to spend a few bucks on the game. To give you an idea of the rewards, here is a list of the things I received with the $27 package that started my Battle Pass level at 50:
- Courier: This little guy is used to cart items back and forth to the hero on the battlefield. The one from this year’s Battle Pass has an appearance that upgrades with your Battle Pass level.
- Immortal Items: 5x level 1 / 1x level 2 / 1x level 3 treasures. These are each filled with an item that when equipped on a hero adds special effects to attacks and abilities.
- Wards: These provide vision and detection on the battlefield, and like the courier, this one has upgraded appearance options as well. Wards are new rewards this year.
- 2 Emoticon Packs: Some players love to express themselves with emoticons in chat.
- Cursor pack: There aren’t many options for changing cursors, but this year a unique pack can be unlocked in the Battle Pass.
- HUD: This is a different overlay. We’ve seen these for a few years now, but it’s always nice to add some variety to the game.
- Effigy Block: In an attempt to add some personal flare to the game, Dota 2 has incorporated effigies that can be carved into the likeness of Heroes. These are consumables and receiving one in the Battle Pass gives players an excuse to express their creative side.
- 4 Taunts: While taunting your enemy might not be for everyone, there is little doubt that crushing an enemy right after a taunt is one of the most satisfying kills you can land in Dota 2. Even if you don’t plan on using these taunts, having them gives more of an opportunity to make your opponent pay for using theirs!
- Announcer Pack: These are another item which we don’t have a ton of, so seeing it make its debut as a Battle Pass reward is a welcome sight. After hours of playing the game, being able to change up that announcer voice keeps the game from getting annoying.
- Battle Cup Ticket: This is a brand new feature all on its own. It allows players to compete in a tournament-like setting of their own.
- 2 Weather Effects: Weather effects are a returning favorite. They provide a weather effect to the game, and allow players to customize the atmosphere of their games.
- Terrain: Similar to weather effects, terrain options are a great way to customize the feel of the game by changing the terrain. Sometimes just changing up the color pallet adds a refreshing touch to the game.
- Music pack: Valve ensures that the music in the game is top notch. Every time a new music pack comes out, it is sure to blow you away.
- 3 Loading Screen Packs: These loading screen packs make for some amazing backgrounds!
- 2 Votes for the next Arcana: Dota 2 comes out with Arcanas from time to time. These special character costumes completely revamp graphics, spells and ability buttons in the HUD. With each TI, players are given an opportunity to vote on which hero gets the next Arcana made for them. This year, leveling up your Compendium gets you more votes on this.
- 7 Character Costume Sets: By way of some side-game content in the Battle Pass, I managed to get an additional 7 sets of character costumes. While I expected immortal items, it was a nice surprise to get so many additional full costume sets.
- Loads of Custom Effects: During events such as these, Valve adds in special effects for many common items within the game. Teleportation, Blink, and Recovery effects are just some of the items that are altered for the duration of the Battle Pass. The higher the level of your Battle Pass, the bigger and shinier these effects become. Sadly, these expire once the event is over.
That’s a lot of swag! Normally, all of these items would reach nearly $100 in value, so getting a Battle Pass is definitely a bargain. Valves decision to add in items like this are sure to influence people to buy in for Battle Passes this year. I for one am getting back into the game with the addition of this year’s Battle Pass. If you would like to check it out yourself, it is available on the official Dota 2 site http://www.dota2.com/international/battlepass.
All photos are copyright Valve.