Valve’s New Year plans for the Dota Pro Circuit(DPC) restart came in as a pleasant surprise for Dota 2 fans. The fans will get to witness some top-notch gameplay once again as teams will battle it out for those coveted The International spots. However, the path to the grandest stage of all is quite different from what the route has been in previous years.
DPC 2021 has brought it with all-new regional leagues, a lesser amount of Majors, and considerable changes from the format in the past four years. We’ve taken a look at the changes and picked out five of the most significant differences between previous DPCs and the 2021 edition.
Top Differences Between DPC 2021 and Previous DPCs
1. Introduction of Regional Leagues
Regional Leagues have been introduced by Valve in the DPC season of 2021. Two such leagues, having an Upper and Lower Division, will take place in six different regions.
Previous DPC Seasons:
- Closed and open qualifiers formed the pathway to the Minors and the Majors, where teams earned DPC points and significant chunks of prize money.
- A single team that emerged as the champion of a Minor also found its way to the Major.
- In earlier versions of the DPC, some teams in Majors and Minors were directly invited as well.
2021 DPC Season:
- Two Regional Leagues comprising six regions (EU, CIS, SEA, NA, SA, China) will now be the pathway to Major Championships. Minors are scrapped.
- Regional Leagues to have an Upper and Lower Divison with eight teams each.
- Regional Leagues will now provide the major chunk of DPC points. Each region’s Upper Division will have its top five teams get their share of a total of 1150 points.
2. Reduction In The Number Of Majors
Majors have been the most quintessential part of Dota after TI. They showcase the finest gameplays, a massive crowd going berserk, and high levels of pressure with the all-important DPC points on the line.
Previous DPC Seasons:
- 9 Majors in DPC 2017-18, 5 Majors in 2018-19, 2 in 2019-20 because of the pandemic(planned 5).
- A total of 16 teams competed in the previous iteration of DPC Majors as they came through closed qualifiers and Minors.
- A total prize pool of $1,000,000 USD and the lion’s share of the DPC points were spread out among all the 16 teams in Majors.
2021 DPC Season:
- Unfortunately, since the pandemic has cut short the current season by half, we will only be witnessing two Major championships in 2021.
- The number of total teams has been increased from 16 to 18 and all of these 18 will qualify through Regional Leagues.
- Europe and China: 4 slots each.
- CIS and Southeast Asia: 3 slots each.
- North America and South America: 2 slots each.
- Prize Pool for the Majors has also been decreased by half from $1,000,000 USD to $500,000 USD and is now spread out among the top eight teams only. DPC points are also awarded to the top eight only.
3. Decreased Duration Of DPC 2021
The DPC 2021 season will only last from January till June after which The International 10 will take place in August 2021. These six months of the DPC circuit will involve two seasons.
- Season 1 will take place from January 18 to February 28 (March 14th for China with a break in the middle for the Chinese New Year), with the first major of the year scheduled for March 25 to April 4.
- Season 2 will launch on April 13 and will take place until May 22 with the second major of the year taking place from June 2-13.
The previous iterations of the DPC lasted for nearly a year and were punctuated by Minors and Majors so it involved on and off Dota. The Regional Leagues will last for a lot longer than the Minors and so will involve continuous intense Dota. Since every day will have series from each of the six regions, one can witness high-quality action for almost 24 hours.
4. Prize Pools Get Evenly Spread
- Although there has been a reduction in the Majors’ amount of prize pool, the Regional Leagues will comprise the big chunk of the prize money to be awarded.
- Both Upper Divisions and Lower Divisions receive prize money barring the bottom two teams in the lower division, who will also be eliminated from the next season.
- Teams can earn a total of $280,000 in each of the six leagues in one season. A Minor used to have $300,000 as its total prize pool.
- So, this Regional Leagues format is likely to benefit the Tier 2/3 teams who were unable to reach the Minors and the Majors. As mentioned, Majors will only reward the top eight out of a total of 18 teams with the prize money.
5. New Fan Support Bundles
- Seasonal Fan Support Bundles have been introduced by Valve in the current DPC season. This new addition can be compared to Team Pendants that were prevalent around the TI3 period.
- This feature had not been in existence for the DPC circuit of the previous years.
The DPC season 2021 has had quite the renovation, and it will be intriguing to see how it pans out. Similar to the last year, a total of 12 teams with the highest DPC points will secure a berth at The International. The remaining six teams will come from each of these six regions through a last chance regional qualifier. Dota 2 will not have an open qualifier spot for The International for the first time since 2014.