The TI9 Battle Pass is finally here. Some would refer to this period as “Dota Christmas”, and it is without a doubt a fantastic time to be a Dota player. Let’s take a deep dive to what the TI9 Battle Pass has to offer.
What is the Battle Pass?
Every year, Valve releases a Battle Pass to fund the yearly TI (The International) tournament. TI boasts massive prize pools, so the pressure is riding on Valve to getting every Battle Pass right. Dota players have had a drought of new content for the entire year, so there’s a lot to look forward to when the Battle Pass launches. In general, purchasing a Battle Pass gives you access to special “Immortal” cosmetics, which completely redesigns the aesthetic of an ability, among other useful knick-knacks. However, every Battle Pass item is completely cosmetic, so there is no unfair advantage to owning one in-game.
The Battle Pass has its own progression system, and to put it as simply as possible, the higher your Battle Pass level (BP Level), the more rewards you have access to. Traditionally, just purchasing the Battle Pass gives you a large number of rewards for the cost, and purchasing more levels is a fast way to get your BP level up. Once you reach level 2000 (around ~$1000), you will have had access to every possible reward, and from there you will be able to grind for more Immortal Treasures. That is the Battle Pass in a nutshell, but there’s a bunch of exciting new content in between all of the grinding. Let’s take a deep dive into what the TI9 Battle Pass has in store for us.
This is a difficult topic to discuss because although the Battle Pass has an entry price of $9.99, there really isn’t a straight answer to how much the Battle Pass “costs”. For a new player interested in purchasing one, its without a doubt that you will get excellent value out of the base $9.99 variant. Just purchasing that gives you access to one of each of the three immortal treasures, a music pack, a cursor pack, a special courier and ward cosmetic, an emoticon, and various consumables. Even after purchasing the base product, you will be able to grind all rewards without paying another cent, and its “technically” possible to achieve the premium rewards. However, this would take an absurd amount of time to do.
If you’re willing to splurge on this year’s Battle Pass, then Valve also offers a $29.35 variant and a $44.99 variant. Purchasing the first will start you out at level 50, and the latter at level 100. Purchasing the level 50 variant will give you access to 4 additional Immortal Treasures on top of the base variant. And the level 100 will give you a grand total of 6 Immortal Treasure I’s. You are pretty much guaranteed to have a rare drop with 6 treasures, but if the number of treasures seems underwhelming, its because they are. To make up for this, Valve compensated the lack of treasures with other rewards.
Immortal Treasures I
The first Immortal Treasure chest always traditionally drops with the release of the TI9 Battle Pass. This year, a decent amount of new heroes received their first ever Immortals, among a few repeat heroes. It’s difficult to describe the satisfaction that results in playing Dota with the addition of more shiny particles, so the Immortal items are always in high demand, and thankfully, Valve seems to just give them away. This years treasure contains items for Lifestealer, Death Prophet, Nyx, Skywrath Mage, Centaur Warruner, and Leshrac. These will be the more common immortals. It also offers a Rare Earthshaker item, Very Rare Lifestealer and Skywrath variant, an Ultra Rare Drow bow, and a Cosmically Rare TI9 emblem you can show off.
The items were well received by the community, but Purge was less than happy with the Skywrath cosmetic. Personally speaking, this years immortals are just as excellent as the previous years, and for any player looking for some cheap, yet dazzling cosmetics, then look no further. These Immortal treasures will not be tradeable until the start of the TI10 Battle Pass, so if you’re looking to resell the cosmetics in the future, keep that in mind. Currently, there is no release date on the upcoming Immortal Treasure II and III, but good speculation is that the release of II would be at the halfway point to TI (Late June), and III towards the start of TI (late July).
The Music Pack
This year, Dota players have the privilege of enjoying the game to three-time Emmy Award-winning composer Russell Browers orchestral piece. The main menu music is fairly eerie, which is fitting for this years “Enchanted Jungle” theme. The use of instruments sounding like an African drum set, in conjunction with the more traditional western music style that Dota adopts, brings in the vibe that players are truly in a mystical and unknown place. The music sets the right tone from the get-go. Other variants of the piece become more action packed where its needed. For example, the pace and tempo of the music hits a high during a team fight and slows down when everyone’s just farming. A more in-depth review is needed to truly encapsulate what this music pack has to offer, but in short, the music is brilliant and beautifully done.
It seems that with every year, the taunts are getting more and more lucrative and hilarious. For players that truly want to tilt their opponents, these taunts will surely give that effect, as well as giving you and your teammates a laugh in the process.
This years Battle Pass brought with it the return of the cool seasonal effects. Similar to previous years, items like Phase Boots, Shivas, Euls, Teleport Scroll, and various other items have all been given shiny particle effects. The color pallet is purple, staying pure to the purple theme of this years TI. However, the Bottles effect has a brilliant Neon Blue and Green effect, and provides a startling but welcome contrast to the darker colors that are more prevalent. Obtaining all the effects will require a BP level of 1,575, with the last reward being a completely brand new effect. This year, Valve added an interesting “projectile effect” for ranged heroes. The effect itself looks brilliant, but it doesn’t seem that anyone reported the interaction between the cosmetic and unique attack modifiers. All in all, these effects pay homage to tradition, and the new projectile effects are a welcome addition.
Chat Wheel Sounds
Deep down inside, this is what every Dota veteran actually looks forward to when the Battle Pass drops. Valve decided to keep some of the fan favorites for a 3rd year in a row, as well as add a bunch of new ones. Some of which give a direct shout out to the smaller regions in Dota 2. Players will look forward to the return of the classics in the Sound Pack 4 (2017) at BP Level 313, Sound Pack (2018) at BP Level 392, and Epic Caster Pack 1 (2018) at BP Lebel 665. Other than that, there are some brand new ones as well to spam out in your pubs, with my favorite being “Let’s play some Dota!” which you unlock fairly early at BP Level 200. The Korean Dota scene makes their debut to the mainstream with the addition of the Korean Caster Pack. This pack pays homage to the hilariously boring 93 minute game between iG and DK at TI3.
One last significant addition was a tribute to ODPixels intense casting of Cebs call at TI8 finals. This voice line is slightly different than the normal ones, being called an Evolving Chatwheel. Valve advertises that the higher your BP Level is, the longer ODPixel will yell out Ceb. This seems like a good addition at first, but the length doesn’t increase as fast as you would think. At level 230, the voice line lasts around 0.2 seconds longer than the original which you get at level 100. However, as peoples levels are sure to grow in the future, it will be interesting to see just how long it goes.
Listen to all Chat Wheel Lines:
Versus Screen and MVP
An all-new feature that was added this year. It is definitely a welcome one since players were forced to look at the old vs screen since the launch of 7.00 since December of 2016. Nonetheless, the feature is aesthetically pleasing and gives players another incentive to perform better in their games. The screen will display a single player on the forefront of the screen from each team. It’s not completely certain how the game decides who gets shown, but a combination of your recent performances and the overall value of your cosmetic items will boost your chances. This addition will most likely get old in the coming weeks, but for now, the novelty makes it exciting and much more competitive. Players will want to be featured on the VS scree, so they will be incentivized to perform better.
Another new feature was added, the MVP. At the end of every game, your team can vote for a single MVP that performed exceptionally well in a certain game. Once the votes are tallied up, the winner will have a message pop up on their feed mentioning that they won. The feed is viewable by everyone who accesses the said player’s profile and will be advertised to your friends. This in conjunction with the Versus Screen promotes competitive play for casual players, making games much more fun.
Coaches Challenge and Party Finder
The coaches challenge will have a player-coach a team of a lower rank through a game. This is a brand new feature that has never been seen before. Dota 2 does have a “coaching” feature but its heavily outdated and buggy. This challenge will hopefully allow new players to get shown the ropes, and be able to enjoy the game. Valve has made sure that all coaches must have a high behavior score, and a decent minimum amount of games played. Personally, I do not think that these are good enough restrictions to make this feature viable, but its a start in the right direction to improve the barrier of entry that this game has.
The Party Finder acts a pseudo-friends list. Any player you played with in the past or any player in your friends list can be added to your Party Finder list. When you’re in the mood to play some classic 5 man party queue Dota, just hit the party finder button, and the client will do all the work for you.
The New Terrain
Matching the mythical jungle theme, this terrain provides a beautiful imagining of that theme. Thankfully, the new “Overgrown Empire” has a brighter look to it compared to previous years, making it more spectator friendly. It finds the right balance of purple and green, bringing out a refreshing color pallet that’s never been done before. The style resembles a combination of Mayan and Aztec styles, which are apparent in the ward spots. The terrain also comes with excellent ambient sounds, making you really feel like you’re battling it out at the jungle. These sounds consist of birds singing, trees rustling, insects clicking, and mammalian animals letting out the occasional cry.
At nightfall, however, the map does a 180 and is filled with rain and thunder. Colors become darker and more mysterious, putting you on edge. The sounds of birds is replaced with owls hooting, the insect sounds are replaced with crickets, and every once in a while, a menacing howl from some sort of creature can be heard in the distance. This is the first terrain that seems to bring in its own emotion to the game. The day time is welcoming, and mystical, however when night time rolls around, you’re all of a sudden in a frightening place. The terrain faithfully encompasses the vision every player had when it came to this year’s theme and was well executed.
Bare Knuckle Axe
One of the more shocking changes, Axe without his… Axe. There’s not much to say other than, if you can imagine Axe punching people around and twirling about like some human helicopter, then you pretty much have bare-knuckle Axe. Every Dota player knows that lore took a back seat in the decision to add this to the game, but Valve did provide an explanation as to why Axe doesn’t have his axe. A TL;DR is that he was stranded in a jungle after losing his trusty axe, and learned the art of hand to hand combat in his free time. Aesthetically speaking, Axe did receive a minor remodel with the cosmetic. He has more rugged facial hair, and the pixel resolution of his model was upped as well. Along with the loss of his axe, Axe received some tribal tattoos instead, that illuminates a bright yellow light when he casts his Berserkers Call ability.
The Jungle Expedition
The Jungle Expedition is a separate reward track to the regular Battle Pass, where players can work to obtain up to 3 rare sets. At the start, there are 3 main paths labeled “support”, “utility”, and “carry”, and each path contains separate smaller paths which will eventually lead you to the end. This reward track is not a linear one like the TI9 Battle Pass, but has many different paths that lead you to the end. Players can sometimes find obstacles and treasure in their way, adding a layer of strategy to the game. The game mode also has various “Mysterious Totems” which can provide you with rare rewards. If a player decided to start doing the “support” path, he will obtain support hero cosmetics, so on and so forth. On top of cosmetic drops, players can also achieve TI9 Battle Pass points, which add to your BP Level, as well as Shards for Dota+ users.
The three heroes that have the exclusive rewards are Ursa, Dazzle, and Sven.
- Ursa has an armor set made of what looks like rough brown bark, purple leaves, and green vines. He also has some purple particle effects on his eyes.
- Dazzle has a butterfly themed set, with a slightly brighter purple and pink color pellet. His face resembles that of a butterfly, with particle effects at the tip of his headpiece.
- Sven has an Aztec/Mayan Knight aesthetic, sort of like ancient traditional armor. He has particle effects on his helmet and sword.
The Compendium and Stretch goals
The Compendium can be accessed, but many of its features are locked. The compendium, however, seems to have the exact same features as the previous years, so nothing new here. Currently, players can use it to keep track of the TI9 prize pool. Faithful to previous years as well are the two stretch goals. If players surpass the previous years prize pool, all TI9 Battle Pass owners will be gifted 10,000 Battle Pass points. At the unlikely event that the prize pool surpasses $30 million, an additional 10,000 Battle Points will be awarded.
Things To Look Forward To
The Battle Pass still has some unreleased content all BP owners can look forward to. Wrath of The Mo’rokai, will be this years minigame. Players will be able to team up with strangers or their friends to try out a narrative based PVE experience. Majesty of The Colossus is a brand new Tiny cosmetic, promising an upgrade in animation quality and a remodel. Acolyte of The Lost Arts will be a re-imagining of Invoker. The Planetfall Earthshaker Arcana was also announced, along with custom lane creeps, and a Dark Willow announcer pack. Not to mention the ultimate rewards, the Collectors Aegis and Baby Roshans, which will be released at a nondisclosed date. (sometime next year most likely)
This years TI9 Battle Pass still provides excellent value for your money in exchange for the rewards. As long as the base price of $9.99 is payed, all content and new features are unlocked. This Battle Pass also caters to new and veteran players, providing nostalgic content as well as the quality of life changes. The addition of the Coach’s Challenge and Party Finder will encourage new players to enjoy the game without having to do it alone. Valve also took some strides in being more liberal with how they treat their IP, showing that they are still willing to take risks. One thing is for sure, there is a lot less to complain about this year, and Valve seems to have nailed this rendition.
- For more information, and to purchase your own TI9 Battle Pass, click here.
— Wykrhm Reddy (@wykrhm) May 7, 2019