You Shall Not Cast
The iconic MOBA DOTA 2 (or Defense Of The Ancients 2 if you want to get into it) has been having a rough time of it these past two years. 2020 saw a huge drop in DOTA 2’s playerbase, and now it’s looking like their push to develop the esports side of the game has suffered a major setback, as the upcoming The International – DOTA 2 Championship has had to be delayed.
This year’s event would have marked the 10th anniversary of The International – hence the colloquial title TI10. TI10 was scheduled to be held in Stockholm, Sweden later this year, operating under the assumption that esports would be protected under the same pandemic restriction exemptions afforded to other elite sports in the country. According to an announcement post made on the DOTA 2 site, “Despite previous reassurances, we were informed two weeks ago that the Swedish Sports Federation had just voted not to accept esports into the sports federation.”
Event organizers met with the Swedish Esports Federation shortly after this, eventually determining that their only hope to run the event in Sweden would be to go directly to Sweden’s Minister of the Interior and ask for TI10 to be reclassified as an elite sport – this request was immediately rejected, leaving the event floundering. Further appeals were also unsuccessful. According to the DOTA 2 team’s announcement post, “anyone attempting to procure a visa for travel into Sweden for TI10 (including players, talent, and staff) would be denied. The absence of this official recognition also means individual border agents would be making decisions about entry for those traveling to the event from countries outside the EU who do not typically need a visa to enter Sweden.”
However, while TI10 has been delayed until further notice, the qualifiers are still pressing ahead as planned, starting on June 23. This is certainly a blow to DOTA 2’s esports community – but hopefully they’ll be able to get back on their feet again soon enough, as the team behind TI10 are looking for a way to run the event safely later this year.