With The International 2018 in the background, journey to the next Dota 2 world championship starts this week with the 2018-2019 season of the Dota Pro Circuit.
The system implemented by Valve after The International 7 in 2017 consisted of a series of minors and majors with "blessings" from the company for distributing points and defining the teams that will be directly invited for the world championship.
After a chaotic 2017-2018 season with 22 tournaments and tons of qualifiers, Valve has decided to make some changes in the system. Here are the main changes to prepare for this coming season's series of Dota 2 tournaments.
Tournament schedule gets a trim
The first thing that stands out in the new DPC is the significant decrease in tournaments. Instead of the 22 events that were on last season's schedule, this season will have only 10: five minors and five majors.
Minors and majors will take place in pairs, and the teams that participate in one cannot participate in the other (with only one exception). The system will work as follows:
First, the qualifiers for the major will take place. The teams that do not qualify can compete in the minor qualifiers, which shall take place afterwards. Therefore, the first competition is the minor, and the winning team ensures a place in the major that is held right after that. This system is in place for all of Valve's events in the coming year
Although not all tournaments have their organizers and locations confirmed, the dates have already been set by Valve.
The first major, The Kuala Lumpur Major, and its associated minor tournament were revealed last week. Those Malaysian events are organized by PGL. Open qualifiers for the major started Monday, while closed qualifiers begin Sunday. The main event for the major will take place Nov. 9-18.
Invitations and qualifiers
Last season, only The International relied on DPC points for qualification, and direct invitations to tournaments still went to top, high-profile teams from each region without needing to qualify. That's not the case this season.
This year, none of the tournaments will have direct invitations for the teams, and all of them shall have to go through the regional qualifiers except for the team that wins the minor, which has its place automatically guaranteed in the following major.
Additionally, Valve has set rules as to the number of participants and regional qualifiers in each tournament. Minors will have eight competing teams, with at least one qualifier for each region. Majors will feature 16 competitors, one of which is the winner of the preceding minor with the others determined via qualifiers. Two from each region will make the cut for the event.
Tournaments are free to invite teams for the closed regional qualifiers. However, they need to provide vacancies for the teams coming from open qualifiers.
Rosters and scores
After complaints by players and organizers, Valve has reviewed the issue of changing the roster for the 2018-2019 season of DPC.
The teams can now shift their members throughout the season but will not be lose DPC points that those players earned if they make changes in the roster or if they play with substitute players.
Last season, the teams would lose their right to invitations both of qualifiers and of TI8 if they changed their lineup after the roster lock period.
In addition, teams that play with a substitute this season will not be penalized in the qualifiers, but they will face a 40 percent deduction in points received in the tournament if they use subs in live events.
Score distribution has also changed. Previously, players were scored and not the teams, in part to prevent roster turnover. That system is out the door for the DPC this coming season. And point totals, due to Valve cutting down its major and minor offerings, have gone up quite a bit too.
Majors are now worth 15,000 points, and minors are worth 500, and all participating teams will receive points. Last season, only the top four teams earned DPC points.
The 12 teams with the highest DPC point totals will qualify directly for TI9 at the end of this year's circuit. The other teams will battle through a qualifier for each region for a coveted spot at the tournament, which will take place in China in 2019.