Dota 2

While this year’s International Battle Pass comes with the usual goodies, Dota 2 players are being treated to a PvE minigame called Siltbreaker. The multiplayer experience will come in two parts: The Sands of Fate is out now and, later in the summer, A Vault in the Deep will finish the tale.

As much as fans are excited about the mode and the new cosmetic items that come with it, more players are left waiting for Valve’s next contribution to an underrepresented facet of Dota 2: its lore and universe. Players have been wondering for years about the connections between fishy characters such as Slardar, Slark, and Naga Siren, and even the distantly-related Sven. Meanwhile, other theorists speculate about the fourth elemental spirit.

The history of the game contributes to Dota 2’s approach to story, events, and updates. A major issue going into the game’s release was that Valve, despite working with Icefrog, didn’t have the rights to all of the intellectual property that came with DotA—a mod for a Blizzard game. After all, the two publishers had come out of a fight over the rights to 'Dota', with Valve winning in the end. The developer couldn’t take it for granted, however, and this dynamic has been influential in the history of Dota 2's storytelling. While the relations of many heroes remain intact, the story has been rebuilt from the ground up.

The community did try to carry over a number of the references from Warcraft 3 in the remake. Players still commonly use “Furion” for Nature’s Prophet, which was adapted from the WC3 name “Malfurion,” and the hero selection screen allows players to type this in to search for the hero. However, for the most part, the remake’s developers were left needing to tiptoe around the old iteration’s ghosts, which paved the way for Dota 2 events and lore as we know them today.  

Valve took what they could and worked with it. In early December 2013, Dota 2 had just come out of the controversy surrounding the Diretide in-game event, yet players were already itching for more. Valve put up a teaser site for Frostivus, a beloved holiday event known for its various item drops. However, on the 12th, the hero Skeleton King was “removed for pressing ceremonial reasons.” The day’s update, instead of more details on Frostivus, was a poster that simply read: "By decree of the only king that matters / Frostivus is cancelled.” 

The next day, Valve announced an event called 'Wraith Night' to introduce Wraith King, a full revamp of the old Skeleton King. Players harvested energy from defeated enemies in order to revive the king's skeletal body, bringing him back for good as a lich-like entity. The event itself has been engraved in the game’s memes, as “removed for pressing ceremonial reasons” is often dropped when fans joke about a hero disappearing from the game for any reason. Wraith-Night became a precursor to how Valve handled lore-related items and events, such as the Phantom Assassin “Nemesis Assassin” event about a year later.

Stories and lore, then, also became ways for Valve to distinguish its product from other iterations and copycats. Most recently, even the story of Monkey King, a traditional story and video game character, feels like a world of its own, establishing his presence as a near-omniscient figure. He speaks vaguely of other heroes’ relations, and the comic hints at the presence of a fourth spirit, much like the other elemental heroes in the game (Storm, Earth, and Ember). 

Meanwhile, given the relatively small size of the Dota 2 development team, there’s also the question of how much manpower is actually going into lore-related updates. It’s assumed that developers are keeping at least one eye on it in order to keep at least some mild consistency among official releases. But Valve is a team that works at minimum power for maximum output, and so while they may love to release lore, it often takes a backseat to game-focused updates.  For that reason, the issues for community lie not in what Valve releases, but what they don’t, which is quite a bit. 

Valve seems aware of this and makes the best of what they can release. Story trickles out slowly and subtly, leaving bits and pieces for players to put together. For instance, the game will trigger certain voice lines when certain heroes lane together, providing a breath of fresh air in a tense laning stage and a look into their histories. Characters such as Lina and Crystal Maiden affirm their relationships or familial ties, and Monkey King teases his deep knowledge of the dark secrets of many heroes. (Keeper of the Light affirms his thirst for most women.) Also, in-game items by fan creators that make it past the Workshop stage often have their descriptions updated to hint at hidden lore.

Events like Siltbreaker have the potential to combine all aspects of Valve s approach to in-game storytelling

Players have done extraordinary work throughout the game’s lifespan attempting to pull together the light trails of storylines. A sparsely-updated lore megathread on the developer feedback site has accumulated 1530 posts, and posts on Reddit will occasionally spring up. SirActionSlacks recently began a series called Loregasm in which he attempts to piece together the lore, mixing in his own elaborate theories to try to make sense of what fans have been given. 

The reliance on open-ended community work is a break from games such as League of Legends and Overwatch, each with sprawling and elaborate stories that prompt creative fandoms. Dota 2’s gameplay is infamously complex, though, and while there are absolutely enthusiasts of the story, the game itself remains the central focus to most fans.

Events like Siltbreaker have the potential to combine all aspects of Valve’s approach to in-game storytelling. With the introduction of Siltbreaker himself, who may appear in Part II, plus a gorgeous introductory comic and the integration of heroes’ hidden background, fans already have some trails to follow. Now it’s matter of how Part II, and further lore, will keep expanding on this groundwork.

Dota 2 - Ward


It's time to boost your Battle Pass and grow your treasure stash with the Battle Level Bundle, available this weekend only. From now until the morning of Monday, June 26, Battle Pass customers can purchase this discounted bundle containing 80 Battle Levels, 4x Immortal Treasure I, and 4x Immortal Treasure II for only $19.99.

Limited to one purchase per customer, this bundle offers 70% savings on the combined value of the levels and treasures, and as with other Battle Pass purchases, 25% of all sales will contribute directly to The International 2017 prize pool.

With the tournament itself fast approaching and the chance to earn this year's exclusive Battle Pass rewards—like the Reef's Edge Terrain at level 150, Kunkka Prestige item at level 225, and Io Arcana at level 245—destined to sail beyond the horizon, the Battle Level Bundle is just the boost you need to help reel in more of the exclusive treasure haul before the end of the Battle Pass season.
Dota 2 - Valve
The International 2017 Battle Level Bundle for Dota 2 is available on Steam and is up to 70% off!*

It ™s time to boost your Battle Pass and grow your treasure stash with the Battle Level Bundle, available this weekend only. From now until the morning of Monday, June 26, Battle Pass customers can purchase this discounted bundle containing 80 Battle Levels, 4x Immortal Treasure I, and 4x Immortal Treasure II. You must Own The International 2017 Battle Pass to redeem in game.

Limited to one purchase per customer, this bundle offers up to 70% savings on the combined value of the levels and treasures, and as with other Battle Pass purchases, 25% of all sales will contribute directly to The International 2017 prize pool.

Dota 2

Dota 2 continues to headline the world of esports this week as The Summit 7 saw Virtus.pro take the title, while on the other side of the Pacific in Shenzhen, China, Newbee won Galaxy Battles.The drama doesn’t stop there, as there’s plenty of action from the Dota 2 International 7 Open Qualifiers to the League of Legends LCS. We even have the CS:GO Esports Championship Finals to look forward to. All the details on this weekend’s events can be found below.

League of Legends: NA LCS

Immortals continued to dominate the competition in week three and the introduction of Xmithie has only heightened their performance on the Rift. Team Liquid didn’t stand a chance as they were quickly crushed in a 2-0 sweep, which gave Immortals the confidence to reverse sweep Cloud9. Immortals aim to continue their dominance during their week four matches against Counter Logic Gaming and Team Dignitas. With their solid teamwork and excellent macro play, Immortals are ready for the challenges that lay ahead, but we shall have to see whether they can claim the top spot. The full schedule and stream can found by heading over to lolesports.com.

League of Legends: EU LCS

Misfits shed its underdog status last weekend when they managed to secure a 2-1 victory against G2 Esports in their week three series. Jungler Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian got Misfits ahead as Lee Sin, giving first blood over to mid laner Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage's Orianna during the first three minutes. Maxlore continued to ramp up the pressure throughout the first game and Misfits finished game one off with a powerful teamfight from PowerOfEvil. Misfits eventually took the series in game three thanks to another dominant showing from Maxlore’s Lee Sin. Misfits now find themselves at the top of the Group A standings and they will be aiming to continue this success when they face Team Vitality today. The full schedule and stream can found by heading over to lolesports.com.

Dota 2: International 7 Open Qualifiers

The Dota 2 International open qualifiers started yesterday and for many professional teams these qualifiers are the most important step towards a successful season. The winners of each open qualifier will then advance to the main qualifier, which will run from the 26th to 30th of June in a two stage format. Competition is expected to be extremely fierce and 60 teams (10 from each region) will eventually make it to the gruelling group stage. The winning team will secure their share of the massive $1,600,000 prize pool and claim international glory. The full schedule and stream for each region can be found by heading over to dotabuff.com

CS:GO: Esports Championship Finals

The esports championship series season three finals are taking place at Wembley Arena today, where eight teams from around the globe will duke it out for the $660,000 prize pool and the champions' title. The event will see a double-elimination group stage, followed by single-elimination, best-of-three play-offs stage. The group stage matches will be best-of-one match-ups, whilst elimination and decider matches will be best-of-three. FaZe Clan and OpTic Gaming are kicking off the group stage today at 04:15 PDT / 13:15 CEST, while the elimination and deciders start tomorrow at 03:15 PDT / 12:15 CEST. The tournament will be streamed live on www.youtube.com/faceit.

Overwatch: Apex Season 3

Overwatch Apex Season three continues to heat up as the qualified teams from each group continue to battle it out against one another. The finals are fast approaching and every team will be trying to claim the $177,055 prize pool. Today’s match will see X6-Gaming take on Team EnVyUs at 03:00 PDT / 12:00 CEST, while the Group B match between LW Blue and Lunatic Hai starts at 04:30 PDT / 13:30 CEST. Make sure to check out the full stream over on Twitch.

Hearthstone: Global Games

The Hearthstone Global Games tournament enters week 11 of play today and every team has been fighting hard to claim the top spot in the group stage. Half the teams from the original 48 have now been knocked out and the groups have been reseeded ready for the round robin stage. Group C’s round five match concluded yesterday for US viewers, but those of you in Europe can catch all the action today at 03:00 CEST. It’s a long road ahead for the pros and every team will be fighting hard to secure the $300,000 prize pool in phase two of the tournament. The full schedule and stream for week four can be found here.

Hearthstone: SeatStory Cup VII

Hearthstone’s seatstory cup begins today and 32 of the best Hearthstone players will gather at Krefeld, Germany to participate in the tournament. Hearthstone pros Frodan, Impact, Maverick and RDU will be present at this year’s tournament, but only the strongest will have a chance to claim the $20,000 prize pool and the seatstory cup. Today’s match will see Ostkaka and Reckful kick off the Group E bracket at 04:05 PDT/ 13:05 CEST, followed by RDU vs. Pavel at 05:20 PDT / 14:20 CEST. The full schedule and stream can be found by heading over to seatstorycup.com.

Heroes of the Storm: Global Championships Phase 2

Phase two of the HGC is well underway and teams from around the world will continue to battle it out for the $425,000 USD prize pool. Fnatic will be aiming to continue their Mid-Season Brawl success and claim a top spot in phase two of the tournament. Every team will have their eyes firmly set on the next Western Clash in August, but only those who can remain focused and remain strong under the pressure will have a chance at taking the title. Make sure you head over to heroesofthestorm.com to find the schedule and stream for all the matches being played this weekend.

Street Fighter V: The Fight 2017

The next stop in the 2017 Capcom Pro Tour season takes us to Bogotá, Colombia for The Fight 2017. Top players like Brazil's Brolynho and Dominican Republic's MenaRD will be in attendance as well as other top regional players. Flash from the USA will also be competing, so be sure to tune in to the live stream over on Twitch to watch all the combo chaos. The matches start tomorrow at 12:00 PDT / 21:00 CEST and continue throughout the day.

Dota 2 - Valve
* Claiming the Level 165 Bonus Siltbreaker Treasures reward will now retroactively grant bonus treasures for any zones that had been previously 3-starred. All players that did not receive their bonus treasures will be granted those missing treasures.
Dota 2 - Valve
* Fixed parties being able to queue in Ranked without an attached phone number
* Fixed Static Remnant having missing textures
Dota 2

Photo credit: Valve

Time passes quickly in a packed esports season. It’s already been nearly two months since the Kiev Major, and if you blinked, you likely missed several important tournaments on the road to The International 2017. Now, the TI7 invites have been announced, with six teams grabbing the the honors: OG, Virtus.Pro, Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, Newbee and Invictus Gaming. 

Here’s a recap of what’s taken place so far—and what’s to come before the final fight for the Aegis this summer.

Manila Masters  

Dates: May 25-28Prize Pool: $250,000 USDTop Prize: Evil Geniuses ($125,000 USD)

A follow-up to the wildly successful 2016 event ESL One Manila, the esports event giant teamed up with local production company Mineski Production Team to bring Dota 2 back to the capital of the Philippines again. Held once again at the Mall Of Asia’s arena, the tournament boasted a $250 thousand prize pool, with $125 thousand going to the top team. 

Teams present were decidedly some of the top in the world, with OG, Newbee, and EG among the ranks. North American team NP had a surprisingly strong presence as well, taking a respectable third. Ultimately, though, EG and Newbee took the respective first and second place spots at the tournament before going their own ways to new, separate events.

ZOTAC

Photo credit: Valve

Dates: May 30-June 3Prize Pool: $100,000 USDTop Prize: Newbee ($50,000 USD)

The Taiwanese tournament felt small in scale and presence compared to other events, but make no mistake: the event had a $100k prize pool and strong teams including Newbee and NP. Still, at first glance, the absence of major tier one teams due to the upcoming Epicenter in Moscow can make it feel much less grand in the larger scheme of things. If it counts for anything, NP took a one-year ban from Dreamleague in order to be present. 

The aforementioned teams faced off in the finals, and Newbee went home with the prize. The fact that NP came so close, though, could mean that North American competition may get heated as the season goes on. Teams such as the also-present Digital Chaos will have a lot to work towards this season.

Epicenter

Dates: June 4-11Prize Pool: $500,000 USDTop Prize: Team Liquid ($250,000 USD)

The Russian tournament was well-received after their debut in 2016, and now they’ve returned for another year. This time, though, they’ve ditched the double-elimination format for a riskier one: ten teams invited, four eliminated in group stages, and six proceed to single-elimination brackets with seeding based on group stage performance. If it sounds confusing, you’re certainly not alone, but it likely plays more fairly and meaningfully than Valve’s current all-in single-elimination format.  

Teams present were some of the top performers in Kiev, including OG, EG, Team Secret and iG. Basically, the competition shaped up to be tough. As one of the last premier tournaments before the TI7 invites, each team fought tooth-and-nail for not just the prize, but Valve’s attention as well. 

At the end, Team Liquid took a somewhat-surprising but well-deserved win, given their inconsistently strong performance the rest of the season. As the other finalist, Evil Geniuses certainly performed well, though, holding onto their reputation as the top North American team.

Photo credit: Valve

The Summit 7

Dates: June 14-19Prize Pool: $100,000 USDTop Prize: Virtus.Pro ($42,500 USD)

The darling biannual tournament of Dota 2, hosted by grassroots studio Beyond The Summit, returns for its seventh iteration. It’s held in the house owned by BTS and features quirks such as “couch casting” (which is exactly what it sounds like), goofy features and a family vibe. It sounds odd, but the tournament itself is extremely serious, as it shows off the top teams in the world. With a $100k prize pool, teams have reason to take it seriously. 

More importantly, it’s one of the two tournaments, along with Galaxy Battles, that sits safely before the estimated dates of the TI7 invites. Virtus.Pro had the opportunity to reaffirm their worth as the premier CIS team, as Team Secret had to for western Europe. In the end, VP took the crown with a massive range of unique heroes: 81 out of 85 picks were unique, and they got the invite.

Galaxy Battles

Dates: June 15-19Prize Pool: $150,000 USDTop Prize: Newbee ($69,000 USD) (nice)

Also having taken place this weekend was the first iteration of Galaxy Battles, a Chinese tournament given a blessing by the National Electronic Sports Open, a major Chinese circuit. While it’s not as renown as The Summit, it still has a respectable mix of teams that can make for an engaging event. 

It’s worth more in prize pool than The Summit, with $150k total, and again, like The Summit, it’s one of the last tournaments before invites may go out. This time, Newbee proved they were the top Chinese team in Dota, and they got the invite.

Photo credit: Valve

The International 7 Qualifiers

Dates: June 22-June 29th 

Here, then, is the checkpoint and a turning point in the midst of all the chaos. Already, the dates for the qualifiers themselves have been announced. Now, teams that aren’t directly invited to the major event will have to face off in order to cinch the last of the spots, whether through the open qualifiers or an invite to the regional qualifiers. 

From these qualifiers, though, it doesn’t end before the Seattle main event. A few more events between now and then can signal to fans who will perform well at The International, if the teams choose to play instead of train.

If your team wants to give a shot at the Aegis, open qualifier signups are open as of the time of writing until the start of the bracket check-in on June 22.

Mars Dota 2 League

Dates: July 5-9 

Held by the Chinese media company, the Mars Dota 2 League already has some of the top talent lined up, including OG, EG and the two arguably strongest Chinese teams right now, Newbee and iG. Originally to be held late April, the sudden announcement of the Kiev Major meant the event had to be rescheduled to its new time. That means, though, that fans can enjoy another event before TI7 kicks off. 

This event will likely set the stage for the “east versus west” narrative that takes place each TI. With the flip between China and European/American countries taking the Aegis, fans are eager to see if China can break the streak.

Photo credit: Valve

The Final Match 

Dates: July 7-9Prize Pool: $50,000 USDTop Prize: $21,250 USD

One of the biggest South American tournaments in recent years (if ever), The Final Match brings together the top local talent, including Kiev Major underdogs SG E-sports, plus international invites, the European team Alliance and Korea’s MVP HOT6ix. The region is usually pretty ignored for its perceived poor play, though after SG’s run in Kiev, many speculate it’s due to the high lag that team experience in cross-continental American gameplay. A LAN of this size should be entertaining and a great preview of what’s to come from the South American qualified team.

DreamLeague Season 7 LAN Finals 

Dates: July 21-22Prize Pool: $175,000 USDTop Prize: $80,000 USD 

DreamLeague is one of the longest-standing esports leagues out there, with Dota 2 held as a staple. This time, though, instead of its usual European setting, the event has been brought to America. While there are typically visa issues when it comes to American events, the event has offered TI7 training space for any well-known team planning to attend, meaning teams have a reason to obtain their visas early.

The Atlanta event already has some pretty big names lined up, including Team Secret and Epicenter winners Team Liquid. Rounding out the event are Vega Squadron and Planet Odd, each of whom won through the event’s online circuit.

Dota 2 - Valve
* Fixed Gravekeeper's Cloak not properly reducing damage from Reaper's Scythe
Dota 2 - Ward


The Dota summer season is in full swing, and it's time to unveil the six teams that have earned direct invitations to The International.

This year, all eighteen teams that make the journey to The International will compete in the Group Stage, where the tournament field will be divided into two Round Robin groups of nine teams. Upon completion of the Group Stage, the bottom team from each group will be eliminated, and the remaining sixteen will move on to the Double Elimination Main Event at KeyArena.

Make sure to tune in via Twitch or the Dota 2 client to catch the Open Qualifiers on June 22 – 25 and the Regional Qualifiers on June 26 – 29. With countless teams around the world hungering for an invite to Seattle, the battle for the Aegis of Champions is about to begin.
Dota 2 - Ward


Immortal Treasure II is now available, featuring all-new items for Pudge, Bloodseeker, Lina, Treant Protector, Elder Titan, and Chaos Knight. Each Immortal Treasure II you open also offers increasing odds to receive a rare Keeper of the Light mount or an ultra rare Necrophos scythe.

In addition to these items, this treasure has a very rare chance to drop another chest containing a Golden version of one of the Chaos Knight, Pudge, or Lina items. As with other treasures, the Golden chest will not contain duplicate items until each Golden variant has already been acquired, and the first potential Golden drop will always be for Chaos Knight, followed by Pudge and then Lina.

All Battle Pass owners can find an Immortal Treasure II ready to unbox in the Armory, and you can earn more of these treasures by increasing your Battle Level. Head over to the Battle Pass page for a preview of the new items and custom effects contained in today's treasure.
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