The year is 2011. It’s August 17 and you’re watching 16 teams gather in Cologne, Germany to participate in a tournament the likes of which had never been seen. Valve are utilizing GamesCom to showcase a new game – or a sequel to a game which I had been playing for 5 years already. Dota 2 was born and to show the game off, Valve organized The International 2011 but we had no idea what was in store.
In the next few weeks, starting now, I will take you on a journey through the History of the International, where it all began, the prize pools, the winning teams and everything surrounding each event as we lead up to this years TI8.
The International 2011
On the 1st of November 2010, Valve released a new blog page dedicated to Dota 2 stating that “from now until the release of the game next year, this will be a place where you can get information on our progress as we build the game.” The post continued to explain what Dota 2 is and what the developers had been working on. 16 days prior to TI1 kicking off was when everything was turned on its head. Barely a year after they had announced that Dota 2 was coming, Valve released another post on the Dota 2 blog and this one came as a massive surprise to the already growing community.
The announcement was met with tons of people around the world going absolutely crazy because not only would this be the first showing of Dota 2 to the world but mainly because of the prize money linked to it. “The winning team will receive $1 million.” With tournaments at the time not having high prize pools, with between $1000 and $15,000 being the norm for events, this was going to be insane. The rumors at the time placed the prize pool at around $50,000 but Valve and IceFrog quickly destroyed these when they spilled that $1,600,000 was the total prize pool for the event and the internet forums blew up. The event quickly became a huge deal and not just another game release – but nobody knew just how big Dota 2 would actually become.
The teams taking part at The International 2011 were barely known; players transitioning from DotA and HoN, now participating in this magnificent event which offered $1,000,000 to the team who prevailed at the end. From around the world, teams came together in Germany and over 5 days they would determine who would come out as the winner of TI1 and write their names in the history books.
By the end of the tournament, a team called Natus Vincere (or Na’Vi) would make themselves known to the Dota 2 world as they took down everyone in their path to claim the amazing first place prize. It was a moment remembered by everyone in the Dota 2 community as the grand finals had pinned Na’Vi up against one of the most fearsome opponents in the competition and the favorites to lift the title, EHOME. Holding their own, the mainly Ukrainian squad would take a 3-1 victory and their names were etched into the history of Dota 2.
In what was considered one of the best game of the entire series and of the tournament, EHOME would make Na’Vi suffer their only loss of the entire event. EHOME being the favorites were already a game down due to Na’Vi being given a 1 game default win after they came through the Upper Bracket. The Chinese team fought tooth-and-nail, dismantling their opponents and making sure that the series would be tied. Unfortunately for EHOME their loss in the next game severely diminished their morale and Na’Vi would quickly pounce to take the entire series.
The International 2011 Placements and Rewards
- First Place – Natus Vincere – $1,000,000
- Second Place – EHOME – $250,000
- Third Place – Scythe Gaming – $150,000
- Fourth Place – Meet Your Makers – $80,000
- Fifth/Sixth Place – Moscow Five/Invictus Gaming – $35,000
- Seventh/Eight Place– Nirvana.Int/Made in Thailand – $25,000
We have come a very long way since TI1 – new heroes, hundreds of patches, millions of bug fixes, a plethora of new names and faces, 7 different victors over 7 years, insane prize pools, absolutely breathtaking plays, tears of anguish alongside tears of joy, the game’s full release out of beta, the DPC and so many other aspects. Dota 2 has never stopped growing and it all started back in 2011 with a few hundred people at GamesCom watching.
Free to Play
Three years after TI1 had wrapped up, Valve released a feature-length documentary called “Free to Play” which followed the lives of 3 players who performed in the magnificence that was the first iteration of The International. Danil ‘Dendi’ Ishutin, Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis and Benedict ‘HyHy’ Lim took front and center as their lives through TI1 were put under the spotlight. The film invoked a plethora of emotions throughout the Dota 2 community – especially for those who had been following the game since day 1 and had witnessed the majesty of that GamesCom.