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Dota 2's The International Starts With $18 Million In Prizes

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Happy Dota Day! It's that day of the year when Pip slips into a malaria dream of excel spreadsheets and weird anecdotes about last hitting, the day that celebrates that holy day whence once the First Minion was born and itself begot the eternal cycle of minions which continue evermore into the infinity. I guess! I don't know, I play League of Legends.

Today is the beginning of the main event for Valve's Dota 2's [official site] tournament The International, which comes with an impressive $18 million prize pool - and it's not settled yet.

To put that in context, last year's total prize pool was just over $10 million - this is made up of a $1.6 million base prize pool funded by Valve and over $9 million of which was funded by contributions from the playerbase via sales from a digital booklet called the Compendium which lets you take on challenges and earn rewards.

This year, Valve are offering up the same base prize. The rest has come from Compendium contributions - that's a mind boggling $16,405,518 from fans, making this the biggest prize pool for this sort of thing that I'm aware of. Comparatively, League of Legends' prize pool of just over $2 million for last year's World Championship sounds austere next to Valve's pure Caligulan excess.

If you're not in the Seattle area for some hot Hero on Hero spectating, this year's International is being broadcast online, on TV, and at hundreds of pubs and bars worldwide. You can check out local listings right here. In the meantime, have a look at our International 2015 cheat sheet for everything you need to know about what the hell is going on.

Our roving reporter Pip is on the ground at The International and will be reporting back.

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Emily Gera