It’s called Growing Giant, which is the perfect title when it comes to The International.
Valve’s annual tournament, much like the company itself, has ballooned into near astronomical proportions. The first International was a US$1 million tournament; this year Dota 2 will have given out more than US$20 million, with the upcoming Frankfurt Major sporting a US$3 million prize pool.
That’s more than the prize pool for League of Legends’s world championships and just about every other eSports tournament combined. It gets even crazier when you think this has all spawned from the creation of a custom map for WarCraft 3 (not a mod, but maybe I’m just being pedantic when I get annoyed seeing the old DotA map referred to as such).
Anyway, The International. It’s been running for five years now and Moritz Zimmermann has put together a documentary for Na’Vi, the Ukrainian organisation whose Dota 2 team laid the foundations for their standing in today’s eSports hierarchy.
It’s not a long film at a fraction over 12 minutes, but it does chronicle the growth of Dota 2 and Valve’s premier tournament. There’s also interviews with Valve’s Erik Johnson, Queensland shoutcaster Toby Dawson (whose voice has become synonymous with Dota 2), Twitch’s Aaron Chambers, and a behind-the-scenes look at the setup for the production and running of the tournament itself.
Seeing the collection of hardware and having Dawson talk through the process is fascinating, particularly knowing him as someone who began shoutcasting tournaments when things were far more amateurish. Hell, having run tournaments myself at netcafes and events I can sympathise with the problems that arise when you try to rely on players or even ask them for simple tasks.
In any case, it’s a nice little primer for the Frankfurt Major and a good illustration of the level of effort that goes into the pre-planning and production for modern eSports.