The deadline for The International 2019 Collector’s Cache was May 12. Close to 200 item sets were submitted by the workshop artists this year, but for the first time Valve selected just about all of them to be subject of public voting.
In the previous years, the sets submitted for the TI Collector’s Cache were available to public voting via Steam workshop. Valve was the final judge and picked several sets for the treasure. However, this year they decided to give more power to those who bought a TI Battle Pass. In a blog post released last night, Valve announced that only the TI9 Battle Pass owners are able to vote from 83 sets chosen by them.
Valve’s decision was received with mixed feelings by the workshop artists. Their primary concerns are about what will be the public criterias for giving their thumbs up for a set or another. Will they vote purely based on what heroes are hot meta trends, will they vote for sets that explicitly obey to this year’s Collector’s Cache theme, although Valve allowed the artists to deviate from it, or will they simply vote for a cosmetic for their most played hero?.
Christian Gramnaes, an artist going by the ChiZ nickname in the workshop and someone with plenty of sets accepted in the game over the years has raised his concerns on Twitter. His long thread reads:
“I have a lot to say about this TI9 Workshop voting system, which I’ll get to in a moment, but let me just say that no matter how busted up I am about it, it doesn’t compare to what those who were completely left out are feeling right now. I think that on the surface, for any Dota 2 player, this seems fine. As someone who’s been in this system for 5 years, I can think of a lot of reasons off the top of my head already why this is not a great idea, and I wish some communication had been done with artists about it.
First of all, our profiles are linked to our sets in the voting queue. This would normally be something we’d be happy about because we like being known for the stuff we make when it’s in the game. However, I’m currently being bombarded with invitations. This happens sometimes when your set is popular in the Workshop, but in this case, it’s hard not to feel like what I choose to do, how I choose to interact with these invitations will directly affect what happens to my set in this very voting process. It’s not a good feeling.
We’re also being made to compete directly with each other. While there’s a lot of competition in the Workshop, the final word has always laid with Valve, a neutral entity with no allegiances. When you involve the community, you instantly create a rift in this relationship. Because now you’re practically pitting communities around Workshop artists against each other for a final decision. It’s going to create a very unhealthy atmosphere in the Workshop, and it’s already pretty tense in here.
The system also pits heroes’ popularity against each other and stacks votes in favor of popular heroes, something that the treasure system was supposed to equalize. We already know how this plays out in the arcana and remodel voting system.
We also already have a problem with people gaming the system in terms of Workshop votes in the form of bot accounts and suspiciously amassed community support, and we have no reassurances that this will not be the case in this secondary voting system. I don’t know how this is going to play out, what Valve’s plan is long-term for this system, or what we can expect in the future, but these are concerns right out of the gate, and I’m not seeing a single Workshop artist who is happy with the situation. Sometimes communication can go a long way. I know all the jokes surrounding Valve and this, but the way a lot of us were caught off guard today could have been prevented by talking to us and ironing out some details, because there are a lot of unknowns and they matter to us.
For some of us, this is our livelihood, and a lot of us felt some serious heartbreak today. Either in the form of acceptance emails that turned out to be false, or the feeling of being snubbed of the opportunity to be voted in at all.
There are also a few sets in this queue (like mine) that are not themed, and a lot of people don’t seem to realize that this was allowed this year. I can already imagine losing votes over “missing the theme” because people don’t read the rules. And it’s not like they should have to, but this was literally the worst year to introduce this voting system given that this was the first year this was even an exception.
It’s also not going to give the community the satisfaction they think they’re getting. The people voting are individuals, and the voting results, while (thankfully) not public at this time, will ultimately be perceived to be “wrong” in the same way it always is.
Someone is always going to feel like someone was “robbed.”
The treasure is always going to be “the worst ever released.”
The results are always going to be in question because people play favorites.
It’s going to cause a lot of complaints on all sides of the community.”
Battle Pass owners have five days to wage in their votes. The 83 sets wait for you to decide until June 3 which one has a place in the TI9 Collector’s Cache.