The International 2019 Battle Pass was the driving force behind what was another record-breaking prize pool for the annual Dota 2 tournament.
With $34,330,068 up for grabs, the event showcased top quality Dota 2 action.
Since 2013, Valve has used Dota 2’s The International Battle Pass and Compendium to crowdfund the tournament’s prize pool. The community supported the initiative fully and its success has had a huge impact on all of esports.
Things peaked for The International 2019 thanks to this year’s Battle Pass boasting some of the best Dota 2 cosmetics available in the game. In its release in May, fans threw down tens of millions of dollars and at one point added more than $7 million to the prize pool within 24 hours. This was almost $2 million higher than last year’s first day of crowdfunding.
Valve outdid itself again this year, releasing the popular Axe Unleashed set and high-quality Immortal items in the first Immortal Treasure. Axe Unleashed features a bare-knuckled Axe that owners could unlock at Level 425.
Exclusive rare items, such as Earthshaker’s Judgment of the Fallen and Drow Ranger’s Reaper’s Wrath, were also highly sought after.
In its release, the developer also revealed some promising items for Battle Pass owners.
There were exclusive matchmaking features that enticed a lot of Dota 2 players to buy in. Some notable features were the coach’s challenge, MVP voting, and the ability to avoid players in future games. The Jungle Expedition also lets players accomplish multiple quests with multiple heroes available per room.
These exclusive items and features satisfied fans for a while, but players were forced to wait for item rewards and content for much longer than usual. Three highly anticipated items, Earthshaker’s Arcana, Tiny’s Prestige item, and Invoker’s Persona, were very slow to launch. Even the custom creeps were not released together with the custom towers.
Fans grew impatient for the new and promised content and started bombarding social media platforms with complaints.
In late May, Valve released Earthshaker’s Arcana Planetfall. The exclusive item was even more aesthetically pleasing with the Rare Immortal item.
The Battle Pass bundle was released before The Immortal Treasure II that broke the pattern of the previous years’ releases. The TI9 Battle Pass Bundle also came with a bug wherein players can purchase multiple bundles. Valve defused the situation by letting players buy two bundles instead of one.
Invoker’s Hero Persona, the Acolyte of the Lost Arts, followed. It featured a young Invoker with its own adorable voice lines. Tiny’s Majesty of the Colossus and the Custom Creeps were released two days before The International 2019 group stage, which is likely a little too late for most.
The special event for Battle Pass owners, Wrath of the Mo’rokai, was panned with negative criticism from most players. This event was clearly a redesigned version of 2015’s Beast Brawl, and fans were deeply disappointed after more fun events in previous years like Siltbreaker and Underhollow.
Despite a few shortcomings, this year’s Battle Pass may have been the best ever in terms of item quality and exclusive features. It set a high bar for the next Battle Pass to surpass.