Eyes on Worlds 2023, After TI12 Opening Ceremony Turns Arena Into Cathedral
It is the most engaging time to be a MOBA esports fan with both Dota 2’s The International and League of Legends’ Worlds happening around the same time. Since the beginning, both games have been heavily compared and contrasted and their premier tournaments have been no exception. While The International 2023 (TI12) has officially advanced to its climactic and most riveting phase, the finals weekend, Worlds 2023 is currently waiting for teams to get through the Swiss Stage.
The Dota 2 community has fervently awaited the finals weekend since the event's inauguration on 12th October. Commencing with an initial roster of 20 formidable teams, all striving for the coveted Aegis of Champions, the competitive landscape has now contracted to encompass only eight elite teams. The eagerly anticipated finals weekend is presently unfolding within the iconic confines of the Climate Pledge Arena, nestled in the heart of Seattle, Washington.
The International 2023, marked by captivating live orchestral music and animated spectacles, has set the stage for the introduction of the participating teams and Gabe Newell's opening address. The TI12 opening ceremony saw the arena turn into a breath-taking cathedral, featuring this year’s beautiful stained-glass theme.
With the orchestral performance and Gabe’s welcome address headlining the TI12 opening ceremony, esports fans are very eager to see how Dota 2’s competitor League of Legends would plan its opening ceremony for Worlds 2023.
Two Different Approaches to Opening Ceremonies
Even with the grandeur of this opening ceremony, the ever-present discussion comparing The International to the League of Legends World Championship continues online. Riot Games, in particular, actively champions its annual event, featuring exclusive high-production music videos, cinematic presentations, and celebrity performances at the opening ceremony to foster an atmosphere of jubilation and anticipation amongst the audience.
In stark contrast, Valve takes a more understated approach to The International. The event is not subject to extensive promotional efforts, with the primary promotional vehicle being the yearly Battlepass/Compendium released in advance of the tournament.
Despite differences, many Dota 2 enthusiasts have appreciated the promotional efforts of Riot Games for Worlds. Earlier this month, Dota 2 pro Wang "Ame" Chunyu revealed that he was a big fan of the Worlds 2023 anthe
m, GODS. During one of his livestreams, Ame featuring Korean carry player Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu, who won Worlds in 2022 along with DRX.
As of the latest data from E, The International 2023 commands a peak viewership of 954,000 (Team Spirit vs Virtus.pro), while the 2023 League of Legends World Championship (Worlds 2023) boasts an astonishing viewership of 1.95 Million (BLG Vs T1) currently.
This disparity in viewership figures may stem from various factors, including Valve's comparatively restrained promotional endeavors. True Sight, a documentary series featuring behind-the-scenes action and insight into the backstage workings of The International has seemingly been discontinued by Valve in 2022.
However, Riot Games' robust and dynamic promotion of its flagship title, and its commitment to its player base is commendable. Riot's multifaceted initiatives lend further excitement to Worlds.
It remains to be seen whether Valve will consider implementing different strategies to elevate the experience for Dota 2 enthusiasts, transcending the customary orchestral performance in future iterations of The International.
However, Valve has indicated its desire to focus more on the game. Earlier this year, it it will be working on making the game better rather than focusing on the visual aspects of the game.
This was backed by Shannon "SUNSfan" Scotten and Troels Lyngholt "syndereN" Nielsen on their “We say Things" podcast. In Episode 212, SUNSfan said, “[They] don't have to worry about the Battle pass and all the cosmetic sh*t, they can work on gameplay stuff. There's 40 to 50 people working right now on Dota and most of their patches are not cosmetic-related and that's a really good sign”
Only time will tell what Valve will do for its future events. Maybe Valve distancing itself from Dota 2 esports to a degree and allowing tournament organizers to take over could potentially see a change in direction of TI's opening ceremonies.
Until then, as fans of Dota 2, let us sit back and enjoy The International 2023 as a new champion will be crowned in no less than three days.