The International 2019?Battle Pass has finally arrived and brings with it a number of new skins, items, and features.
For the most part, this year’s battle pass is identical to 2018’s, only with the cavern motif being dropped in favor of an overgrown jungle. That said, there are a few interesting new features and several aesthetics worth highlighting for fans interested in getting the battle pass.
The International 2019 Battle Pass carries the same $9.99 price tag it did last year, with $29.35 and $44.99 options also available that include additional levels and items.
?The full list of features can be found on the official Dota 2 blog.
There are very few surprises with The International 2019 Battle Pass at this point, with most of the features included being taken directly from previous iterations. There are a multitude of new skins, taunts, and consumable items to be had by leveling up the battle pass. This is still done through completing various challenges, betting tokens on games, and exchanging tips with other players.
The first set of Immortal Treasures is already here and includes animated claws for Lifestealer, a new set of wings for Skywrath Mage, and more.
Another aesthetic addition is living towers. Previous years have seen players’ battle pass levels transform the appearance of lane towers, but this year takes things a step further by having them become living rock monsters that hurl boulders at enemies within range.
The Cavern Crawl mini-game is gone in favor of Jungle Expedition, which functions the same way but with a different theme and new prizes including sets for heroes with unlockable styles.
A number of queuing and UI features were also added. Ranked role matchmaking returns alongside a party finder and the ability to avoid blocked players. Why these features are locked exclusively behind payment is unknown, but players can keep their fingers cross that these become standard rather than seasonal or hidden in Dota Plus.
The biggest new addition is the Coach’s Challenge, which allows players to queue up for a coaching spot with a team of lower-ranked players. Players can level up their coaching status to earn various rewards.
Seemingly removed is the ability to bet shards on Dota Pro Circuit games through the battle pass. This feature was quietly added to last year’s battle pass but is now exclusive to the Dota Plus mobile app.
The centerpiece of the battle pass is still the compendium for The International 2019. Most of the compendium’s functionality is locked at this time, with the tournament still more than three months away. Returning features include player cards, a fantasy game, and the ability to set bracket predictions.
2019 also sees a new limited time game mode added in Wrath of the Mo’rokai, which takes the spot of previous mini-games like The Underhollow and Siltbreaker.
“Deep in the jungles of Fellstrath, the ruins of an ancient civilization lie hidden beneath tangled canopy and creeping vine. But the crumbling facades and flourishing overgrowth aren't the only things lurking there.”
The game has not yet arrived, but the description suggests that two teams of players will have to scavenge items to energize their Mo'rokai beast to destroy their opponent’s ancient.
There are also various prestige items that were teased for high level battle passes that have not yet arrived. Remodeled and reanimated skins are available for Tiny, Earthshaker, and Axe, and a new jungle terrain is in the works as well.
More interestingly, a new “Hero Persona” function was added that introduces different versions of established heroes. What this entails and what makes this different from an arcana is unknown, but a younger version of Invoker was shown as the first iteration of the new feature.
The International tournaments have long boasted the largest prize pools in esports, breaking its own record year after year. This has been tied to the popularity of The International Battle Pass, which sees 30 percent of the revenue generated get funneled directly into the prize pool. Last year, The International 2018 had a prize pool of $25,532,177.
That’s an extraordinary sum by any standard, but it may have marked the beginning of a plateau after years of explosive growth for The International. The TI8 tally was up just $744,261 from The International 2017’s mark of $24,787,916. This is a far cry from the multi-million dollar jumps the the prize pool had made in the years prior.
Valve may still have some tricks up its sleeves, but with games like Fortnite and Apex Legends adopting the battle pass formula and not really adding anything new to it, it’s hard to guess what Valve may have cooking.