Why Is the TI Battle Pass Season so Important For Dota 2
The International and the Battle Pass season that comes with it, have become one of the most iconic things in the history of esports and the most iconic in the history of Dota 2. The first-ever TI in 2011 changed the esports world and took it to the next level with a staggering $1.6 million prize pool and has ever since never failed to break the record for the biggest prize pool in esports every single year with the last TI in 2019 hitting a $34 million prize pool. With TI10 scheduled for this year in August, Valve has not yet announced a Battle Pass this year and TI10’s prize pool will likely consist of last year’s proceeds from the Battle Pass since TI 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic. Here is a brief look at what the Battle Pass season is and why it is, and the fans are such a big part of Dota 2.
What does the Battle Pass Season mean and why is it important?
What is the Battle Pass season?
The Battle Pass season is a period of time around 4-5 months which begins around May and leads up to TI and ends sometime after TI. Dota 2’s TI Battle Pass is the highlight of the year for fans, and it brings multiple new cosmetics each year and gives players ‘goals and ‘achievements’ to work towards. The Battle Pass season also signals the beginning of the TI season with TI qualifiers following soon after.
However, the iconic Battle Pass that TI comes with every year was only added to Dota 2 in 2015, four years after the game’s release. The earliest version of the Battle Pass was titled ‘Compendium’ and was first introduced by Valve in 2013 at TI3. No leveling system, predictions, or anything else we associate with a modern Battle Pass was included in the first-ever iteration of a compendium. For TI3, 4, and 5, the compendium was a single purchase bundle that consisted of base rewards containing exclusive items. And additional rewards were unlocked when the prize pool hit a certain threshold.
With TI6, Valve introduced a Battle Pass system with a tier system of rewards, allowing players to accrue Battle Pass points by spending money to acquire or completing certain tasks. This was what truly started skyrocketing the TI prize pools to the behemoth that it is today.
Why is the Battle Pass season so integral to the season?
For Dota 2 esports
Valve has always added 25% of the total proceeds of the compendium and Battle Pass directly to the prize pool of The International, maintaining its reputation of having the largest prize pool in esports year after year. This reputation is perhaps the only true consistent marketing activity that Dota 2 esports has had for itself, over the years. Every year, mainstream media reporting that esports has broken a new record in terms of prize pool attracts more eyes towards the game and perhaps played a part in increasing the viewership of Dota 2 esports.
For the Fans
The Battle Pass reward road map is revealed at the beginning of the season with rewards having a scheduled release over a three-phase time period which begins at the season, then around mid-June with the Steam Summer Sale, and finally in August, when the prize pool is finalized just before the last day of TI.
It is sort of a Christmas for the fans as the Battle Pass for TI is when the best cosmetics, and the best custom events that Valve has to offer, get added to the game.
Due to the exclusivity of the skins, events, and rewards that come with the Battle Pass each year, fans feel like they’re part of something special. This period of incredible flowing content brings in players, new and old to the game every single year and the game always sees an increase in the active player count during the Battle Pass season.
It serves as an incredible hype-up pre-show leading to TI, adding to the spectacle and builds to a crescendo, concluding with the end of the TI Grand Finals of that year.
Unfortunately, this year, however, Valve has stated that they do not intend to release a Battle Pass this year since the earnings and the prize pool from last year remain unused following the postponement of TI10 due to the pandemic. However, Valve has promised to have two events in the works to fill the void left by the absence of the Battle Pass. It will be interesting to see if it can pull off an event that can match the hype built by the Battle Pass every year.