Valve have finally broken the radio silence surrounding the fate of TI and the DPC.
2020 was a crazy year and it wasn't any less crazy in the world of Dota 2. Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, all DPC Major and Minors were cancelled. While the DPC’s yearly main event, The International 10, was postponed.
Today Valve made an announcement regarding TI10 and the future of the DPC on their blog. And while a lot of our questions have been answered, there are still a few blanks to fill in.
The Dota Pro Circuit 2021 Season. https://t.co/meCrho6LrH
— Wykrhm Reddy (@wykrhm) January 1, 2021
New Regional Leagues
Valve first floated the idea of shifting the DPC away from its Major and Minor format last year. Today that becomes official. Starting January 2021, the DPC will be made up of competitive leagues based in geographical regions.
There are no ‘new’ regions, so to speak. With all the regional leagues announced already being home to major organizations and pro-players that have competed in the DPC previously. But there are some big changes, including removing Minors, and splitting the DPC season in two.
The new DPC will be spread over two seasons, with a Major for each season. Teams will compete for the top spots in their region, to secure a chance at a slot in the Major.
How many slots are available for the Majors?
EU and China each take home the most slots, which was pretty much expected; both regions are home to some of the strongest and oldest professional Dota 2 teams.
But SEA and SA fans were no doubt pleasantly surprised to see a boost to the number of slots available in their regions. Teams in SEA have long been overdue more chances at the top prize pool. While SA has become a burgeoning region for talent over the last few years, with Quincy Crew in particular putting up a solid performance throughout many of the small leagues and tournaments that cropped up through 2020.
Here’s the slots available for each Major;
- EU: 4 Major slots
- China: 4 Major slots
- SEA: 3 Major slots
- CIS: 3 Major slots
- NA: 2 Major slots
- SA: 2 Major slots
How does the seeding work?
Valve made the decision to ignore previous DPC results when working out the seeding in the new leagues. Instead, they’ll be selecting the top four teams in each region in the best form to directly qualify for the Upper division. Then a series of closed and open qualifiers will determine the remaining 12 teams in the Upper and Lower divisions.
According to Valve, the rationale behind this decision was twofold. Partly due to varied performance among teams when compared to previous DPC seasons, and partly because of the number of roster shuffles we saw through 2020.
The new DPC kicks off on January 18, and the schedule times for each region have already been laid out. According to Valve they revised the original schedule after fans and players provided feedback, “to make sure all match times fit the regions play and watch times as best as possible.”
Season 1 of the DPC will run from Jan 18 to Feb 28 for all regions except China. They’ll begin January 18 along with the rest of the leagues but will finish on March 14 due to a short break in the middle of their season. (Likely to accommodate the Chinese New Year holiday period.)
The first Major will be played from March 25 – April 4.
Season 2 will begin on April 13 and run through May 23, with the Major played from June 2 until June 13.
And that will take us right up to TI.
What’s happening with TI 10?
According to Valve’s blog, we can expect TI 10 to be held in Stockholm in August of 2021. Although assumedly this depends on public health advice and government regulations surrounding large gatherings.
With the coronavirus vaccine on the way to being available, Valve are no doubt hoping that things will be well under control by then. However with Sweden still recording record deaths and transmissions presently, there is still some uncertainty surrounding the choice. Valve will likely be keeping a close eye on Stockholm and Sweden's recovery ahead of announcing official dates.
What about the 2020 prize pool?
There’s been no indication from Valve as to how the prize pool from 2020’s Battle Pass will be distributed yet either. 2020’s Battle Pass skyrocketed to $40 Million USD back in October. But with no TI to dish it out at, the fate of the prize pool is unknown.
Many fans are calling for Valve to redistribute that money to the T2/T3 scene to help with drawing new players and orgs to the game. Others are expecting that prizepool to get split between the regional leagues somehow.
Whatever is happening with the cold hard cash, Valve haven’t made the details clear yet.
What is clear is that the DPC is a wholly changed beast. And it’s sure going to be interesting to see how these changes play out when Season 1 kicks off.
Stay tuned to ESTNN, or follow us on Twitter for all the latest Dota 2 and esports news and highlights.
Feature Image: ESPAT/ManLok Fung