Valve will make several changes to roster flexibility, tournament qualification and structure for the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit season, which begins on Sept. 15., the developer announced on Monday.
Valve will remove hard roster locks that previously prevented teams that disbanded or made roster changes mid-season from qualifying from the Dota Pro Circuit. Instead, qualifying points for The International -- the circuit's largest tournament, which consists of the highest single-tournament prize pool in esports -- will be assigned to teams, rather than individual players. Removing a player from the roster will reduce the team's points by 20 percent, with adding a new player making no changes, positive or negative.
If a team does not play with its official five-man roster for an event, its points for that event will be reduced by 40 percent. Teams will not be allowed to change rosters once The International invites or qualifiers start until the conclusion of the event. Teams seeking to compete in the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit season will be required to register after The International 8, which concludes on Aug. 25.
In addition to the roster lock changes, Valve will make schedule changes to the circuit calendar. Five pairs of major and minor tournaments will take place beginning in September 2018 and concluding in June 2019, each spanning over the course of two to three months.
Teams will no longer be directly invited to minor or major tournaments. Major qualifiers will take place first, with teams who fail to qualify able to try again for the minor qualifier a few days later. The winner of the minor will earn a slot in the corresponding major. Minors will consist of eight teams, while majors will feature 16 teams.
The changes come after years of feedback from players and teams about the strong roster locks of Dota 2 events and the Dota Pro Circuit.