Valve, I Applaud You
Over the lifetime of Dota 2, and more so over the last year, Valve has gotten a lot of flak from the community for, allegedly, not listening or "caring." The change to the Dota 2 tournament structure announced earlier this evening proves their critics wrong on a lot of points. Yes the new system is not perfect and will require a lot of planning to make T1 teams stick to the majors while allowing the T2/T3 teams compete in the minors. I believe they can do it though. Anyone saying the new system is anything but great for the Dota 2 scene is, in my mind, delusional and needs a reality check. This change is great for organisations, players, viewers, and 3rd party organisers. Let me explain why.
Let’s start off with the organizations. While we are seeing a lot more player owned teams these days, the traditional brands still stand strong. A major issue for these brands is that players swap teams freely and there has been very little incentive for teams to stick together in the past. These changes won't stop teams from disbanding, but I think it will make it rarer. If the system is well executed T2/T3 teams will still have a shot at getting Qualifier Points through minors. The risk of player poaching will increase, however that can be handled by drafting stronger, better contracts. Players will have to be bought out instead of simply walking away from their deal. This is great for orgs, albeit less great for players (but not terrible), by giving them a safety net.
For the players this means that their value will increase as their Qualifier Points increase. A smart player will realize this and will, thus, ask for more from their organization in terms of salary and other incentives. An agent will be a necessity and this increase in safety for the players will be worth the limitation on their ability to move freely from team to team. Moreover, with the minor system, this won't just apply to the top players. It will resonate throughout all of the teams and while the T2/T3 players won't be as valuable, and thus can't expect as much, they are still entitled to better conditions than what they are offered right now. If this change will mean that tournaments offer less help with travels, guess what: that needs to go into your contract!
So what about the viewers, why is this great for us? Well, think about it. The main reason the major system was implemented was because players put too much emphasis on TI. While the majors filled their purpose, it still wasn't enough. We went from one tournament that teams REALLY cared about each year to three (four the first year). It actually decreased the value of the third party tournaments. With this we can, once again, expect the scene to flourish with great non-Valve-run tournaments. Majors and minors will be a monthly thing and that's something you should be excited about — I know I am!
Last, but not least: third party tournaments. Believe me when I say that there are corks popping in a lot of offices tonight because they.. are.. BACK! With this system there's a reason, other than the prize pool, for players to attend these LANs. Now that Valve is saying that every dollar will be worth a set amount in Qualifier Points, Tournament Organizers can safeguard their investments. If you manage to host a 500k event, you can bet that all of the top teams will fight tooth and nail to qualify. Additionally, this also makes leagues worth running.
In conclusion: I am extremely excited for this; I can barely contain myself. The Dota 2 community has awoken from its slumber, now let’s make Dota great again!