Some people are really good at manipulating wizards. As the makers of a game that features wizards (also: bears, succubi, venomous man-reptiles), every year Valve invite some of these people to a multi-million dollar wizard-off. That tournament is Dota 2's The International, and is one of the year's largest e-sports events. Valve have confirmed that this year's tournament will run from July 18 - 21, with tickets going on sale later this week. In addition, the event takes place in a new venue: Seattle's KeyArena.
"This year there will be 11 teams invited directly as well as four Regional Qualifiers taking place May 12th through the 25th," write Valve , explaining the tournament structure. "The winner of each Qualifier will receive an invitation, with the four runner-ups competing in Seattle for the final spot."
Tickets for attendance go on sale this Friday, and range from a general pass for $99, to a VIP package—including "Meet & Greets" and after party access—at $499. You can head to the Dota 2 blog for a full list of available packages and ticket opening times. Alternatively, for the rest of us, the tournament will be broadcast for free through Twitch and the in-game client.
The KeyArena is a larger venue than that of the tournament's previous home, Benaroya Hall. It's also being held a few weeks earlier in the year—a fact that's already impacted upon the e-sports calendar. A few weeks ago, MLG announced that they'd be dropping Dota 2 from Anaheim this summer. One of the reasons they stated was the proximity of competing events.