The Dota Pro Circuit is coming to an end soon and it will culminate with The International 2018 in Vancouver, Canada. The first year of the Dota Pro Circuit saw several highs and lows for teams, casters as well as players. While the general mood has been positive, there are many changes expected to next season’s DPC rules.
The Dota Pro Circuit changes were announced in July 2017. It changed the Dota 2 esports landscape and is the fairer approach towards handing out invites for The International. While the Majors system prior to the current system was mildly successful, it left little room for third-party tournaments to grow. The International was overshadowing all the other third-party tournaments. It created a financially non-viable situation for the tournament organizers. With DPC, Valve revealed their intentions to work closely with third-party tournaments and invest in their tournaments. Each tournament holds significance as they award DPC points to the top placed teams in the tournament.
However, this is only the first year of the Dota Pro Circuit system. The novel system is basically an experiment, although Valve has not said it in such words. The first year has taught us a lot about the problems associated with the current format. In this article, we have put together a small list of the problems which need tweaking in the second season of DPC.
As we head into the final months of the DPC Calendar year, it is important to list out a few problems with the current format. By now it is evident that Valve will allow the current system to play out till the International in August 2018. We should expect an announcement for the next year of DPC and the rules therein around June / July 2018.
The first year of the Dota 2 Pro Circuit season is filled with events throughout the year. The 2017-2018 season saw 9 Major tournaments and 13 Minors. These events are scattered all over the world. The distribution of the tournaments seems to be heavy toward the end of the season. The last three tournaments of the season are Majors.
MDL Changsha, ESL One Birmingham & the China Dota 2 SuperMajor are all scheduled within a 30 day period around mid-2018. They carry a significant chunk of the DPC points (1500 each, with the Chinese Supermajor at 2250 points). It would be unwise for teams to not attend these tournaments as they are also active practice grounds for the upcoming International.
It is really difficult because you have no time to relax, go out with friends or your girlfriend. I haven’t seen my girlfriend for a month and a half now. You are constantly on an edge that you create for yourself. Day by day, you have qualifiers after qualifiers, after qualifiers, then travel, events… It’s a very tough tempo this year.
However, the frequency of events leads to a lot of traveling and burnout for Dota 2 Professionals. The tournament is mostly scheduled within a few days of each other. As we have seen in the past schedule, they are held all over the world. The players and the support staff travel to these locations and have to adjust to the different time zones and cultures.
When the DPC was announced, it was assumed that the top teams would not be attending the Minors. However, that has not been the case. Teams such as Virtus Pro, Secret are constantly seen at the Dota 2 Minors, essentially robbing upcoming teams of a chance to earn DPC points.
It is not just LAN events which take up most of the players’ time. The Gap between LAN events is filled with online qualifiers and smaller tournaments. The players often have to play these events and try to qualify for big LAN events via the qualifiers. The hectic scheduling of matches online means that the players just do not get any rest. Despite traveling constantly all over the world, they still have to play in these matches.
It’s not about the practicing or scrimming time for me, it’s just more about the schedule. It’s insane. We didn’t qualify for a couple of tournaments and our schedule is still packed. We don’t have any time, that’s the main part that I don’t like. There is not a healthy amount of time between tournaments to kind of reset, which we had in the previous season.I think the top teams have the ability to say no to Minors. They could be, “Oh, we won this Major, let’s not go to the next Minor.” But for the teams that are not in the top 3, they have to play everything.
When the Dota Pro Circuit was announced, it was assumed that the bigger teams would not have to play in minors. But with time, this assumption has proved to be false. As we head into the final stages of Season 1 for DPC the problems are definitely becoming clearer. The teams, the Tournament Organisers as well as Valve have a clear understanding of the current scene. Hopefully, with Season 2, they will implement changes to rectify many of these issues.
Matumbaman, a player for Team Liquid is one of the advocates for fewer majors in the next season. Despite being one of the most successful teams in the scene, they have to participate in several tournaments and online qualifiers. This essentially robs the Majors of their special status. Right now, there is no way to differentiate between a Dota 2 Major and a Dota 2 Minor. Apart from the prize money, there is very little separating the two types of events.
For the next year, I really wish there would be fewer Majors. Maybe we can keep 10 Minors or so because Minors are good for the semi-pro teams, but having 10 Majors in a year is too much. […]
We’re Team Liquid and still playing all the Minors. [laughs] They didn’t make a clear policy who can play Minors. It’s weird because nobody’s sure if they’re going to TI. There are no guaranteed invites so of course, you’re going to play all the events that you can. It’s the logical way of thinking in our position. They never said they’ll invite the defending champions so we have to grind all these events.
Scheduling fewer and distant Majors is definitely the way to go for Season 2. With several Majors clumped up together intermittently, it robs the feeling of an exclusive hotly contested event. We do not want Dota 2 to become like CS GO, where we see the teams playing against each other every week.
It would be great to see teams play in a hierarchy, wherein the best teams appear at the Majors. The remaining teams can try to compete in minors and potentially become better in order to appear at the Majors.
There are thirteen Minors in the current Pro Circuit system. However, with only 300 DPC on offer, are they really worth the time and effort? The DPC system is very top heavy. The top four teams in a Minor / Major receive DPC points. The distribution of points is very much stacked for the top teams in a tournament. If a team reaches the finals of a Major, they secure a huge chunk of DPC points available in the tournament. After the first few tournaments/Majors, we have seen a handful of teams dominate the DPC leaderboards.
But the bottom half of the leaderboard remains extremely unstable. The difference in DPC points for the 5th – 8th position is very small. There is a gap of just around 600 points between the 5th ranked Newbee and the 8th ranked VG.Thunder. The last few Majors in the current season will play a crucial role in determining the final list of teams invited to the International.
The Minors should ideally be more in numbers than the Majors. Some of the lower ranked teams should get a chance to possibly qualify for TI8 only via attending Dota 2 Minors. As we already established, there are 9 Majors and 13 Minors in Season 1. The 9 Majors do not include the canceled Majors, such as the BTS tournament as well as the Galaxy Battles tournament. The high frequency of the Dota 2 Majors does not make them special.
Ideally, there should be two minors for every major. This would balance the division of points and teams can attend Minors and yet qualify for the International. In the current scenario, it is very confusing for the teams not in the Top 4 to secure an invite to TI8. If there are more minors per season, it will provide ample opportunities to create a race amongst the next best teams. They will be competing for an invitation to TI8 and hopefully, the top four teams will not attend the Minors as frequently as in the current season.
The distribution of Dota Pro Circuit points is limited to the top few teams in a tournament. It accumulates the points in the hands of a few top teams. So we have teams such as Virtus Pro, Secret, Liquid winning all the points. The fact that they decide to attend almost all the events, due to the uneven distribution between the Majors and minors also results in the same.
I believe that whoever passes the groups should get some DPC points
A suggestion put forth by several analysts and casters is to provide DPC points distribution based on which teams make it out of the group stages. This would help the teams not in the top 4 to accumulate points and have a chance for an invitation to TI8.
Does giving out points to every team post the Group stage makes sense? How would the distribution of points adequately reflect the true potential of a team? This situation would give tournament organizers more power as their invitations to these tournaments would weigh heavy.
What are the changes you would love to see in the upcoming season of the Pro Circuit in Dota 2? Let us know in comments below.