From 18th to 21st July, eSports will see its biggest tournament to date – The International 4. What makes this tournament so special? It boasts a whopping prize pool of over $10,000,000 as of this week, dwarfing the prize pool of the second biggest eSports tournament, The International 3, which held a prize pool just shy of $3,000,000 last year.
Valve has given the community an opportunity to raise the prize pool by allowing them to buy interactive compendiums, which has increased the prize pool by $2.50 for each Compendium purchased, which has led to the colossal prize pool which we see now. In return for fans supporting Dota 2’s biggest annual tournament, Valve announced that players would “receive extra immortal treasures, obtain new custom in-game effects, get bonus Loading Screens and increase your Battle Point Booster percentage as you progress”.
As you can see on the right, compendium owners are rewarded as their compendium is leveled up.
Valve also added stretch goals to the compendium which were unlocked as the prize pool gradually increased, all of which have now been unlocked:
- $1.8 million – Receive “Evolving” Battle Point Booster
- $2.0 million – Unlock a Few New Loading Screens
- $2.2 million – Vote for Which Hero Should Get New Arcana
- $2.4 million – Unlock Compendium-Themed HUD
- $2.6 million – Unlock Voting for an 8-Player Solo Championship at TI4
- $2.9 million – Unlock All Random Deathmatch Matchmaking
- $3.2 million – Unlock a Treasure with Valve-Designed Immortal Items
- $3.5 million – Unlock Emoticons for Dota 2 Chat
- $4.0 million – Unlock Mini-Pudge Courier
- $4.5 million – Unlock New Music Pack
- $5.0 million – Unlock New 1v1 Mid-Lane Matchmaking
- $5.5 million – Unlock New Environmental Effects
- $6.0 million – Customize a Building in Your Base
- $6.8 million – Daily Hero Challenge
- $7.2 million – Alternate Voice (Hero vote, plus item when recorded)
- $7.6 million – Favorite Hero Challenge
- $8.0 million – Model Update Vote
- $8.4 million – Multi-Kill Banner
- $8.8 million – Afterparty broadcast with Darude
- $9.2 million – New upgraded creeps
- $9.6 million – A-Z Challenge support
- $10 million – Victory prediction taunt
This year, the International will be held in KeyArena, Seattle, which has a grand total seating capacity of over 17,000, a huge upscale from the previous two years of the event being hosted at the Benaroya Hall, which has a mere capacity of 2,500. A four day general ticket was priced at $99 with floor seating for $199 and $499 for VIP tickets for this event, and tickets were sold out within the first hour of going on sale! Perhaps next year it will be moved to a football stadium?
Previously, in all three Internationals, the winning team received 50% of all prize money, but this year people are speculating that the prize pool will be distributed differently, considering that it is so monumental in comparison with any other eSports tournament prize pools to date. If not, then the winning team will be going home with an impressive $5,000,000, suggesting that each player would receive $1,000,000 of the share, surpassing the total earnings of the highest earning eSport player in history – Jaedong ($522,961.72), from a single tournament.
16 of the world’s best teams will battle it out in the main event of the tournament from 18th-21st July, 11 of which have received a direct invite to the event, whilst 4 others ravaged through their regional qualifiers to earn their place in the main event, with the runners up in those qualifiers getting one last chance to compete for the final spot in the main tournament as a wildcard.
24 of our favourite Dota 2 personalities, casters, streamers, commentators and stats-men have also been invited to the event, including TobiWan, Bruno and SUNSfan, and will be providing casting coverage over Twitch.TV for all of us watching at home. That being said, one of the most recognizable casters in the scene, Draskyl, will not be attending the tournament, despite receiving an invite from Valve. He released the following statement:
“Without you guys, I’d be nothing but another face among a mass of DotA 2 players but because of you I’m able to do what I love for a living. Because of you, I’m able to live a dream. That is why as hard as it is for me to say, I will not be attending TI this year. I know some of you were looking forward to meeting me and for that I apologize…I was not given the opportunities I had been prior to this years International and because of that I had to decline Valves invitation to cast the biggest tournament in the history of any E-sport. This wasn’t a decision I took lightly, but I have to stand up for what I think is right and the position that I was given I don’t feel is fair to me so I’ll have to keep on hoping for another shot next year. (Not really a great excuse for the crappy dota I played earlier, but it was on my mind quite a bit) As a reminder, this weekend I’ll not be able to do sub games due to Dreamhack Summer. Hope to see a couple of you there!”
In other news, one of the participating team, the Chinese runner up – CiS, was declined it’s Visa this week, for the second time. They have announced that they will be re-applying individually as a last resort. They released a statement earlier this week:
“Two group applications and none succeeded, the consulate officer took a glance at our TI4 invitation….s/he barely looked at it!! Our last attempt is probably on the 30th….next time it’s individual applications, it’s better than 5 going down all at once. Could we possibly be the first team in TI history to not make it because we can’t get a visa? I’m so down, not in the mood to practice.”
This is not the only team having obstacles regarding this year’s International. Fnatic’s Adrian “Era” Kryeziu’s health has been in decline recently, which has forced Fnatic to play with a stand-in for recent LAN events – Steven “Xcalibur” Ye. It has now been reported that Adrian’s health is even worse than previously thought, which has led to some complications regarding their direct invite to TI4. Fnatic released the following statement on their website:
“As we approach [The International], we are at a crossroads — to play with Era without knowing if we are damaging his health, or to be disqualified,” Fnatic’s post says. “To play with Era would also mean extreme lack of preparation. We have not been practicing as the original five for some time now because of everything recounted in this post. As such, even if we were once able to perform on that level fans love and crave, we cannot reproduce this performance without practice and preparation.”
Valve stance on this matter is that they will only be accepting Fnatic to play in The International if Adrian is present in the team roster. This raises questions on Valve’s decision, considering that they allowed Evil Geniuses to replace one of their players due to a wrist injury just a few weeks earlier.
With such a successful outcome from TI4, we can only imagine what TI5 will bring. This year the prize pool more than tripled that of last years TI4. Could a $20,000,000+ prize pool become a possibility in TI5? As of now, The International 4 surpasses even the international sport tournaments such as The Masters, Grand National and ICC World Twenty20. At the rate eSports is currently growing, it is safe to say that it will be more widely accepted in the coming years. Countries such as South Korea and USA already recognize eSports as legitimate forms of sports and players are eligible to receive sports visas for LAN events abroad. This is just the start.