Introduced in 2017, Dota Pro Circuit (DPC), was a competitive structure for tournaments competing on top level of professional Dota2. This structure was point-based; the higher the points, the higher the likeliness of getting placed in Valve-sponsored tournaments. This would be time-bound and those teams with highest points were then invited to The International of that year. Whereas, before this format, different teams would get direct invites via regional qualifiers and ‘golden tickets’ from Valve instead of having to compete for a slot in the contest.
On 14th September 2023, game developer Valve suddenly announced in a simple blog post that The International 2023 would be the end of the competitive structure of Dota2, DPC.
“With that in mind, we’re ending the Dota Pro Circuit: 2023 will be the final DPC season.”
This announcement has no impact on The International tournament, only on the qualifying structure for Dota2. This comes as good news for some whereas bad for others. Valve mentioned in their announcement that the idea behind introducing DPC was to create a more transparent system with which they succeeded. The rationale behind discontinuing the DPC format was that it didn’t support pro players globally. Also, due to cost-cutting this year, the broadcasting quality deteriorated too.
The DPC format impacted the competition by being less fierce and less fun for players as the room for innovation was reduced. But Valve succeeded in creating a more transparent system with it, as it initially planned. An example of this is seasoned pros like former Talon Esports coach SunBhie. He sees this change positively. SunBhie shares with Dot Esports, “I do think that the DPC being gone is a positive development. Outside of WEU, I don’t think the DPC has been successful. Even in WEU, being in Division II was not fun and [the division] devolved into something nasty. I’m glad it’s gone.”
SunBhie has worked with teams like Team Secret, Fnatic, and Talon since 2019; he likes this change as it will make the Dota2 contests more competitive and views this as an opportunity for high-ranked teams to face top talent in the industry more than before. This change is scary for tier two players/teams whose opportunity for qualifying for big events has reduced with this change, but this doesn’t concern SunBhie so much. He said, “I’m [obviously] hoping there will still be more opportunity for new talent to grow. But if you are good, you will eventually be seen with or without the DPC.”
For The International 2024, players will continue to receive invites. Valve has not yet announced whether they will go back to the format before DPC, continue a point-driven invite system, or come up with a new strategy. The closure of DPC was announced quite late (almost close to New Year’s) so we may not get updated information for the new strategy anytime soon. But a lot of questions arise regarding the future professional competitions of Dota2.
The upcoming ESL One Kuala Lumpur Tournament starting on 11th December 2023 will be the first to not use the Dota Pro Circuit qualification method after the change. ESL One Kuala Lumpur is also the first major tournament after this announcement and after The International 2023.