The biggest esports tournament of the year has been cancelled and has no return date as of yet, but it is likely that The International will feature against in 2021.
In a statement of Valve’s blog a few days ago, the company made the difficult decision to delay The International for 2020. This would have seen the competition make a full 10 years, with its first iteration of the competition first appearing in 2011. At this point in time, Dota 2 was still in early beta stages and had little more than 50 heroes in the game.
Natus Vincere, famed esports organization and brand, were the winners at the time, taking home their share of $1.6m from where the event was hosted during GamesCom at the LANXESS arena in Cologne, Germany.
The International is the biggest esports tournament in the world and pulls together a collection of teams from all over the world to compete for, what is annually, the largest prize pool in esports history. 2019’s winners, OG, took home a share of $34m US Dollars, a record-breaking prize pool in gaming. Interestingly, 2019 dwarfed the previous record of $25m US Dollars, set by The International once again in 2018. A tournament that was also won by OG, making them the first back-to-back, two-time winners of The International.
Valve’s announcement regarding the 10th tournament for Dota 2 states that they have made the difficult choice to delay it, due to the global health emergency that is COVID-19. It makes sense, considering that August, when the tournament is usually held, isn’t that far away and players from all over the world would need to get visas, travel and crowds from all over the world would gather in the same place. It’s a sad state of affairs, but one that we agree with Valve on. It’s necessary, and the responsible thing to do given the circumstances.
Valve has also confirmed that the Battle Pass, an item available for purchase in-game, will still go ahead and 25% of the sales will go towards the prize pool for the 10th International. This usually happens anyway but will give the pass a longer run-time, perhaps resulting in a larger prize pool. The Battle Pass includes cosmetics that can be used in-game, such as weapon and armor skins.
Sticking with Dota 2, Valve has also recently made the transition from version 7.25 to 7.26. The game has changed substantially over the last few versions with the introduction of neutral creep items as well as Outposts. These substantial changes were rather interesting, as were a bunch of other optimizations that were made to make the game slower.
The most recent change to 7.26 saw a tiny changelog, with four changes, one of which, was huge. Attributes for heroes no longer provided statistics for magic resistance, spell amplification and movement speed for heroes. Further changes to the version saw the reduction in talents being applied across the board, and then another change, which made denies weaker in terms of gold but increased in XP.
Remember, this is a game in which the last year has seen healing fountains introduced into the jungle, Outposts that can be captured across the map for increased XP, neutral creeps dropping game-changing items post 55 minutes with a special slot for said items.
It’s fair to say that Valve, and the brain behind Dota 2, IceFrog, are trying to strike some form of balance to refresh the metagame in Dota 2, taking it from a long-winded Strength metagame to a more balanced game that allows more of the heroes to be viable.
Jumping ahead to all types of esports and competitions, 2020 has seen a number of events cancelled, just like TI10, hopefully, to be replayed at a later date. Some online competitions have resorted to playing behind closed doors such as ESL One Los Angeles and the WePlay! Pushka League. Joining the list of tournaments cancelled, is also ESL One Birmingham that was scheduled in the UK at the end of May.
Sadly, Dota 2 isn’t the only affected game as the Americas, Europe, Asia and CIS Minor Championships for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in Rio 2020 have also been cancelled, with ESL One: Rio 2020 expected to be cancelled too. The DreamHack Masters is yet another competition that is going to be cancelled for 2020.
More and more tournaments are resorting to playing competitions behind closed doors, but some online viewers and players too, have said that a lot of the magic is missing whenever that happens. Time will tell how these tournaments go in the future, and when we’ll be able to start supporting in person once more.