TI6 Update: $18 Million is a lot of Money

Updates on the prize pool and leaky Valve concerns. (youtube screencap)
Updates on the prize pool and leaky Valve concerns. (youtube screencap) /

We were promised a TI6 prize pool to put all others to shame – one that exceeded last year’s impressive $18 million. Looks like we’re well on our way, folks!

The news was sudden. Abrupt, even. I felt my phone vibrate on the table. I picked it up, checking my new notifications, only to realize that it was my coworker’s phone that had vibrated. But then, with my phone in my hands, the news came.

$18 million mother-truckin’ dollars, baby! Das what I’m talkin’ about.

Sometimes I worry

Valve may have a great history of game development and production, but they have some flaws that make it hard to trust them completely. I’ve heard some murmurings online about the political atmosphere of their main office, and my buddy Tony wrote a pretty eye opening article venting some of his own fears about how they run things over there. And, how about all the sequel games Valve’s failed to deliver (coughHalfLifecough)? How do you guys feel about those?

This is a letter from the heart, Valve.
This is a letter from the heart, Valve. /

Because, to tell you the honest truth, sometimes the thought of Valve being in charge of one of the most promising areas of eSports (LoL can go screw itself) genuinely scares me. After I read Tony’s article, even following the $2.5 million bump from the weekend sale a week or two ago, I couldn’t shake the feeling that we need some kind of central organization to help nurture and regulate this incredible, new aspect of sport.

Phil, are your blasphemous lips advocating some kind of evil central bureaucracy? 

Football, basketball, baseball, hockey – these are not sports I’m especially knowledgeable about. My lifelong love of video and computer games is what brought to the eSports scene all the way from the small country town where I grew up. It was rough. More cows than people, soybeans for neighbors. Really wasn’t my scene. But even knowing as little as I do about traditional sports, I know that each of these have entire governing bodies dedicated to making sure that teams play fair, follow the rules, and that no one has too much of an unfair advantage.

Two is even stretching it a little bit... I use the "three or better" rule.
Two is even stretching it a little bit… I use the “three or better” rule. /

Heck, even Soccer has FIFA, right? I remember learning something about that from a video game, actually…

But here’s where I go back and forth. The digital frontiersman in me wants to say, “Right on, Valve! We don’t need corporate-esque overseers telling us how to DOTA. We don’t need nothin’ but a mouse, decent Internet speed, and our indomitable will to become DOTA allstars!” But then a completely different part of me says, “Uh… so, we have an entire sport, largely unregulated, with tournaments in excess of $15 mill, with THE tournament of the season such a mystery that we had virtually no idea how it would be run until a month/month and a half before it started.”

How does Valve determine invited teams to The International? How do they ensure that talent isn’t hoarded too much by established/wealthy organizations? Haven’t you noticed that it seems like every year there are only a couple real contenders?

Not to say that other teams aren’t good or that they don’t stand a chance at TI6, but what do you think about this comprehensive Reddit post about TI6 teams? In case it’s too text heavy for you, let me summarize: the author very reasonably asserts that there are maybe 6 teams that have a shot, but 3 that tower above the rest. That leaves the rest of the bracket filled with 7 “trash” teams. That’s almost 45% of the teams.

I love teams like Navi and Alliance. I wish they stood a better chance, but the odds aren’t with them this time around. And don’t you think maybe, just maybe if the competitive atmosphere of DOTA were fostered a little more intentionally, that we’d see even more growth in eSports?

I’ll leave you with that thought.

For more DOTA 2 news, visit our hub page and follow @diredota on Twitter.