Valve's adding revenue from the compendium's sales to the prize pool for the Dota 2's International 2013 tournament.
So eSports really are becoming a thing. Like their sportsball counterparts, competitive games are drawing massive audiences, much how Dota 2 is currently at the center of attention for its International 2013 Tournament. And just like sportsball, there's even a handy guide to the game - only in this case, it's an interactive "virtual book."
Available on the Dota 2 store for $10, the compendium allows players to keep up with the tournament, as well as play games against other fans and glean the associated special loot drops as the tournament gears up. We'll also be able to vote on community polls, and - once the tournament is over - compare our predictions.
Dota began as a user-made modification for Warcraft 3 and has grown into one of the most played online games in the world. Following in the tradition of Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, Team Fortress, Portal, and Alien Swarm, Dota 2 is the result of Valve hiring the community developers who built the mod and giving them the chance to finally build a full product out of their idea with the help of a professional team of developers and artists at Valve.
As for the gameplay, it's a little hard to describe. The camera is set in the traditional RTS perspective, but it wouldn't be fair to call Dota an RTS. And while each hero starts at level 1, and many times hits the level cap of 25, it wouldn't be fair to call it an RPG.
Lots of people have tried to assign various genre names to Dota, but we think Action RTS is probably the most descriptive. And while we don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out what genre the game is inventing, we can't stop playing it internally!
In addition to helping players better connect with the competition, 25% of sales from the compendium go towards the prize pool - meaning that the more compendiums are bought, the more the prospective winners have a chance at winning. The prize pool's originally announced figure was $1.6 million.
"Each year we spend some of the planning time for The International trying to figure out ways to improve the connection between fans and the players in the tournament," Valve said, via the Dota 2 blog. "We know that the majority of our viewers will be watching the tournament unfold over the internet, so we'd like to make it easier for an online fan to dig deeper into the event, the teams, and the players. In addition to wanting more detail, we know fans also love to compete with each other at predicting tournament results."
Putting together this sort of organically growing compendium is a pretty neat way to document the tournament, to be sure, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Valve's experiment pans out. What other competitive games would you be interested in seeing such a feature for?