During Dota 2’s The International 2023, professional players toured Valve’s offices to meet the developers working on the game. It was an experience Yatoro wasn’t a fan of, and he’s said as much this week.
Team Spirit’s star carry player was recently a guest of Oleksii “STORM” Tumanov’s Twitch stream, where he revealed not-so-positive opinions of his Valve visit.
While at the offices, Yatoro observed how the CS2 developers were outnumbering the Dota 2 team, and he could count the Dota 2 employees “with one hand.” Meeting with the designers, Yatoro said he found them “unfriendly,” as no one approached the professional players, which he believes signals a lack of interest in Dota 2’s competitive scene.
Questions regarding future content releases were unanswered, pushing Yatoro to question IceFrog’s involvement in Dota 2’s development. The legendary developer’s status with Valve has been a hot debate topic within the community, with multiple pros chiming into the discussion.
In a 2022 interview with Dot Esports, two-time TI champion N0tail expressed his doubts regarding IceFrog’s presence in developing Dota 2 as the game moved away from drastic changes until spring 2023.
Heading into summer 2023, Dota 2 received one of its biggest patches in the last two years, causing fans to celebrate IceFrog’s alleged return. IceFrog’s relationship with Valve remains a mystery, but Yatoro seems to be out of the believers’ camp after his Valve HQ visit.
IceFrog is considered the father of Dota 2 and has been responsible for some of the most iconic patches in the game’s history. With his flagging involvement, many believe Dota 2 patches have been getting stale quicker than usual for the last three years. When new Dota 2 patches are released, fans brace themselves for disappointment since major releases continuously get pushed back as Valve releases minor numeric balance changes to tweak the meta.
Yatoro’s thoughts echoed through the community via the flatlining TI 2023 prize pool, which was a direct result of the disappointing Compendium 2023 update. The “Dota Christmas” expectations were shattered this year as Valve’s TI12 battle pass replacement was disrespectful to Dota 2 players. The developer released the TI 2023 Compendium with no real content, which fueled the lowest prize pool in TI history since the early 2010s.