In May 2022, Valve added team bundles to the game, the proceeds of which it promised to share with the Dota Pro Circuit participants. This gave fans the opportunity to support their favorite players financially, and club leaders found an additional source of income that was not directly related to the results of teams in official matches.



From an economic point of view, the new system is very simple. There are three types of bundles – Bronze, Silver and Gold, which cost $ 1.99 (₽152), $ 9.98 (₽767) and $ 19.97 (₽1 537) respectively. The Bronze Pack gives the Fan a Team Badge that appears next to the in-game nickname. Silver adds emojis and graffiti, while gold adds access to the corporate loading screen and team voice lines. 50% of each sale goes to the team, and Valve takes the rest.

Roman CaspeRRR Lepekhin, Maincast commentator
Roman CaspeRRR Lepekhin, Maincast commentator:

“Team merch is added to Dota – sprites, chat wheel phrases and all that. Finally, the support teams deserve. I hope this will also have a little impact on the stability of the rosters. “

Danil Dendi Ishutin, founder and player of B8 Esports
Danil Dendi Ishutin, founder and player of B8 Esports:

“That’s cool. If you like some teams, you can support them in this way, to entertain yourself. In my opinion, it was fun to do. They should have been added for a long time so that people would not leave Dota. “

At the same time, the period of validity of the team content is limited – according to the announcement, “membership in the fan club” will be valid only until July 31st. True, what will happen next is unknown. Perhaps Valve will simply release new sets, but at the same time, the company may rework this tool following the results of The International 10.

Three types of bundles: bronze, silver and gold

Valve decided that the bundles would include voice cues, graffiti and loading screens, but did not give DPC recommendations for content creation – in this regard, clubs received creative freedom. Teams were able to choose what to offer their fans based on their budget, capabilities and imagination. For example, Team Empire recruited Russian dubbing actor Pyotr Glantz to record voice lines – he once voiced the main character in Gothic II and the very Prince of Persia. Team Liquid players recorded voice lines under the guidance of Austin Capitalist commentator Walsh, and several other teams used the services of professional studios.

Alexey Magician Slabukhin, CEO of HellRaisers
Alexey Magician Slabukhin, CEO of HellRaisers:

“Basically, we attracted people from outside, because we realized that we would lose quality on our own. They searched both on the e-sports market and on freelance exchanges. “

There were bands that followed a simple path, cutting out phrases from their teamspeaks or streams. The same goes for graffiti, emoticons and branded loading screens.

Georgy drAmer Faleev, CEO Team Unique
Georgy drAmer Faleev, CEO Team Unique:

“We did almost everything ourselves, except for one loading screen. I wanted to do everything as varied as possible, so we decided to attract from the side of the person. The creation of the bundle itself, as a whole, turned out to be very inexpensive, since we have both designers and an artist on our staff. “

Clubs that don’t have permanent designers have had to work their way out: hiring artists, borrowing fan art, or even using regular photographs.

Maria Gunina, Alliance Manager
Maria Gunina, Alliance manager:

“We didn’t spend anything on the bundle, at that time we already had a full-time illustrator, the recording studio accepted us for free.”

One of the Alliance graffiti that team players regularly use in matches

Konstantin Doroshchenok, creative director of EXTREMUM
Konstantin Doroshchenok, creative director of EXTREMUM:

“There weren’t many ideas, because we were limited in time. Valve gave us only two days to implement. Therefore, we quickly sketched emoticons, wrote phrases and sent them for voice acting, and the visuals generally took them from our weekly column #WallpaperWednesday. “

It is difficult to say how much a professional approach correlates with sales volumes: it is necessary to take into account both the popularity of the clubs and the potential of the lines themselves to turn into memes. The latter does not always depend on the quality of the recording.

The cost of creating a bundle for a team from the CIS can vary from ₽5 thousand to ₽100 thousand. – representatives of some clubs shared such data with us. Although the upper price limit is conditional, the real cost is unlikely to exceed it. Basically, the amount depends on whether the organization has full-time specialists, or it needs to hire someone from the outside. For example, the Alliance bundle was made by Russian artist Sophia Woogiez Stepanova, who has been drawing art for the Swedish club for a long time, and joined the organization in March as an illustrator. At B8 Esports, all the content for the bundle was created by the head of the media department Igor Bad Playa Gorevoy.

Igor Bad Playa Gorevoy, head of media department at B8 Esports
Igor Bad Playa Gorevoy, head of media department at B8 Esports:

“It’s a funny feeling to buy a bundle that I made myself. Overall Valve could better combine what we sent her. There were a billion memes, but they chose the way they chose. Feedback was sent by the sound – our bundle is quietly audible. I hope they will fix it quickly. “

Content from B8 Packs

Valve initially asked teams to submit 8-10 units of each content type, however, the bundles only included three emojis, graffiti, and voicelines, as well as a couple of loading screens. Why only part of the content got into the released sets is unknown. Perhaps Valve will expand or update the bundles in the future.

For many, the cost of producing bundles paid off on the very first day of sales. Almost all the organizations from the CIS we interviewed spoke about this. It is difficult to say how profitable the bundles will be in the end – the results can only be summed up in three months, since the bundles will be sold until the start of The International 10. What is important, the clubs will receive money for selling bundles only after the end of the season.

Alexey Magician Slabukhin, CEO of HellRaisers
Alexey Magician Slabukhin, CEO of HellRaisers:

“We beat back production costs on the first day. But I will say that this is simply beautifully said, since everyone has minimal costs. “

Georgy drAmer Faleev, CEO Team Unique
Georgy drAmer Faleev, CEO Team Unique:

“In the format that exists now, it will not bring big profits.”

Let’s make some rough calculations to better represent the cost / benefit ratio. To recoup the production of a $ 100,000 bundle, you need to sell 130 gold sets. The organization will receive 50% of the income, that is, $ 770 from each bundle. All subsequent sales will already start to make a profit. We take gold into account, as most fans buy it for the voices. For example, let us note that $ 100 thousand is 1,315 bronze sets or 260 silver sets. If the team’s costs for creating a bundle are minimal, then the net profit will go almost from the very first sales.

Before the Bundle Era – Fan Shop at TI9. Photo: Valve

Creativity of teams directly affects the results of bundle sales… First of all, this concerns the creation of voices. Clubs had a choice: work for a dedicated but relatively small fan base, or try to captivate those unfamiliar with esports. For example, Natus Vincere (“Become mid” or “Become Knicks” as indicated in Dota 2), HellRaisers (“Family in place”) and B8 Esports (“I am midborn”) preferred meme voices that are understandable primarily to fans. However, with NAVI, everything is not so simple:

Alexey xaoc Kucherov, Chief Operating Officer, Natus Vincere
Alexey xaoc Kucherov, Chief Operating Officer of Natus Vincere:

“Regarding two phrases in our bundle. There were more of them, but so far only two have been added. We will find out what the matter is and whether it is possible to add more ”.

Others recorded more general lines intended for use in regular matches. This path was followed by (“Run, run, run”), Evil Geniuses (“Thanks, guys”) and 4 Zoomers (“Ha-ha-ha”).

Many teams noted that Valve included not the most interesting of the proposed replica options in the bundles.

Maria Gunina, Alliance Manager
Maria Gunina, Alliance manager:

“We sent as many options as possible for both cues and graphics. In most of the “nominations” ten variants could be submitted, and we sent so many. For my taste, there were more interesting variants of replicas, we had Handsken there, speaking Russian, and even AdmiralBulldog. We will not ask for changes, because everyone was immediately warned – provide what you think is necessary, and Valve will make a choice. “

AdmiralBulldog at EPICENTER in Moscow. Photo: EPICENTER

The most cunning trick was used by the American team Arkosh Gaming, which added the line “Omae Wa Mou Shindeiru” (“You are already dead”) from the anime “Fist of the North Star” to the voices. This phrase has long become a meme on the Internet, and now many Chinese players proudly wear Arkosh Gaming badges in matchmaking, although they hardly really care about the fate of the team. It can be assumed that the income of this club from the second division of America will compete with many of the top organizations.

In esports, similar additional monetization models are not uncommon for clubs. Once upon a time in Dota 2, team pennants were very popular, as well as personal sets with autographs of players and streamers. There are also some items, for each sale of which esports players receive a certain percentage. For example, Daniil Dendi Ishutin once admitted that Valve sends him about $ 150 every year in royalties from Dendi Doll sales for Pudge. The Doll is included in the Murder of Crows set, which was released with the Free to Play documentary back in 2014.

Dendi Doll in Dota 2

In the CS: GO shooter, there has long been a practice of issuing team stickers for major participants. As owners of organizations have repeatedly admitted, these stickers are a significant part of income and may well cover the cost of maintaining the composition throughout the year.

Alexey Magician Slabukhin, CEO of HellRaisers
Alexey Magician Slabukhin, CEO of HellRaisers:

“The main income in CS: GO is stickers from the majors. That the players, that the organizations earn on them many times more than from the prize money. And often the amount can more than pay off the investment in the composition. “

Players have repeatedly stated that they can get tens of thousands of dollars for stickers – often even more than in the form of prize money at tournaments. However, the difference between stickers in CS: GO and bundles in Dota 2 is still very significant. First, the packs are temporary and will disappear at the end of the season. Secondly, they cannot be resold to other users on the Marketplace. Stickers immediately after the release become part of the economic system of the game, they can become more expensive or cheaper depending on external factors – the dissolution of the team, the transfer of the player or his departure from the professional stage.

Rainbow Six Siege has a support program called R6 SHARE for top-tier clubs. It provides the strongest teams with signature operative skins or weapon color schemes that can be promoted to fans. 30% of the sale of such skins goes to the club, another 30% is taken by players and content creators, the rest of the money goes to the developers.

Natus Vincere Siege: P10 Roni Bundle – Mozzie

League of Legends creates personalized skins for selected heroes for World Championship winners. The money received for their sale is divided by Riot Games between the team, tournament participants, and also clubs from the region the champion represents.

The idea with bundles has great prospects. Of course, in its current form, Valve’s system needs a lot of work. At a minimum, kits should have been released early in the season so that teams have more time to advertise and sell them. And fans would probably be more willing to pay for voicelines if they knew they could use them for six months, not a couple of months. Another incomprehensible moment – why did only 26 teams out of 96 participants in the Dota Pro Circuit 2022 receive bundles?

Now, not only the developers, but also the clubs themselves need to think about the development of the concept of bundles. They will have to convince fans to buy new sets next season (if, of course, Valve continues this idea). All representatives of organizations agree that bundles can be made much more interesting and varied.

Maria Gunina, Alliance Manager
Maria Gunina, Alliance manager:

“I think there is a lot of space for the development of bundles. Some have already been voiced by different characters in the community. You can add player cards and a fantasy league, in-game drops when watching matches of your favorite team. The main problem that needs to be solved, as it seems to me, is to balance the level of “price – amount of content” a little, I saw a lot of reviews that the bundle seems expensive ”.

Georgy drAmer Faleev, CEO Team Unique
Georgy drAmer Faleev, CEO Team Unique:

“We need chests (cases) with random items from different teams in order for the tier-2 scene to really receive support. You can come up with things with player cards (gold, etc.) that open up additional bonuses in the game, you can work out a variant with a fantasy league. In fact, there are a huge number of development paths. I really hope that what we have now is just the beginning. “

Konstantin Doroshchenok, creative director of EXTREMUM
Konstantin Doroshchenok, creative director of EXTREMUM:

“I would like more content. For example, team types, spawn music, a command screen at the start of the game, etc. In general, there can be a lot of ideas – it all depends on the developers and their capabilities. “

TI6. Photo: Valve

Dota 2 fans, in turn, suggested making the bronze bundles free to nudge the casual audience to follow esports. Having “put on” the virtual NAVI badge, the player may want to find out what this actually means and gradually get involved in watching professional matches.

Another idea is to replace the command bundles with generic kits for each region. That is, to make six bundles – one each for the CIS, Europe, North America, etc., adding content from local players and commentators to them. The money from the sale of such kits can be distributed among the members of the division in accordance with their results. That is, by purchasing a bundle, the viewer will support all the teams in the division, and not just one team of 96 DPC participants.

Be that as it may, team bundles are a big step forward for the Dota 2 esports scene. Teams in it lacked support from the organizers, and this became especially clear in 2022: when the rating season paused due to the pandemic, some clubs had to leave the stage, as they lost the opportunity to earn and keep the lineups. Kits are a tool that in the long term can give teams financial stability, even apart from the direct esports results. It remains to wait for the “second season” of bundles, which Valve will probably add to the game after The International 10.