For those of your unfamiliar with The International and its scale, let me put it into context for you. The tournament began in 2011 and was staged in Cologne, Germany, at Gamescom. The event invited 16 Dota 2 teams to battle it out for a grand prize of one million dollars. The recently released free to download movie, Free to Play, documents the lives of three pro players from that tournament and the build up to the final match. It’s highly recommend you check it out, whether you’re an eSports aficionado or not.
Ever since the first tournament in 2011 it’s been a regular occurrence, seeing the event at PAX Prime in Benaroya Hall, Seattle in 2012 and the same place again in 2013. Last year’s tournament saw the addition of the interactive compendium, which Dota 2 players could purchase through the game’s store. It came complete with a total run-down of the event, from info on the individual pro players and their teams, plus perks and bonuses to Dota 2 players themselves. A portion of the compendium sales went directly into the prize pool of the tournament, seeing the previous 1.6 million USD dollar prize pool being boosted to $2,874.381, with the winners taking home a cool $1.4 million.
This year’s tournament is staged at the KeyArena in Seattle, and will see another 16 teams testing their skills to win the grand prize. A total of eleven teams have been invited to the event, including the popular Natus Vincere (Na’Vi to you Dota fans), and last year’s winners Alliance. In the run up to the main event held between 18 and 21 July the regional qualify rounds will take place starting today and ending 25 May.
The winners of each regional qualifier will earn one of four spots to the main tournament, with the 16th and final spot being taken by the winner of a Play-In series between the runners-up of the regional qualifiers. You can watch the qualifying rounds directly through Dota 2 or over on the website and at Twitch.tv.
You can view the trailer for the documentary Free to Play below.