The direct invites for China Dota2 Supermajor, the last Dota Pro Circuit event before The International 2018, were released earlier this week. The invited teams are Virtus.pro, Team Liquid, Team Secret, Newbee, Vici Gaming, VGJ.Thunder, Evil Geniuses, Natus Vincere, Mineski and OG.
At first glance, this is a mess.
An invitation for OG is ridiculous due to the team not having five players at the moment, not even eligible for a direct invite to The International. LGD-GAMING, a Chinese team that was the runner-up in the previous major that took place in China, is not invited to the Supermajor in China.
Apparently, invite recipients were picked based on the DPC standings before DAC. That does not sound like a good reason.
After all, spectators want the best teams for the biggest DPC event of season 2017-2018 with 1.5 million US dollars prize pool.
Greedy for headlines
Nahaz pointed out that ten direct invites out of sixteen teams is too much, but he also added that the event needs big team names to sell to sponsors. Therefore, giving away as many direct invites as possible is a way to secure as much money as possible.
For a Dota Pro Circuit event to accommodate sixteen teams in the group stage, ten is the maximum number of direct invites possible due to the world being divided into six regions, and each event is required qualification for spots at the group stage in each region.
As the event that promised the most money out of all the DPC events, China Dota2 Supermajor is at more risk for not getting enough sponsors compared to other events. They are making use of whatever they can to secure the money, including guaranteeing the participation of big names early to have more time for approaching potential sponsors.
If a change is needed, Valve need to be the initiator.
It should be expected for event organizers to pursue the optimal profit out of the circumstances given. Just like how the government regulate import to protect local producers, Valve is supposed to regulate invitations to protect both the competitive scene and the fans.
Historically, Valve has an ambition that prevents them from becoming the community's guardian angel. They love to make headlines too much. They would rather carry the competitive scene with huge prize pools than support the competitive players with income opportunities. Events with huge prize pools are easy Dota-hyping article titles, stable team income from third-parties are not.
For comparison, League of Legends 2017 World Championship's prize pool was only about five million US dollars, but that game has a lot more players than Dota 2. Both games had a decrease of players in 2017, but only Dota 2 top event's prize pool increased in that year. How did they afford that prize pool?
One thing we as part of the Dota 2 community can do to assist Valve in decision-making is by being vocal. If you really want more competitiveness integrity, let them know. It is safe to assume that Valve is consistently thinking about changes to improve Dota 2's sustainability, especially since the number of players is going down, and they can use your help.
What do you think about the invite regulations in DPC? Let us know in the comments below!