- The DPC (Dota Pro Circuit) has taken over every competitive Dota 2 season since its implementation in 2017. Valve’s sort of experiment; no 2 DPC seasons are the same. It’s a constant challenge to make sure that the DPC is a right fit for everyone, and the 2020/2021 season is shaping up to be one of the wildest ones yet.
The DPC Today
Traditionally, each DPC season was broken up with 2 tiers of tournaments dotting that years calendar, with the final culmination being TI (The International). The DPC served as a way to gauge which teams performed well in that season, in order to appropriately send out direct invites to teams. The 2 tiers of tournaments, were Minors and Majors, with the latter sporting larger prize pools and more points that counted towards your DPC standing. The teams that net the most points, get a direct invite to TI.
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The 2019/2020 DPC season is set to somewhat stay true to this. This year, we are set to have a total of 5 Minor, and 5 Major championships. At the end of the season, the top 12 teams will recieve a direct invite to TI. However, Valve has contacted high profile individuals in the Dota 2 ecosystem, to have a behind closed doors briefing about how the next DPC season will look. An admin from the Liquid Dota Forum brought all of Valve’s plans brought to light in this blog post.
2020/2021 Season Overview and Summary
A quick recap of the blog post is that Valve has no plans of bringing back the Minor and Major system. Instead, the season will consist of only Majors, but teams will be categorized as Tier 1, or Tier 2. Throughout the season, a league will take place (the first in pro Dota history) in every major region. These regions are North America, South America, Europe, CIS, Southeast Asia, and China. Currently, Valve hasn’t mentioned how many teams will be allotted to each region’s league, but excitingly, the league is open to anyone to join. The league’s purpose will be to categorize each team’s tier based on their performance while granting the best teams direct invites to Majors.
As the league runs in the background, 3 Majors will take place throughout the year. Before the dawn of the DPC, Valve had a similar 3 Major season; where every major was truly a spectacle, and miles more prestigious than they are today. A teams performance in the league will dictate their position in the DPC, and in extension, TI. Where the top 2 teams of the Tier 2 division will get bumped up to Tier 1, the bottom 2 will get eliminated from the league entirely. Meanwhile, other teams will compete in open qualifiers for the 2 open spots throughout the season. The top 2 teams at the Tier 1 division get a direct invite to TI, while the bottom 2 get relegated to Tier 2. As of now, no dates, or locations to these events are known, nor are details of how the point system will be structured.
This change is done in the hopes to provide teams with stability, and realistic and fulfilling opportunities for players and talent from all tiers of competitive Dota. A very unfortunate result of how the DPC was structured in the past, meant that teams in smaller regions struggled to maintain their rosters. Minors were created in the hopes of giving viable opportunities for lower-tiered teams to compete. And it seemed that Valve were on the path to finding the winning formula. Unfortunately, Minors were near impossible for Tournament Organizers to afford. Beyond the running costs and logistics, there have been many bouts and controversies regarding players being unpaid. With a new league system being handled directly by Valve, these situations will likely be avoided. Furthermore, would hopefully bring life to dying regions like North America, while establishing smaller ones like South America.
Spectators can look forward to professional Dota being played “24/7”. This means that spectators will likely have no shortage of some quality games to watch when they feel like. Furthermore, this provides more and more opportunities for talent such as casters, and other content creators. The casting industry in Dota 2 is notoriously difficult to penetrate for up and comers. Hopefully, this change will bring some young and fresh prospects to the scene. And finally, semi-pro teams and players will finally have a realistic goal to achieve for in their journeys to becoming professionals. The league (especially Tier 2) will be incredibly ruthless and unforgiving. The bottom 2 slots will always be contested by smaller teams in qualifiers, and that sounds incredibly exciting.
For now, this is all we know. Other esports have run leagues, with spectators and players having a generally positive response to each. If Valve and figure out a way to not burn-out teams as the season progresses, then this is already looking to be one of the best seasons yet. Furthermore, the 3 Major system essentially means that teams will be set to compete in 3 mini TI’s. Where each Major will likely have large prize pools, prestige, and challenging but fair brackets. It’s going to be one of the most exciting times to be a Dota fan.