The International is a façade of esports’ success due to its massive prize pool – annually, TI topples every other esports tournament’s prize money. Behind this is an ever-supportive community that generates millions of dollars to support the biggest tournament of the year through a battle pass.
The battle pass showcases exclusive cosmetics and skins made by community workshops and Valve itself. Despite Valve steering away from lore-related and thematic cosmetics, the community embraced these changes and purchased hundreds of battle pass levels per account – which adds up $100 million in which 25% is dedicated to TI9 prize pool. However, this year’s battle pass reveals Valve’s lack of care towards its community by releasing battle pass contents way past the expected delivery date and an underwhelming special event mode.
Players Compelled to Pay More to Get Rewards
During the previous battle passes, there was an option for players to recycle duplicated items from treasure chests for more battle pass levels. More battle pass levels meant unlocking more exclusive items. This feature helped players to level up without paying money. However, this year, Valve cared not to incorporate this feature so that players will tend to buy levels instead.
The International battle pass, similar to other games, also has quests you can grind to level up your bp. This time, quests are ridiculously difficult to complete and battle points are relatively low. Conclusively, it is impossible to increase your level simply by grinding – the only way is to buy more levels.
Tricky Strategy To Get More Sales
In time with Steam Summer Sale is a discounted Dota 2 bundle consisting of 120 levels of Dota 2 battle pass for a 75% discount. This discounted bundle is only limited for only one purchase per account. Last year, players exploited a loophole where they were able to buy three bundles. Interesting enough, the loophole is still existent in this year’s bundle which players obviously exploited. Furthermore, Valve “rewarded” those who did not exploit the loophole by being able to “legitimately” buy three bundles – a power marketing move which worked well after a big spike in The International total prize pool.
The Disappointing Reveal
Despite all the obvious attempts of Valve to get more money from its community, fans are still looking forward to more battle pass content release. However, the excitement was instantly killed when they finally dropped the special event mode for this year’s TI battle pass – an ordinary Dota 2 40-minute game but with very little tweaks.
Considering that Valve released an RPG mode in TI7 battle pass – which everyone loved, TI9 event mode is a complete disappointment. The effort to create this event mode is very little to none, and the fact that the community made $100 million out of this battle pass doesn’t help appease the players.
Where Does Valve’s Resources Go?
The delayed delivery of TI9 battle pass contents and very underwhelming features show that Valve either cares less about the Dota 2 fanbase or that their resources are dedicated somewhere else. The closest thing we can take a look at is their new game, Dota Underlords – an auto battler game taken from Dota 2 mod Auto Chess. While there is no evidence pointing to the idea that Valve’s eye focuses on Underlords, we cannot blame everyone who thinks otherwise.