Written by Colter Hawks The International is the premiere tournament for Dota 2, bringing in the best teams from around the world and pitting them against one another in one major clash. The International is every team’s dream, and the road is long and difficult. Valve uses a point system which tallies up wins across all other Major and Minor tournaments leading up to the summer. Three teams have already qualified for TI9 and await to see who else they will be competing against in Shanghai. Dota 2 and the International has made headlines in more than just the esports industry ever since the first tournament back in 2011, due to its massive prize pool. The first International had a prize pool of $1.6 million, giving $1 million as the grand prize. This shook the world of esports and started a renaissance in the sporting world. Although it wasn’t until TI4 when the game really started to grab the attention of major sports heads like ESPN and BBC Sports when the compendium, an in-game brochure, if you will, for the International which offered in game items and other fun stuff for the players, which when purchased, part of that money was fed directly into the prize pool. This brought The International 2014’s prize pool to a whopping $10.9 million, and the pools have only increased from year to year. TI4: $10.9 million - TI5: $18.4 million = 68.6% increase TI5: $18.4 million - TI6: $20.7 million = 12.7% increase TI6: $20.7 million - TI7: $24.6 million = 18.9% increase TI7: $24.6 million - TI8: $25.5 million = 3.4% increase That last increase is much smaller than the others, but the size of the pool is no laughing matter. Although it does raise the question, has Dota 2 leveled out? The concurrent player base, according to steamcharts.com, peaked at over 1.2 million players back in 2016 and has been pretty steady since then around the 800,000 mark. Although in the past month it has reached over 1 million. It is possible that the the next prize pool could be less than TI8, but I believe Valve will throw in more money in order to ensure that the pool continues to rise from year to year if the compendium falls short. Also bringing the International to China should help boost the number as well. Regardless, The International will still reign as the largest prize pool tournament in esports for many years to come while currently holding the top 5 record spots according to esportsearnings.com and will undoubtedly hold the top 6 once TI9 rolls around.