Dota 2 Compendium: Deserts And Wizard Hats

Well, this is essentially where my pay packet is going this month I guess

Settle ye down, for ’tis time for some Dota 2 Compendium talk.

In case you’ve missed the now-yearly “You people spent *how much* on a digital sticker book?” articles, the Compendium is Valve’s way of sourcing a community contribution towards its annual International Dota tournament prize pool, increasing #engagement and, obv, making money. In return for contributing, players get treasure chests, loading screens, item effects, in-game pets and so on. More money in the pot unlocks stretch goals like a new type of terrain, emoticons etc etc. You can see the reawards and unlockables in full after the jump.

25% of the profits from the Compendium go towards the prize pool. Last year that same setup pushed an initial $1.6m to a ridiculous $10.9m – three times the size of the next largest prize pool in eSports.

Here are this year’s level rewards (you need 100 points per level):

2 – International Teleport Effect I
3 – Portfolio of Heroes Envisioned
4 – Emoticon Pack
5 – Manual of Fearsome Moves
6 – International Fountain Effect I
7 – Emoticon Pack
8 – Portfolio of Heroes Envisioned
10 – Immortal Treasure I
11 – Portfolio of Heroes Envisioned
14 – Portfolio of Heroes Envisioned
15 – Portfolio of Heroes Envisioned
20 – Immortal Treasure II
24 – International Blink Effect I
25 – 125% Coin Rate + Coin Charm + Fire Wyvern Style
30 – Immortal Treasure I
35 – Manual of Fearsome Moves
40 – Immortal Treasure I
45 – International Dagon Effect I
50 – Almond the Frondillo Pet
55 – Manual of Fearsome Moves
60 – Immortal Treasure I
65 – International Bottle Effect 1
70 – Immortal Treasure II + Manual of Fearsome Moves
75 – 200% Coin Rate + Coin Charm + International Chat Color II + International Eul’s Effect
80 – Immortal Treasure II
85 – Effigy Reforger Pack
90 – Immortal Treasure III
95 – International Fountain Effect II
100 – Immortal Treasure I + Immortal Treasure II + Immortal Treasure III
105 – International Teleport Effect II
110 – Immortal Treasure III
115 – International Blink Effect II
120 – Immortal Treasure III
125 – Almond the Frondillo Additional Style + Coin Charm
130 – Immortal Treasure II
135 – Effigy Reforger Pack + Axe Immortal Additional Style
140 – Immortal Treasure III
145 – International Dagon Effect II
150 – Immortal Treasure I + Immortal Treasure II + Immortal Treasure III
160 – Immortal Treasure I (repeats every 30 levels)
170 – Immortal Treasure II (repeats every 30 levels)
175 – Enigma Artifact Item + Coin Charm (repeats every 50 levels)
180 – Immortal Treasure III (repeats every 30 levels)
185 – Effigy Reforger Pack (repeats every 50 levels)
200 – 300% Coin Rate + Gold Wyvern Style
250 – Solid Gold Effigy Block

And this year’s stretch goals:

$1,600,000 Compendium coins
$2,000,000 – Cursor pack
$2,500,000 – Vote for the All-Star match lineup
$3,000,000 – Immortal Treasure I
$3,500,000 – Vote on which hero gets the next arcana set
$4,000,000 – Effigies (they’re in-game statues)
$4,500,000 – Loading screens involving concept art
$5,000,000 – Emoticons
$5,500,000 – The International HUD skin
$6,000,000 – Taunt treasure
$6,500,000 – The Watcher Below ward
$7,000,000 – Immortal Treasure II
$8,000,000 – Dota 2 short film contest (winners to be screened at TI5)
$9,000,000 – Wyvern hatchling courier
$10,000,000 – Immortal Treasure III
$11,000,000 – Desert terrain
$12,000,000 – Music pack
$13,000,000 – Announcer pack
$14,000,000 – New weather effects
$15,000,000 – Special Axe immortal and longform comic

These are the thoughts I’ve had:


Totally legit screenshot

2. Do you think it will actually get to $11m to unlock the desert stretch goal? Because sure, last year’s Compendium did crazy money, but so many other tournaments do Compendiums now and perhaps Dota fans will be a bit tapped out by this point, or at least not willing to chuck quite as much into the International prize pool?

3. Hold. The. Phone. There is an armadillo pet – no wait! A Frondillo. Is that better or worse than Viva Pinata’s Parmadillo?

4. Dillo Jean break:

5. I also really like the idea of completing challenges where you can earn extra points by doing things like de-warding or assisting with kills or earning certain kill streaks. That’s in there this time around.


Firstly, the Compendium started life a couple of years back as a kind of Jack-of-all-trades. It was a sticker collection and a fantasy league and a prediction game and a present package and so on. Last year that stuff was present but the whole thing felt far more obviously geared towards items and rewards and paying rather than the other aspects. You could buy points to level up faster and gain treasure drops and, I remember at the time, I sometimes felt I was missing out by choosing to try and level naturally. That’s also to do with being part of a group which was happy to put money in, I think, but it felt uncomfortable at times.

This year the cool items element is even more prominent. There might be other aspects which get added in after the teams are announced – I assume there will be prediction games and collectible cards since there’s already a prediction game for which teams will be invited – but they’re not mentioned in the blog entry at all. Don’t get me wrong – the Compendium has ALWAYS been about making money and getting digital presents but the money-making element feels closer to what I associate more with a subset of pushy free-to-play titles. This might just be to do with the change in my relationship with the game and the money I’m willing to spend. I know a lot of people are really excited about the cosmetics and that I’m probably in the minority with this particular doubt. That said, when you buy this year’s Compendium your first action is to make a choice between spending $9.99 on a basic book or $26.99 on one which starts you at level 50 with a bunch of rewards already in-hand so it’s more clearly transactional.

The other element which seems to be either missing or needs a bit of clarification is who benefits from the stretch goals being reached. Obviously the Compendium owners, the prize pool recipients and Valve, BUT last year a selection of the rewards would be unlocked through Compendium sales but would then be available to all players, regardless of whether they had bought in or not. Valve made that clear on the stretch goal info. I’m looking down the list and it doesn’t explicitly state that this is the case with any of this year’s stretch goals.

It’s such a little thing really, but I liked that some of the Compendium/International goodwill filtered into the game for everyone – this year feels more like a straight pre-ordering system for fancy stuff.


  1. Neutrino says:

    “increasing #engagement and, obv, making money”

    Is it really necessary to try so hard to sound ‘cool’ and ‘edgy’?

    You’re writing is mostly reasonable, but can’t you let it stand on it’s own merit without the need to throw in ‘obvs’ and ‘srz bznz’ and all this other 4chan teen meme nonsense all over the place?

    • magogjack says:

      someone is being a little cray cray…

    • thristhart says:

      Muphry’s Law: when complaining obnoxiously about someone’s writing style, you will inevitably make an egregious mistake yourself. In this case, you’re/your.

    • Premium User Badge

      Philippa Warr says:

      Well, given I wasn’t trying when I wrote that, it’s just how I write, I’ll assume I’m naturally cool and edgy – cheers :)

    • Alec Meer says:

      Oh, such conservatism from one of the So Solid Crew. Today is a dark day.

      • Vandelay says:

        You are able to name a member of the So Solid Crew? I don’t think Pip is going to let you in her cool and edgy gang now.

      • Fenix says:

        Typical Bolshevik Rhetoric.

    • Stupoider says:

      How DARE you critique a writer’s writing!

      Y-you’re v-very annoying…

    • that_guy_strife says:

      I’m really not liking this new habit of hashtagging keywords all over the place instead of redacting a nice cunning little sentence.

      However, everyone obvs has a different writing style, and I find Pip’s to fit her tone.

  2. Horg says:

    I wont be buying it this year. Mostly valves fault as they decided to set the tournament for the one weekend of summer when i’m guaranteed to be in a field with no internet, but looking at the prices just puts me off anyway. $10 for the basic compendium is more than i’m willing to spend in total on cosmetic fluff each year.

    • sonson says:

      Given how well maintained DOTA is, how polished, how enjoyable and the sheer amount of play time most people give to it, I really don’t see how anyone can get even a slight bit flustered at this.

      Unlike most free to play games, DOTA is absolutely complete without having to pay a cent and doesn’t shove things in your face at every moment either selling a better experience to you in return for coin.

      I’m quite happy to throw £20 the way of something that has kept me absorbed for 400 hours.

      • Dawngreeter says:

        I don’t even play* DOTA and I’ll buy it. Just because I feel it’s important to support it and it makes me feel good that it exists with the model that it uses.

        *I keep wanting to. It scares me.

        • Synesthesia says:

          If you can get through some of its awful people, it’s utterly fantastic. One of the best games i’ve ever played. 6.84 might be a weird moment to start, though. Shit just got crazy with the new items and aghs abilities.

          • Scrote says:

            6.84 might be a weird moment to start, though. Shit just got crazy with the new items and aghs abilities.

            That’s why people don’t get into DOTA, it’s incredibly obtuse even when people try to be helpful and explain it.

          • Banyan says:

            I’ve decided not to complain about how hard Dota is to learn and instead be amazed and grateful that hundreds of thousands of people wander about blindly long enough to become regular players.

      • Horg says:

        I like DotAs business model and i’ve played it for years, but i’ve spent enough on it and had my fill of cosmetics. This is a personal choice, i’m not telling anyone else to not buy it. People can make up their own mind if they think it’s worth it or not.

        • sonson says:

          Apologies I didn’t intend for this to be in reply to you, not really sure why it is. Was just making a point in isolation. You’re right of course. And I’m glad DOTA is a game where people are free to make decisions on whether they want to spend or otherwise without it impacting on their ability to participate in any way.

    • Vandelay says:

      I’ll probably be selling a bunch of cards in the market place in order to bring the price down. If I can get it for sub £5 then I will go for it.

      I bought it last year. I bought it quite late and didn’t end up playing much during the timeframe you could level up, so I didn’t get much for my money. Still, I was happy enough to part with some money to support the game I had played a huge amount. I think paying more for levels is insane though.

  3. Lacero says:

    “5. I also really like the idea of completing challenges where you can earn extra points by doing things like de-warding or assisting with kills or earning certain kill streaks. That’s in there this time around.”

    But do you like waiting ten minutes for the game to finish cos someone need their killstreak before they’ll push properly?

    How about playing with a “I need to do lots of healing” viper, who does it by jungling for ever with a mek.
    What about the guy who buys a gem to deward more for his challenge when riki and clinkz are on his team.

    :( And you can’t avoid it and it’ll last ages.

    • BooleanBob says:

      I’d predict a reddit uproar within a couple of days minimum, with Valve responding by taking compendium challenges out of ranked matchmaking.

      • sonson says:

        Shouldn’t be in ranked for sure.

        But in Pubs? It’s just a game. Not like you have anything to lose apart from the match, which you have a 50% chance of before you even start in the first place. Might lead to some fun scenarios.