Dota 2 has pretty much changed the landscape of competitive gaming, taking it to a scope that was never ever envisioned, all thanks to Valve’s Dota 2 tournament, The International. Now in its 4th edition, The International has grown to sky-high heights, and this year, it offers a prize pool never ever seen in a video gaming competition, totalling up to almost $11 million. Last year, it was $4 million, which itself was considered a huge landmark.
What makes The International so special is, its all community driven. Dota 2 is primarily free-to-play. Its not the gimmicky free-to-play model we see being abused by countless developers, the full game is unlocked by default. People only pay for cosmetic upgrades, and you’ll be surprised at the seriousness of the fan base who spend hundreds of dollars in just cosmetic upgrades. I too, have spent about 40 dollars (INR 2,400) in such upgrades. If you spoke to me an year back, I’d say that I would be stupid to do such a thing. But so deep is the dedication I have to Dota 2 and the system that Valve’s built around it, I can’t hold myself back. And I know its only for a good cause.
HOW VALVE RAISED THE PRIZE MONEY
It’s simple, really. Valve launched The International Compendium, some weeks before the The International Qualifiers kick off. The Compendium costs $9.99. Valve uses $2.5 for every compendium sold as the prize money pool. Why would you be bothered to buy this ‘digital’ compendium? First and foremost, it makes The International possible. Next, it unlocks cool in-game items, nothing performance boosting, just cosmetic. And the prizes get even more cooler as the money raised rises. Valve has set ‘stretch goals,’ meaning milestones that release a single or a collection of items every time the lump sum crosses the goal. Trust me, if you’re a Dota player, you’ll know the importance of these collectibles, they really do enhance the experience. Ubisoft and EA should take a cue from this, I always found their cosmetic paid upgrades to be pathetically redundant and boring.
THE GRAND FINALS
Today, the Grand Finals take place. The winner of the competition will be decided today. This year it is going to be an all Chinese finals. This is the first time an International final has been composed entirely of Chinese squads. Surprise entrants Newbee make the cut, and will go head to head against the famous ViCi Gaming. Five players from each team will battle it out against each other in five matches. Most wins out of the five games wins The International 2014. The winning team takes home $5 million. The Grand Finals take place at the Key Arena, Seattle. Tickets were sold out weeks before.
Also, for those who care, Gabe Newell, the co-founder and managing director of Valve will be present to award the winner. He is pretty much considered the ultimate messiah of PC Gaming.
WHERE DO I WATCH IT
If you play Dota 2, you already know this stuff. For those who don’t, I’m here to explain. The perfect way to go about it would be to watch it within the Dota 2 interface. All you have to do is create an account on Steam and download Dota 2, for free. Do check out our review of the game if you need more convincing. Dota 2 has also won countless awards on iLLGaming. Watching it within the client offers you more control of what you want to watch, and if you’re lucky, it’ll unlock some cool items.
On the contrary, the Dota 2 Twitch channel has been broadcasting the International Main Event. Valve this year has introduced the Newcomer stream, if incase the Dota mumbo-jumbo rushes past your head. The Newcomer stream is highly recommended, the commentators do a good job to explain the nits and bits of this beautiful game.
The International 4 pretty much sums up where competitive gaming is heading. Things are looking up for pro-gamers. Participants in these tournaments are treated like stars in the homelands. Being a pro-gamer has eventually paid off for these guys, and we congratulate them!
Coverage for the Grand Finals starts at 9:30 PM, India Standard Time.
Valve is also organising pubstomps all across the globe, where fans can watch the Main Event and cheer for their favourite teams. India is hosting a couple of pub stomps itself. Click here for more details on the pubstomps being held in India.