Earlier this week, Valve released stickers and voice lines for each member of the broadcast talent for the upcoming International 11 Dota 2 tournament. However, instead of being able to purchase the voice line of the talent you wanted to support as was the case in previous years, fans were forced to purchase a loot box that gave them one in 1196 to get the voice line they wanted. Now, after much backlash from fans, Valve has made the voice lines available for direct purchase.
Voice tracks are audio files recorded by talent that players can play in-game to everyone else in the lobby. After becoming very popular last year, many players were eager to get their hands on voice lines from their favorite talent, and many of the talents talked about how much time and effort they put into creating the perfect voice line.
But when Valve rolled out voice lines, locking them behind loot boxes with little chance of getting the line you wanted, the community wasn’t happy. The Dota 2 The sub-Reddit was flooded with posts complaining about its known members Dota community, as former pro gamer and caster Kyle Freedman called out Valve’s decision. Even some of the talent who had voice lines in the game said they were unhappy with how they were distributed.
After the backlash, Valve released a statement revealing that they were changing the process. While loot boxes are still available and the only way to acquire sticker talents, voice lines can now be purchased directly. 50% of every vocal line sale will go directly to the talent who voiced it.
“Yesterday we sent out an update which added a capsule containing talent stickers that unlocked talent voice lines,” Valve said in a blog post. “In doing so, fans and talent expressed their displeasure with the product. Our intention was to create an exciting system that would allow fans to connect with their favorite talent in a different way than in previous years, and we fell short of that goal. We regret this and intend to fix it.”
This is just the latest decision surrounding The International 11 that fans have been unhappy with. The tournament has always been considered the pinnacle of esports, with the biggest prize pools in history. But already this year there have been several changes, seemingly related to cost cutting, that have angered fans.
For the first time there is a betting sponsor for The International, which is usually a tournament with few to no sponsors, and those that do exist are usually for equipment used at the event with little broadcast advertising. All broadcasts for the qualifiers were done remotely, and rumors suggest that this will be the same for the first stage of the LAN portion of the tournament, while other rumors suggest that a significant portion of the broadcast talent will not be on-site in Singapore, instead to work from a remote studio in Norway.
Fans are also unhappy with the quality of the battle pass, the in-game item that directly funds The International’s prize pool. As a result, the prize pool for TI 11 is significantly behind previous events. At the time of writing the prize pool for TI 11 was $12,847,248, at the same point in the crowdfunding campaign for TI 10 the prize pool was over $16 million and no TI crowdfunding campaign has been this low since 2016.