Your Steam Wallet’s worst enemy is here. For the upcoming The International 2016, Valve has released the new Battle Pass, and it packs features that will send your Arcanas and Immortals shivering, in fear of being sold to fund it.
Here’s a short breakdown of things you will need to know to justify the purchase of the Battle Pass and any future levels. Actually, here is the ultra condensed version: Poop Emoji. If this isn’t worth the purchase, what is?
The first thing you’ll notice is that the color scheme of the Battle Pass/Compendium has gone back to where it first started off–the red from The International 2011. So while we had various rune colors so far, it seems that neither Arcane nor Bounty Rune has made the cut.
As with every Compendium for The International, this Battle Pass will increase the prizepool for this year’s TI, with 25% of Battle Pass sales directly increasing the prizepool. Starting with the base prizepool of $1,600,000, the community has been very active with its purchases and within 4 days we are already sitting at $6,600,000.
The pricing is the same as usual, with the basic Battle Pass priced at €9 or $10. The “Mega-Bundle” is priced at €24/$27.
So as always, the more expensive option offers the best value. So for that instant Poop Emoji, you have to spend €50 / $67 . You could buy it via the Steam Market, but let’s be real, that’s not the same.
What’s inside the Battle Pass?
As always, there are basic rewards for everybody. A courier, custom Wards, three different Immortals treasure chests, a Crystal Maiden announcer (preview here), music pack (preview here, the author would like to note that it is epic), cursor pack, emoticon pack, loading screen portfolio/pack, weather effect, effigy, HUD, Vengeful Spirit taunt and a new Battle Cup ticket, more on that later.
A lot of this is rather standard; however, unlike previous years, there are no milestones set, so no matter how many compendiums/Battle Passes are sold, there will be no changes as to what owners receive.
That said, you already get plenty, and there is technically some stuff to unlock, but more on that later.
Like any other Battle Pass, this one offers wagering. You receive 1,500 tokens per week(they don’t stack up) and you can wager on victory at the start of every game. If you win, double the amount you wagered is converted into Battle Points and directly applied to your own Battle Pass. For the extra competitive spirits out there, there’s a leaderboard where you can show off your wagering skills, compared to those of your friends.
Valve also brings back quests and achievements, and this time around, like our very own achievements, there are tiers to every quest. Completing a quest is just as easy and difficult as it was before, but for some extra grinding value, you can go back and complete a quest even faster for extra points. Reaching level 225 also unlocks a fourth quest path, so if you were to grind to that level, you could grind even further.
There are of course Daily Hero and Weekly Challenges.
The interesting addition here is though that now you can check where and how you got your Battle Points. More often than not you’ll find yourself leveling up after a game and don’t know why, but the new Battle Log displays. It’s a nice way to keep track of your Battle Point progress.
Previously, Valve introduced community challenges that allowed the community to get together to unlock further rewards. This time around, the challenges are not bound to quests, instead they pose an entirely new challenge. The Clearcut Challenge is the one kicking off these community challenges and it has proven to be quite the task, something some people are taking a bit more seriously than others.
These community challenges do not unlock any cosmetics directly, but they provide you with three additional fireballs for “Lina’s Battle Blaze”.
Lina’s Battle Blaze lets you “drop” three fireballs, and you get a random amount of Battle Points.
For the third year in a row, Valve gives the community the chance to vote for one hero that will receive an Arcana, which will be available for purchase later in the year. The first two heroes were Phantom Assassin and Zeus, neither of which are available for the vote now, on top of all the other heroes with arcanas already: ( Shadow Fiend, Lina, Legion Commander, Techies, Terrorblade, and Crystal Maiden).
This time around though, Valve has changed the way the voting works, and instead of the voting taking place all at once, there are weeks where only certain brackets will be concluded. You get a number of votes–which can be increased with further Battle Pass levels–and can distribute these among the current bracket. Additionally, you also see the current standings of the hero match-ups. So if the voting between two heroes is close, you can rally your friends to vote for a specific one.
Some of the more popular heroes got a default win for the first round, such as Pudge, Invoker and Windranger.
As always, there are compendium predictions on the outcome of The International. You can predict a variety of things regarding hero picks and bans, player and team statistics, but also the outcome of the eventual prizepool. Will we reach a prizepool similar to that of last year: between 24-25 Million or will it go beyond 40 Million?
Battle Cups, More Hats and Season Rank
For the longest time, people have wanted an in-game tournament solution. Valve has now taken a first step into that direction with the new Battle Cups. While these are automated and are set at 8 teams per bracket, one could only wonder how much further this system could be developed. To entice people to actually participate in these cups, winners will receive–surprise surprise–trophies and apparently in-match items to “display your triumphs to future teammates and enemies alike.”
If you crave further cosmetics, then you better hope that the overall prizepool surpasses last year’s. If that happens, every Battle Pass owner will be granted three Trust of the Benefactor treasure rewards. Much like any other treasure chest, there are some more standard and less desirable prizes inside, but the biggest appeal is the fact that Valve is bringing in older, rare items back. Is the Dragonclaw Hook too expensive for you? Here’s your chance to get it!
The arguably, biggest splash was caused by the new Season Rank. You feel like you were calibrated too low initially? Grab your wallet, buy a Battle Pass and just recalibrate! We’ll publish a more in-depth article about the idea and effect of this recalibration, but for now it should be noted that as long as your current MMR is above 5k, there’s not much sense for you to recalibrate, as the same calibration rules/mechanics seem to be in place–although nothing is officially confirmed. And it is not a fixed recalibration, but if you were to play 40 International Ranked games, you can choose to keep your Season MMR.
The new Battle Pass is interesting, the color scheme is nostalgic and the challenges are more enticing than ever. It’s a purchase you need to think about, as always, but if you do get your hands on one, GO CUT SOME TREES.