The International is getting a few format changes, as Valve tweaks the TI formula to make it more approachable for all viewers.
With the The International 2023 Regional Qualifiers now just over two weeks away, Valve has revealed a series of changes to the format of The International aimed and improving the viewing experience. In an August 4 blog post on Dota’s official website, Valve outlined four major changes to TI12’s format.
Changing the name of The International’s stages
The first major change is renaming a portion of The International to “The Road To The International.” This essentially splits TI into two sections:
- “The Road To The International”
- “The International”
- The Final 8 Bracket
The Group Stage will be the behind-closed door affair we’re used to now, while the Playoffs will be in front of a live audience at the Seattle Convention Center’s Summit. The International, the final bracket, will be played at the Climate Pledge Arena, again with a live audience.
The International 2023’s group stage changes
But beyond just name changes groups are new being split up. Instead of two groups of ten playing for four days, there’s four groups of five playing for two. This also cuts down the amount of games individual teams play to four. The second half of Group Stage is now composed of head-to-head matches between the remaining 16 teams. This decides who will be placed where in the Playoffs.
Valve posted the below image, but honestly, it doesn’t really help explain the group stage at all.
TI12’s new Playoffs portion
As part of the format changes, The International will also feature a new part of the tournament called the Playoffs. Now while we’d traditionally call the final bracket the playoffs, this is what most of the time we’d call a play-in. This will see 16 teams whittled down to just eight as they battle it out in brutal best-of-three elimination matches.
TI12’s 8-team final bracket
The final big change is to the finals. While TI11 Main Event had 16 teams (and The International traditionally has around that amount), this time it’s whittled down to just eight. Same format, with best-of-threes, just squished.
Wait a second… this isn’t a format change at all! They’ve just cut the bracket in half!
Easier format or chopped up bracket?
Overall, it seems that there’s been a conscious effort to make TI12 just a bit more bite-sized. Although we’re not fully sure if that’s been achieved. We’re also not sure how doubling the amount of games played in a single day for Group Stage acts to make the experience more approachable. But then, we’re just the people who actually attempt to watch all the games, what do we know?