With a final prize pool of US$10,930,473, 2014's International broke all manner of prize money records and continued the trend of increasing exposure of eSports in mainstream media. With coverage on ESPN and articles in many prominent papers and news outlets, it was certainly another step forward for the industry, as well as a memorable event with many amazing matches. For those who you who weren't able to take the trip personally, our very own Kevin Tocao luckily had a camera with him and put together some on-the-ground footage.
A walk through the KeyArena
The perks of being there
As the video walkthrough shows, Valve went out of their way to create a unique atmosphere with lots of things to do aside from just watching games. Perhaps most interesting were the Secret Shop (which was legendarily popular) and the artist workshops, although there were certainly a lot more perks of actually being there in person.
1) Loot bags
Everyone received these bags, which contained a water bottle, Aegis pin, notebook, Dota patch, blind box pin, Secret Shop catalog and order form, TI4 program and thundersticks.
2) More loot
Those patient enough could load up on exclusive Dota 2 merchandise not available elsewhere.
3) The atmosphere
With everything from illuminated team banners that went dark as teams got eliminated to an incredibly loud and passionate crowd, being there to experience Dota 2 history in person was simply priceless. During some of Cloud 9 and Evil Geniuses games especially, the roar of the crowd was simply incredible. I tried to capture some of that atmosphere by filming the last moments of the grand finals.
Summing up my experience
After TI3, this is the second time I've attended an International, and I have to say it was once again an amazing event. There’s been a lot of talk about how the grand finals were a disappointing set of games, and it's true in the sense that the games surely did not live up to the epicness of the last championship series. However, on the other hand TI4 also had some incredibly epic matches leading up the finals that rivalled any I've seen in the past. I'd even go as far as saying that during the first days, it seemed that every other game was a must-watch.
In addition to this, the venue added all the awe and epicness we needed for this level of competition. KeyArena was set up beautifully and the crowd was as loud as they were throughout the tournament during the last moments of the grand final. I'm super happy I once again had the chance to attend, and leave you with a final round of interviews I conducted after the grand finals were played with a variety of players and personalities including LD, Winter, Aui_2000, BuLba and Sheever.