Valve have announced this year's Dota 2 [official site] compendium for The International - it's part of The International Battle Pass - so I've locked my wallet in a drawer before writing this news post because I can't be trusted around compendia. 25% of the proceeds go to bolstering the prize pool for the tournament. There are no stretch goals this year but there are special rewards if this year's prize tops the $18,429,613 of 2015.
This year's shebang features a Vengeful Spirit taunt where she does Lindsay's chicken dance from Arrested Development, the ability to turn the river into blood rather than water, and weekend mini tournaments...
First, let's talk about what a battle pass actually is. There was one earlier in the year and what it did was make winter into a kind of long-running event where you could complete challenges along particular challenge pathways to unlock item sets and so forth. There was also a tipping system for rewarding other people after games and a time-limited winter-themed map and all manner of other things (wizard hats and the like). The International Battle Pass takes a similar approach.
There's an initial bundle which includes immortal treasures, a courier, emoticons, a Crystal Maiden announcer pack and so on. There are also more quest paths which you can follow to earn battle points - this time the quests also have a difficulty level so three-starring them gets you maximum points for the task and, ultimately, an alternate style for your reward. Wagering and tipping are also returning so you can bet on the outcome of the matches and tip fellow players using the little in-game tokens.
Another option lets you track your MMR (matchmaking ranking) and see how high you can go on a leaderboard. This filled me with horror as I feel like visible MMR is one of the most toxic things in the game - or rather it leads to toxicity - but it looks like there's a seasonal element to it?
A tournament thing each weekend so people can pretend they're having a little International of their own, more transparency about where you get battle points from via a log system, rewards for leveling up with said points, and a classical architecture-themed terrain.
The latter is causing a kerfuffle on Reddit right now because you unlock it at level 125 (either by playing loads or just buying levels) and it has a kind of geometric hedge maze arrangement instead of the usual trees round the side so you can see the juke pathing really clearly. If that sounds like gibberish, basically the way the hedges work make the paths you can take around the trees really obvious rather than being part of the skill/memory challenge of Dota where players who have memorised the paths can use them effectively and people who haven't get caught and trapped. The accusation is that it's pay to win because if you chuck money at the compendium you can unlock the terrain style and not have to do the memorisation part.
I think the terrain itself is really pretty.
You can also unlock vials which change the colour of the river (blood is at level 2,500) and then there THE ACTUAL COMPENDIUM which is like the usual prediction stuff around The International itself.
You can read the entirety of what the battle pass offers over on their website. A level 1 battle pass is $9.99, to start at level 50 will set you back $26,99 and then you can purchase extra levels from $2.49.
You see why I am locking my wallet in the drawer? River. Of. Blood.
The International 6 will take place at Seattle's KeyArena. The main event runs from 8-13 August. Open qualifiers start on 21 June and regional qualifiers begin on 25 June.