Cover Image and Thumbnail Credit: Midasmode.com
Yesterday, Valve announced the details and changes for the new season of the Dota pro circuit along with the full schedule of events and qualifiers for the year.
The qualifiers for the first Minor and Major will take place from 30th Sept to 5th Oct 2019. Midas Mode 2.0 is due to take place from 24th Sept to 2nd Oct 2019. This overlap has raised concerns about teams’ willingness to participate in a non DPC event instead of playing the qualifiers for the first official Valve event of the season.
The dates for Midas Mode 2.0 were announced publicly as far back as July 11th when popular Dota 2 personality Jake “SirActionSlacks” Kanner tweeted about tickets going on sale. Following a since deleted tweet that hinted at Slacks' frustration with the situation, he has since remained stoic on social media platforms and in his replies on Reddit, saying that “more details will come but I would like to be tactful as possible”.
What is Midas Mode 2.0?
Midas Mode 2.0 is an initiative by Moonduck TV, that is spearheaded by SirActionSlacks. The tournament has a prize pool of $150,000 and its format is unique in the sense that it involves a tertiary economy outside of the game itself thus adding a layer of strategic complexity for participants. Players will compete online however there will be a live audience in Denver, Colorado.
Teams can utilize ‘Moonbucks’ which they can pay to pick or ban heroes while drafting and can earn additional Moonbucks by randoming heroes, passing on bans or completing certain in-game tasks that vary from time to time. This strategic element is augmented by elements of humour, memes and a unique storyline featuring a fictional villain called 'Sir Sadim'.
Additionally, the tournament includes a crowdfunding element through which fans can purchase and modify various elements of the map and the game itself. Perks such as in-game advertisements, re-modelled items, heroes and more were up for grabs for backers of the tournament on Indiegogo. This idea was well received by the community and other Dota 2 stakeholders with teams such as Evil Geniuses and even other tournament organizers such as ESL getting in on the memes. So far, the tournament has raised over USD 15,000 through this initative and serves as an additional revenue stream that allows Moonduck TV to monetize directly via fans, over and above traditional methods such as sponsorships and advertisements.
Why is the Dota 2 community upset about Valve’s DPC schedule announcement?
The plans for the tournament and the surrounding hype have been in the public domain for months. Scheduling DPC qualifiers on overlapping dates sends a dangerous message to third party Dota 2 tournaments – that either Valve is not in tune with the tournament scene outside of their own ecosystem or that Valve simply doesn’t care. Months of hard work by a team of approximately 15 people (source: an interview with Zyori) could now be wiped out by this announcement as sponsor commitments, ticket sales, venue bookings and more could be at risk on account of teams possibly opting to not participate in Midas Mode 2.0.
With the information that is currently available in the public domain, this is a move that Valve must rectify. Dota as a game has evolved and grown on the back of community / third party efforts like these. This game is extremely fortunate to have passionate, talented people like SirActionSlacks and the rest of the Moonduck TV crew as flagbearers for the English-speaking audience and I’d reckon that a significant portion of the game’s marketing and hype over the years can be attributed to their efforts. DotA began as a community mod and the fact that Dota 2 shows a lack of interest / concern for its community’s efforts is appalling to say the least. Given that SirActionSlacks has been worked with Valve on more than one occasion, it’s highly likely that an internal dialogue is already in place and that both parties are in talks to find a mutually beneficial solution. However, the coming few weeks will reveal whether or not that’s just wishful thinking.