Valve has finally revealed the grouping for TI 10, their premier annual Dota 2 tournament.
Last year, TI was canceled due to surging Covid cases in Europe. Before this, TI has always been held late into the day - generally in the evening hours of Central European time. This year's iteration of the highly anticipated Dota 2 tournament, however, moves away from traditional esports tournament timings.
Timings for Dota 2 best-of-threes in the group stages moved to accommodate eastern audiences
This year's TI group stages will kick off at 9 AM CET (GMT +2). For European countries, as well as a number of Asian countries, these are working hours. Considering that the average Dota 2 player is over the age of 20, having the biggest tournament fall into working hours is an obvious drawback.
You can find the full schedule up till the main stage here.
The tradeoff here is further global accessibility. As is the case with most Eurocentric esports events, eastern audiences could only watch it very late into the night in order to catch it live. With the current timings, all eastern countries, as well as NA regions, can watch it all the way through without staying up late. This is perhaps a nod to the growing Dota 2 community in South-East Asian countries.
Group allotment announced only one day prior to kick-off
The groupings have only been made available on the final day leading up to the group stage. This has not happened in the history of any Dota 2 tournament before, let alone TI. The reason for this most likely has to do with organizational challenges.
The road to TI 10 has not been smooth for Valve. Their plans to host it in Sweden were untimely canceled two months before the planned August date. The only new location Valve could manage for a new venue was in Bucharest, Romania, due to stringent Covid restrictions elsewhere.
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Currently, Romania is under the threat of a new wave of Covid. Valve had to abandon plans to have an audience and refunded tickets earlier this week. Moreover, many of the participating teams have complained about the quality of housing they were provided, an oversight that Valve only recently fixed.