2023 is almost over, so we must take a step back and reflect on what happened. The end of the ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023 means that the last big event of the year is over, so the best players will take a break and prepare for the upcoming year.
In our humble opinion, 2023 was more important than 2022 for Dota 2 because we saw many surprises. Sadly, not all of them were for the better, so let's check them out.
Team Spirit's TI Victory
The first thing we must discuss when discussing Dota 2's biggest surprise of 2023 is Team Spirit's successful TI journey. Even though no one expected this team to win the tournament, the squad from Eastern Europe surprised everyone by lifting the Aegis.
Since Team Spirit won the event, it became the 2nd team in Dota 2's history to win The International twice. The other name on the list is OG because the Western European team did that a few years ago.
The International 2023 was a fantastic tournament and event where people expected Gaimin Gladiators to win. Quinn "Quinn" Callahan and the rest have dominated the professional Dota 2 scene throughout the year (more about them to follow), but GG couldn't defeat TS in the Final.
Gaimin Gladiator's dominance
Despite not winning The International 12, Gaimin Gladiator was, without a doubt, the hottest Dota 2 squad in 2023. The team had almost no competition in the events it participated in and won virtually everything. This even includes all Majors.
Besides finishing second at The International 12, Gaimin Gladiator also got 2nd place at the ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023. The team proved it is not one of the "one meta teams" we've seen before because it kept dominating throughout the year. That's why we have no doubt that the Dota 2 Patch 7.35 that arrived a few days ago will not change anything, and GG will continue to be among the best.
2024 will be a significant year for this Dota 2 powerhouse because fans expect it to show its prowess again. That said, it will be challenging for the team to dominate because there are a lot of strong opponents, especially in China.
The Dota 2 Compendium
Going back to TI, Dota 2 players were eager for one of the most exciting esports tournaments of the year because they expected Valve to release a Compendium and/or a Battle Pass. This means there will be a lot of cosmetic items, Arcanas, and other kinds of things.
Unfortunately, Valve decided to take a different approach for 2023 and release a small Compendium. It did not include anything the community is used to, which devastated The International's prize pool. As you know, Valve's money on each purchase goes towards funding the reward, but since most people decided to skip this year's reward, the prize pool was more petite.
Many people on Reddit and other places said the 2023 compendium was a disaster, and we must agree. It offered nothing noteworthy, leading to many questions, including the most popular: Is Dota 2 Dying?
We hope this isn't the case, but 2024 will be the most critical year for our favorite game yet. The fact that the DPC is gone means that Tier 2 teams will have little to no chance to show off their skills, which is unsuitable for the game.
The DPC is gone
When discussing Dota 2's biggest surprises of 2023, we should mention that the DPC is gone. Valve's decision to kill the DPC after several years caught a lot of people by surprise. While many experts think this decision is better in the long run, others don't agree.
The fact that Valve won't hold any official tournaments and there won't be any DPC points gives much more freedom to tournament organizers. This is a plus because we expect to see many more events with formats we haven't seen before.
Sadly, as mentioned earlier, lacking a DPC means the Tier 2 Dota 2 scene is dead. We expect only a few Tier 2 events and those with shallow prize pools will take place. In other words, it will be almost impossible for Tier 2 Dota 2 players to become professionals because they need to make more money.
There were not enough cosmetic items
The last thing that surprised many Dota 2 players was the need for more cosmetic items. In fact, if it hadn't been for the Frostivus 2023 update from a few days ago, we wouldn't have had any interesting items. This is the first time we have seen this because Valve always released exceptional items for many heroes.
As mentioned, the disappointing compendium and the lack of any special events greatly impacted those who like Dota 2 because of the cosmetic items. We hope things will change, but we must wait and see.