Dota 2 developer Valve announced Monday that it will make third-party tournaments the primary avenue for qualifying for The International in 2018.
After August's rendition of The International, which features a growing prize pool of more than $20 million, the two-major, Valve-sponsored qualifying system that Dota 2 used for this year will end.
Valve will directly manage the schedule for and select third-party majors and minors based on prize pool, how teams qualify for those tournaments and a necessary LAN component for finals play. Majors will require a $500,000-plus prize pool, to which Valve will add $500,000, while minors will need to put together $150,000, with Valve chipping in that same amount. Both types of tournaments will require qualifiers from each of the primary Dota 2 regions: North America, South America, Southeast Asia, China, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
"We will be taking a more organic approach to growing the competitive ecosystem, working more closely with third-party tournaments," Valve said in a statement. "Additionally, players competing in these tournaments will earn Qualifying Points, which will be the sole factor in determining invites to The International 2018."
The qualifying points system will give teams credit for money earned from tournaments, with points scaling up for both majors and tournaments closest to The International. Valve will credit teams with points earned by only the top three players on each team, which allows for some roster turnover but also promotes continuity in the team landscape that Dota 2 was lacking in the past year.
Valve also plans to make its data available to the public, and qualifying points will be the only factor taken into account for International qualification.
"To help teams and fans keep track of standings throughout the year, a leaderboard of individual player Qualifying Points and team Qualifying Point Rankings will be available for everyone to follow along with as teams fight their way towards next year's International," Valve said in a statement.
These changes will both add transparency to the qualification process for The International in the coming year and allow lesser-known teams to have more shots at moving into the playing field. The incentive to prevent roster turnover might also help the Dota 2 scene, with the previous two-major system making qualifications all-or-nothing events.
Valve did not specify the number of tournaments it plans to sponsor for either majors or minors other than saying "many" events are in play.