Dota 2 developers, Valve, announced a new tournament system for the next season during The International 2017. They introduced us to Dota 2 Circuit. If teams want to get a direct invitation to the next The International you have to collect qualifying points all year round. Valve have also announced 22 tournaments with this system in the next season — 11 Majors and 11 Minors. Four months passed since the Dota 2 Circuit started working, we observed 2 Majors and 6 Minors. Let’s look at the statistical results of the new tournament system.
First Major, ESL One Hamburg, was held in Germany in October, while ROG DreamLeague Season 8 was in Sweden. Amount of Major tournaments increased greatly and prize pools reduced from $3.000.000 to $1.000.000, thus the prestige of all Major tournaments dropped significantly. Amount of viewers of esports events should have been reduced. And it happened.
Only the Major tournaments were organized last season — Boston Major and Kiev Major. They both gathered a huge audience, especially the last one. Kiev Major gathered 842.000 non-Chinese online viewers — before that only The International could gather so many people. Right now ESL Hamburg is the most popular Major tournament in Dota 2 Circuit system. Unfortunately, this tournament is far behind in viewer’s base compare to previous Majors. The quantity didn’t turn into quality. The second Major tournament, ROG DreamLeague Season 8 gathered much less people that the previous one.
When Dota 2 Circuit was announced, all experts and analysts said that there will be a huge problem with oversaturation. Both players and viewers will be tired from the abnormal quantity of tournaments. Many people complain that there are no more surprises in Dota 2 esports, no more long-awaited confrontations of the best professional teams. Nowadays all the teams participate in a never-ending carnage in endless qualifications and tournaments. The competition became a routine.
We can also notice a tendency that the prize pool does not play a big role in tournament’s popularizing. During last four months we faced several times with the situation when Minor gathered more viewers than Major. For example, Perfect World Masters has gathered a lot of Chinese fans because of the huge amount of teams from Celestial Empire. Adrenaline Cyber League 2017 also wasn’t a part of Dota 2 Circuit system, but in the same time it gathered a lot of viewers from CIS — Natus Vincere and Virtus.Pro were in grand final.
It's too early to give a full assessment of the new Dota 2 tournament system, but we can hear alarm bells even now. At the same time, the last four months were mostly warm-ups — 2018 will be even hotter. We are waiting for 9 Major and 5 Minor tournaments, while there will be even more championships outside the Dota 2 Circuit system, like WESG. Where should Dota 2 fans find patience and, what is more important, time to watch everything — that is the question.