COVID-19 will still impact the esport, as LAN events remain ill-advised and often impossible due to quarantines and restricted travel. But we all hope for better things ahead. The TrackDota writing team came together to compile our list of what we'd like to see in 2021 for professional Dota 2:
The return of inter-region competition! (Matt Dixon)
We’ve certainly seen some good Dota this year, but after several months of only regional leagues, we desperately need a shake-up to the pro scene. Each region’s scene has mostly consisted of the same teams playing the same matchups over and over - it gets a little stale after a while. Occasional roster shuffles and new teams mixed things up a little, but the return of international competition is what we truly need. Competing to be the best in a region is one thing, but competing to be the best in the world is what brings us the best of pro-Dota.
I’m also looking forward to seeing how Quincy Crew fare when playing against more competitive regions like EU and China. They have dominated the NA region for many months now, but could soon have to adjust to much tougher opponents. As well as the world opening up for LAN events, the potential for roster shuffles across regions grows, giving us some interesting possibilities, especially as the ex-Just Error squad are all free agents… for now.
I hope the DPC event is good! (Tom Cockram)
The Dota 2 LAN events are the heart and soul of the game and nothing can replace the feeling of hearing that crowd rawr when a special moment happens. It’s why the six million dollar Echo Slam is one of my favorite moments because even in my bedroom at 3 a.m. I felt that shout of that crowd at Key Arena.
Unfortunately, Valve has really dropped the ball in regards to supporting the Dota 2 pro scene during the pandemic and has largely left it up to the community to keep it alive which, for a company that just made something like $100 million from the Battle Pass, is unacceptable. We’ve seen the effects of COVID-19 on the scene as organization after organization has dropped out of the scene and while tournament organizers have done a brilliant job to keep Dota 2 going, it has lacked that magic DPC label. With Valve’s hands-off approach any event that gets their golden seal of approval suddenly has that extra magic that players, talent and fans can get behind. I hope a more structured scene can lead to a much more deep talent pool within each region and provide far more job opportunities for players, talent (writers?), and everything in between. With all this said I hope Valve’s disappearance in the last few months can be attributed to the work they’re putting into the new DPC system and we can see a more stable scene that is an attractive place for organizations and sponsors.
I hope the tier two scene gets the recognition it deserves in 2021. (Kenneth Williams)
The players most affected by the coronavirus are the ones you can’t remember. Many of Dota’s leading teams are composed of extremely experienced players. That’s a part of Dota’s legacy, but come-ups like the old Alliance-turned-Liquid roster are some of the most important teams in the current landscape. Tier 2 and below have been hit hard by the pandemic, so I hope they bounce back in a major way. The introduction of Valve-organized regional leagues has me optimistic, and I think the general viewer base will come out of the online era with more appreciation for the Minors. Also, I hope Elephant dumpsters Secret. 🐘☝️
Hoodwink! (Jack Violet)
Hoodwink is a fun, fast-paced, nuking hero that looks like she can do some serious work in the professional scene. Already we’ve seen her take over high-level pubs in the few games that she hasn’t been banned out in. Obviously, she looks broken in pubs at the moment, but the professional scene is a completely different playing field. It’ll be interesting to see which teams will prioritize her in the draft, what the item builds will be, and what heroes she’ll synergize well with. As with every new hero, she won’t be added to Captains Mode for some time until she’s worked on some more. It’s been over a year since Snapfire and Void Spirit were released and it’ll be nice to see a new hero just in time for the 2021 DPC Season.
Entertainment, escape, underdogs. (Chelsea Jack)
Watching the professionals play Dota 2, listening to the casters and analysts, it has all been an entertaining escape for me for years now. In 2020, I think we can all admit that the professional scene started to feel a little monotonous. I'm thrilled for Team Secret and Quincy Crew going on their win streaks, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that meta got a tad stale over time.
And the limitations of online play and production were visible across the scene. Casters and organizers did their best to make bedroom casting and limited productions as entertaining as possible, and I applaud for that. There were some true highlights this year. But again, I miss seeing teams walk onstage. I miss seeing the confetti while a team lifts their trophy. I miss that roar of the crowd, the reactions of players to the adrenaline of competing in front of an audience....
For 2021, I want to see big storylines. I want a live event again — not too soon, but maybe in the last months of the year, when vaccines have spread across the world. I want to see underdogs upset the big teams. I want to be surprised and entertained. I want to see online and regional play elevated through the DPC so that we can all start to really invest and care and cheer on our teams again.
What are you hoping to see in 2021? Let us know on Twitter