Valve dropped a community warping bomb on Dota 2 fans last month when the development team confirmed there won’t be a battle pass for this year’s The International. Just off that information, we knew more changes were coming for Dota’s biggest event, and now it seems that might result in a multi-million dollar alteration.
TI has a unique methodology behind its prize pool, with Valve putting in a base figure and then the wider Dota 2 community contributing to it by purchasing in-game items over a set period of time. This has typically been tied to the battle pass, but with that being retired, the company has to switch things up.
While hosting a broadcast for the ongoing Bali Major, former pro player and current analyst NS may have let slip that Valve is in the process of upping the base prize pool it contributes for the first time in over a decade.
“I’m saying there’s a bit of little insight,” NS said, with translation from escorenews. “Maybe it’s open information, though, I don’t know. Let’s assume I made it up. At this TI, the starting prize pool will be $3 million, more than at any previous one.”
That $3 million figure would be near-double the $1.6 million Valve usually puts in—representative of the $1.6 million prize pool at the first TI all the way back in 2011.
No additional insight was given, but reporter Arseny Kuzminsky also noted crowdfunding will be re-adjusted, which is to be expected since the battle pass is gone. Now the main questions from fans revolve around what content Valve will release for this TI and how high the prize pool will be, when all is said and done.
Valve already confirmed a Ti-themed bundle of some kind will be released in September ahead of the event running throughout October. There were no details shared about what will be featured inside other than there will be a focus on the event and players while “cosmetic items won’t play a notable part.”
Without the pass to constantly bring players back for level grinding or to try and unlock cosmetics, it looks like TI will see a second straight year of declines in its grand prize—after previously setting an esports record for 10 straight years.
That drop, along with the $15 million Riyadh Masters set to try and take market share from the Dota Pro Circuit, has fans and players wondering about TI’s future.