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DotA 2 – The International 11 2022 Grand Finals hype (and shade)

The DotA 2 TI11 2022 (The International) Grand Finals begin on Oct. 28 with the culmination of the ‘largest esports event’ of the year! Last week we shared an update on the Group Stage Finals for Valve’s hallmark esports championship and this weekend it all comes to a head.

The situation:

After an intense two weeks of upsets, roster shuffles, and fanfare (and fan fury) The International 11 2022 DotA 2 Grand Finals are set to take place on Oct. 29 – 30 in Singapore. Following the group stage and last-chance qualifiers, it appears that the four teams moving into the last round for a shot at the final are Team Spirit (EU East), Tundra Esports (UK), Team Liquid (NL), and Aster (China)

While The Grand Finals will be an exciting conclusion, Valve’s “biggest esports event of the year,” TI11 has been marked with skepticism, drama, and less-than-ideal fan response.

The details:

It is normal for pro sports rosters in any genre to shuffle talent following sub-par results, and DotA 2 rosters are no exception following the Group Stage quals these past two weeks. On Monday, T1 (Southeast Asia) split with coach, ‘March,’ as two other members openly announced their options to move and exit contracts.

NAVI (Ukraine) suffered bad beats to T1 and Xtreme in the last chance qualifiers cutting Alexey “Solo” Brezin almost immediately; however, there are mounting rumors that ‘internal issues’ had presented pre-series trouble.

The actual streaming and fan base around the DotA community was not immune to its own turbulence. Official streaming entity, PGL issued warnings to everyone from audiences to creators about spewing negativity about it, the championship, Valve, or DotA stating “It is your responsibility to maintain a clean and positive image around ‘Last Chance Qualifiers and Group Stage’ during broadcasts. This includes but is not limited to the social media, responses, words, and actions of you and others you choose to broadcast with”

The International DotA 2
Image by Valve

The topic of the ‘legendary’ TI prize pool has become its own source of skepticism with TI11 being the first largely crowdfunded pool to ever fail to exceed the year before. This year’s pot is just under $18M USD following a record-setting $40M last year. Because this is directly tied to fan activity, merchandising, and influx from the community, many view it as an indicator of waning interest.

To further aggravate that idea, a recent report from PCGames (Network) claims that TI 2022 viewership has hit “rock bottom” “The group stage totalled [sic] 23 million hours watched, with an average of 443k viewers and a concurrent peak of 680.9k. In comparison to TI9 and TI10, hours watched has dropped by 19.6% and 32% respectively, while peak viewership has tanked by a depressing 18.2% and 40%. The unique viewers stat on Twitch has also dropped by 20%, painting a pretty bleak picture of TI11.” – PCGamesN

What does it mean for gamers:

Take the downslide with a grain of salt. TI11 2022 is still the first pinnacle final DotA 2 esports event of the year since a long and lengthy blackout thanks to the global pandemic. Fans need to simply enjoy the prospect of being back to these hype-in-overdrive production events, in my opinion.

If you’re able to watch in real time, lean in and just freaking enjoy the heck out of it. The Grand Finals this weekend are going to be a show of force between four of the best DotA 2 esports teams in the world. There will be a ton of buzz and excitement to enjoy. Invite some friends or join a watch party. Grab some snacks and just allow yourself to have fun with it.

After all, only last year we were either forced to skip or deal with remote tech issues. Let’s just enjoy community, esports electricity, and the communities we participate in.

The DotA 2 Grand Final will be live broadcast beginning at 4:30pm ET on Oct. 30.

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Brad

Brad is a lifelong gamer, 12 year veteran of the gaming and esports marketing industry and owner/founder of TwinsticksAndTies.com where his passion for the business of gaming takes form. As a writer, Twitch and Instagram influencer and industry professional, Brad has produced bylines and content work for Walmart Gaming, SQUAD and Northern Arena to name a few.
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