TI8 breaks records while rewarding fans with new content

The International is never a let-down, but TI8 has had a few things to make it exceptional even by the standards Valve have set. Free stuff, new games and even God coming down to address the mortals in the crowd, or Gaben at least, have all made TI8 so much more than just a festival of Dota 2 so far.

It was touch and go for a bit, but as expected, TI has broken the record for highest ever prize pool again, with a staggering $25m+ due to be split up between the top teams, with the winners taking the lions share. This has surpassed the figure set last year, and means that VC-chasing salesmen can use the TI-is-still-growing line for at least another twelve months.

However, there have been other reasons for fans to proclaim this the best TI, especially those in the arena. First up, the company’s first new game in ages, Artifact, is due to release in Beta form in October, and everyone who attends TI8 will be given a copy and free key to participate in the Beta.

One of the reasons this is a big deal is the perception that Valve don’t make games any more, and although Artifact is a card game, the hype for a new Valve game is understandable from one of the most rabid fan bases in gaming. However, a skit last night really turned the hype up to eleven, as God himself made a second appearance at TI, sort of.

Gaben Mega Kills

The skit featuring Jake ‘SirActionSlacks’ Kanner and Kaci Aitchison is above for you to watch, but when we’d finished enjoying the acting skills of Gabe Newell, the cut back to the desk revealed that every single Battle Pass owner would be receiving a free copy of the ‘Gabe Newell Mega Kills’ pack, pretty much immediately.

This is fantastic news for everyone in the arena of course, as well as those at home that have already bought the Battle Pass, and had the seemingly impossible effect of making TI8 attendees wish, if only briefly, that they could be back at home again, to log in and enjoy the dulcet tones of Gabe in Dota 2.

On top of all that, we’ve seen some amazing play from those on show, and we’re not even close to the end yet. Today we have two mouth-watering upper bracket semi-finals, as well as VGJ Storm fighting for their existence in the lower bracket. Even by the record-breaking standards Valve have set, TI8 is a winner, and the best is yet to come.