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- The International is one of the biggest annual events in esports, and this year, the event is currently offering a crowd-funded prize pool of $33,039,566
- The event is a championship tournament for "Dota 2," a popular free-to-play game that’s been around for more than a decade.
- Eighteen teams from around the world have qualified for the tournament, which starts in Shanghai, China, on August 15.
- The winning team will take home more than $15 million, turning the champions into instant millionaires.
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One of the biggest events in esports kicked off from Shanghai on Wednesday night, pitting 18 teams against each other for a share of a $33 million prize pool.
The International is the annual championship for "Dota 2," a popular free-to-play computer game with millions of players around the world. "Dota 2" has more than 10 million active players each month, and each one of them can help contribute to the massive prize pool by spending money on the game.
Valve, the company behind "Dota 2," began hosting The International near their Seattle headquarters in 2011, and adopted a crowd-funding model to help support the game’s active esports community.
The first International offered a $1.6 million prize pool, but it’s ballooned in the years since. Last year’s event gave away $25.5 million to the qualified teams, and this year’s $33,039,566 prize pool could continue to increase as the tournament gets underway.
"Dota 2" is a team strategy game, and each match can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half to complete. Players must implement a masterful level of strategy, team work, technical skill, and overall game knowledge to reach The International, and the 18 qualified teams showcase talent from countries around the world.
Group play begins on August 15, and the main event will be held from August 20 to 25. Each match will be streamed live on Twitch.TV, and the main event will be held over the course of five days in Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena, which seats up to 18,000 people.
Here’s everything you need to know about The International, the massive championship event giving away $33 million in prize money.
The International’s $33 million prize pool is crowd-funded by the game’s community. Here’s how the prizes are handed out to the 18 teams.
Dota 2 is free-to-play and has more than 10 million active players each month. Players can help boost The International prize pool by purchasing a seasonal "Battle Pass" in the months surrounding the tournament.
The battle pass starts at $9.99, and gives players tons of rewards for completing challenges as they play. Players can also pay to raise their Battle Pass level instead, which boosts the prize pool even further. Valve places 25% of all Battle Pass proceeds into The International prize pool, even after the tournament is underway.
There are 18 teams from around the world that have qualified for The International by competing in smaller tournaments throughout the year.
The International includes qualified teams from six regions:
North America: Evil Geniuses, Newbee
South America: Infamous
Europe: Team OG, Alliance, Team Liquid, Chaos eSports Club, Ninjas in Pajamas
China: Vici Gaming, Keen Gaming, Royal Never Give Up, PSG.LGD
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS): Virtus.Pro, Natus Vincere (Na’Vi)
Southeast Asia: Fnatic, TNC Predator, Mineski
Each team consists of five players, and they each play a specific role during the match.
Each of the five players on a Dota 2 team has a specific role, similar to a basketball team. For example, a "carry" player will spend the early part of a game building their strength so they can dominate the late stages of a match, while support players make sure the carry stays safe and puts pressure on the opponents early on.
Teams typically handpick players for a specific role, and the team captain selects characters for all five players at the start of each match.
This year’s defending champs, Team OG, completed their roster together just two months before The International began. Their sponsor, Red Bull, put together a feature-length film called "Against the Odds" documenting the team’s amazing run to the championship.
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