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:
1. HOLY SHIT A DESERT TERRAIN OPTION I MUST HAVE THIS WAIT CAN YOU STILL HAVE A RIVER IN A DESERT WOULD IT BE LIKE THE NILE WITH FERTILE GROUND ON EACH SIDE RECEDING AS YOU MOVE AWAY ARE THERE GOING TO BE CROCODILES.
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.
6. COMPENDIUM FEARS AND DOUBTS:
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.