The biggest e-sports tournament of the year is underway this week in Seattle—The International Dota 2 Championships (or just The International for short). Starting at 10AM Pacific on Monday, Seattle’s Key Arena will be full of furious click-click-clicking noises, all in pursuit of an insane eighteen million dollar prize pool.
That’s a huge leap over last year’s International prize pool of around eleven million, and makes the million dollar prize for the League of Legends World Championship look paltry in comparison. It’s all thanks to the community—Valve funds The International by selling a special item called “The Compendium” which unlocks various in-game Dota 2 reward items and provides a more active experience for watching the matches. And people buy a lot of Compendiums.
But you don’t need to be that into Dota 2 to enjoy The International. Valve’s making it easier than ever to watch, with streams available through Steam Broadcasting, YouTube, Twitch, and WatchESPN. There’s even a “Newcomer Show” once a day to help you learn about the game’s rules. The Dota 2 website serves as a hub for all your International needs, with matchup information, battle times, live streams, and more.
And if you’re more of a social butterfly, you can watch Saturday’s Grand Finals at a local bar or movie theater. There are “pubstomps” everywhere from New York to Ghana, and Valve’s boasting more than 400 theater screenings.
Who could’ve guessed all this would come from a custom Warcraft 3 map? Support your modding community, devs. Maybe you’ll be the one organizing an $18 million tournament in a few years.