The DPC experiment is over as Valve announces that Dota Pro Circuit: 2023 will be the final season.
The face of competitive Dota 2 is changing radically as Valve announces the end of its Dota Pro Circuit. In a news post from September 14, Valve explained that Dota Pro Circuit: 2023 will be the final DPC season.
From next year invitations to The International will be handled in a different manner. Since 2017, invitations to TI were predicated on a series of DPC events. This initially existed as a series of Minors and Majors, before shifting to the Regional League system of the past few years. Valve has stated that: “we're already working on The International 2024, and next year we'll be talking more about how invitations to that event will work.”
- The DPC system is no more
- The Dota 2 competitive scene will continue
- The International isn’t going away
- Invites to TI13 will be organized in 2024.
Valve reconsiders the competitive scene as it reflects on the DPC
In the post, Valve looks back at the successes and failures of the DPC system. Prior to the introduction of the DPC system, qualification to The International, Dota 2’s largest tournament, was done on an invitational basis. These invitations were based on performance throughout the competitive year, with little formal structure.
With the introduction of the DPC, a more solid route to The International was developed. In Valve’s words, it “demystified the invitation criteria, and made it easier for pros to understand their path to The International.” However, with this demystification came issues which Valve outlines.
The DPC had a “stranglehold” on the competitive calendar and prevented smaller and more unique events from taking place. This seems in reference to the likes of Summit and Midas Mode events, which all but disappeared as the DPC system took over more of the season. Instead, organizers were forced to splash out on Majors and large scale events which were often not sustainable.
Valve also criticized its own “long list of rigid requirements.” But it also admitted that relaxing the requirements wouldn’t help the situation. As a result, Valve has instead decided to completely drop the DPC.
With this change, Valve seemingly wants to return to the older variety of Dota 2 events: “The Dota community has decades of grassroots experience coming up with innovative and entertaining events, and right now the DPC is getting in the way.”
No more DPC. What next?
What the next year of Dota 2 events looks like will be anyone’s guess. Many of the smaller tournament organizers that created the “compelling and inventive tournaments” don’t exist or operate at a different level now. Beyond The Summit, who created the Dota Summits, shuttered in February. Moonduck studios and agency, who were behind Midas Mode and the original Captain’s Draft tournaments, has been in hibernation since 2019. WePlay, organizers of the AniMajor and Bukovel Minor were forced by the invasion of Ukraine to shift into a new LA studio-based model, and have not organized a Dota tournament in almost two years.
While on the surface this is definitely a positive and introspective move by Valve, it may also be slightly misguided. The DPC, for better or worse, created a stable ecosystem for many, especially in the Tier 2 scene. Instead of fixing the worst problems with the DPC, Valve has scrapped it all. And in doing so, may have left many regions and players in the lurch. Time will tell if this move away from the DPC is step in the right direction.