Valve canceled the first Dota 2 Major in 2022, which was supposed to take place in February and become the pinnacle of the professional winter circuit.
“As the Dota Pro Tour’s 2021-2022 Winter Tour draws to a close, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our first Major,” A blog post from the developer says“While we had high hopes for hosting an international LAN event, the discovery and spread of new strains of Covid-19 and the resulting increased travel restrictions have prevented all qualified teams from coming together for the LAN tournament.”
As a result of this decision, the Winter Tour will end after all regional leagues. Valve also said that the ranking points it intends to distribute at this Major will be transferred to the second and third Majors later this year. “This way, the balance of points between regional and cross-regional games remains the same.” Here’s how points are redistributed.
The reaction from the Dota 2 esports community has been overwhelmingly negative. It’s not because Dota fans think Valve should say “screw Covid” and keep doing it. The delayed cancellation has created some real and serious problems for the Dota 2 esports team, both financially and points-wise just being pushed back. Additionally, Valve currently has no information on knock-on effects, such as when players can now move between teams, which usually happens after majors.
If the event happened, it would not include the audience. The Dota 2 LAN event has been kept under wraps for about two years, while plans for spectators at the International 10 in Bucharest were canceled.
Various esports teams have been very clear about their views on the decision, with Na’Vi opting for the medium of memes.
Tragedy for the Dota 2 community pic.twitter.com/kH7I2nQ8w2January 12, 2022
Dota 2 pro Maurice ‘KheZu’ Gutmann also expressed disappointment with the call.
Valve publicly believes that pro players/pro teams/organizations don’t add any value to their product The reason people watch Pro Dota is simply because of their games, nothing else and their behavior fully reflects this mindset. They don’t care about their so called “partners”January 12, 2022
Many other event organizers have decided to cancel events at some point in the past few years. The specific problem with last-minute cancellations is that the Dota 2 esports scene is both absolutely massive and somewhat dependent on Valve’s financial backing: this Major will split roughly $500,000 between competing teams. Indeed, the point of the Dota Pro Tour is to provide stability to the competitive scene, and its league elements are basically professional-specific qualifiers.
I spoke to a member of the Dota 2 pro circle who didn’t want to be on the record, but he said that without the Major, “it feels like you’re playing for nothing”. Valve’s decision not to redistribute the bonus created a huge problem for some teams because it didn’t even come back: it just disappeared. Why is this happening so late? Why hasn’t this tournament been replaced by a regional tournament?
Of course, these issues are in line with some of the broader criticism of how Valve operates. The company is notorious for a lack of communication, which is one thing when you’re talking about game releases, but another when people’s livelihoods depend on your decisions. The decision to cancel the tournament was announced via a blog post and there has been no further official word since then, unsettling pros and teams who want some answers to the above questions.
It’s widely believed that Valve screwed up here, and of course now it’s mixed in with the more general criticism of Dota 2: some think the latest Battle Pass is a plagiarism, others think Valve doesn’t support the game and plays like it should professional scene, and there hasn’t been a major update to the game in a while.
At its core, however, Valve canceled the event at the last minute when professional organizations were already gearing up for it, removing a considerable amount of money from the site without questioning the decision. (And Valve isn’t short of money. Dota 2 alone is clearly a lucrative game.)
It’s understandable that Valve thinks holding an in-person event at this moment of the Covid-19 pandemic is a bad idea, but professional dissatisfaction with the way this has happened also seems entirely justified, given Valve’s resources and scale , which is somewhat unnecessary.
I have reached out to Valve for comment and will update any response.