The Dota 2 team has announced that there will be four major championship tournaments this fall for their popular multiplayer online battle arena game. The announcement comes with a major caveat this time around and it concerns team rosters and player trading.

Over on the official Dota 2 blog, it was announced that they have a major balance patch update in the works as they begin to prep for the big tournament season this fall with four marquee tournaments, with three sponsored by Valve but organized by third-parties, and the other being the big finale... The International.

As noted over on the official blog...
We would like to talk about our plans for improving the competitive landscape as a whole. As fans of the game, we love watching teams compete in high stakes tournaments, but we also recognize that there is room for improvement on a more structural level. While the lack of roster stability and major focal points during the year had its advantages, it has eventually come at the cost of fan engagement and competitive stability for the players.

That's very interesting actually. What they're saying is that the teams for Dota 2 who play professionally need to show a bit more cohesion in their player rosters. Constant team switching is determined – by the Dota 2 team no less – as something that costs the fans their level of engagement in the tournament. Perhaps it's like seeing various star players throughout the NFL season hop from one team to the next during the playoff season. Ultimately, I think they might seem to be saying that the lack of player-locks on teams is “immersion breaking”.

The blog post goes on to state that teams participating in the event will have to limit their roster trading to certain periods during the year. Very interesting.

This is basically the equivalent of ensuring that teams draft their players before they decide to participate in any of the four major tournaments for Dota 2. I can definitely understand from Valve and the developers' perspective that having solid team line-ups with limited player trading during the major tournaments adds a bit more flair and team cohesion to the presentation side of things. It also gives the commentators and viewers a bit more “story” to chew into when it comes time to talk about team rankings and the team journeys through the tournament scene. It's the same sort of sports narrative we get from ESPN during basketball seasons, baseball seasons and football seasons.

I don't know for sure if this will draw in newer viewers, I mean getting engaged into the MOBA tournament scene is no easy task and it requires a lot of knowledge on the viewer's end to completely appreciate what's happening in game's like Dota 2 or League of Legends. However, crafting tournament narratives around teams who get along (or don't) could make for some interesting e-sports news.

I can't really see a downside to this particular move, and I think it helps further legitimize the e-sport leagues on the MOBA side.

Tickets are already on sale for Dota 2's The International, and you can look for the other major championships to go live this fall or visit the official website to learn more.

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