posted by joinDOTA Staff,
joinDOTA League Season 15 is fast approaching, and this season will feature a major revamp! The changes we’re making to the format are designed to increase competition and reward progress, while ensuring everyone is playing at the level they deserve. Read on for details!

Why are we making changes?

The old format suffered from some particularly frustrating gripes, which we felt hindered the integrity of the competition.

Firstly, several teams would sign-up and then go inactive or be unable to fulfil their fixtures, meaning other teams lost out on precious game time. This resulted in too many default wins, teams wasting valuable preparation time and having to wait ages for matches.

This also contributed to a feeling of there being ‘dead’ groups. This, alongside a once-per-season calibration, meant that groups would be left unbalanced. Having one team run away with it thanks to being stronger or by benefitting from default wins is not something we want to happen with such frequency.

Finally, the loose scheduling of the League matchdays would often feel drawn out, with long periods between games meaning it was often a slog from start to finish.
This also meant that the competition suffered from what could be perceived to be a lack of priority among teams, who saw it as just ‘fitting in’ around other things. We want teams to be hungry to win and to climb the ladder in the joinDOTA League, so changing the scheduling structure became a priority.

Now we’ll explain the general idea of the changes — our solution to the above — and how the tournament looks once they are fully implemented.

Premier Division

The only division not undergoing significant changes, the Premier Division remains largely as it was in joinDOTA League Season 14.

Two groups of five teams will do battle in a round robin format, with the top four teams overall advancing to the Finals.

The bottom team from each group will automatically drop to Division 2 Upper for the next season, while the fourth-placed teams in each group will drop down and contest Phase 3 of Division 2 Upper — a kind of promotion/relegation playoff.

The remaining teams hold their position in the Premier Division.

A major change to the Premier Division is that we will be staggering when the regions take place. Instead of having all three take place at (roughly) the same time, drawn out, we will be running them consecutively.

This means that one region’s Premier Division — both Group Stage and Playoffs — will be completed before the next region begins, for a more compact tournament that holds the attention better.

The Premier Division will take place during the same time frame as Phases 1 and 2 (see below for details on phases), with no Premier Division activity in Phase 3.

Division 2 (and lower)

There are two primary changes to the joinDOTA League going forward — the introduction of sub-divisions, and the introduction of phases.
Firstly, each season will be split into four ‘phases’, which are explained below.

Secondly, from Division 2 downwards, each Division will be split into sub-divisions — Upper, Middle (where needed) and Lower.

These will each act as its own mini-league, with promotion and relegation possible over the course of the season. Teams can either move up, down, or hold their position, depending on the division and the phase.

The exceptions to this structure are:

  • there will be no Middle sub-division in Phase 1 of Division 2.
  • between Division 3 and the lowest division, there will be only two sub-divisions in Phase 2 instead of three. For example, if there are six numbered divisions (2,3,4,5,6,7), then only 2, 3 and 7 will have a Middle sub-division in Phase 2.
  • there is obviously no relegation from the lowest division.

Each season will be split into four phases.

Phase 0” is the Calibration Phase. This is a short weekend tournament near the end of the sign-up period, designed to ensure teams are playing at the right level.
While a team cannot end up at a lower level than their previous season’s result, doing well means they will start the season placed higher than before.

Phase 1 sees teams split into groups of 4. The number of groups is dependent on the number of sign-ups and how many teams qualify for each sub-division.

A round robin format sees teams play a match against each of the other teams in their group in a three-week period, with a fourth week reserved for any tie-breakers that may be needed.

At the end of the phase, teams are either promoted or relegated accordingly.

Phases 2 and 3 are largely the same, with teams split into groups of 4 in each sub-division and games played out in the same round robin format.
Promotions and relegations happen at the end of each phase, with results at end of Phase 3 carrying over to the following season.

How will Season 15 work?

Any complete restructuring takes time, and this means that the coming season will act as a bridge between the old format (Season 14) and the new (Season 16). As such, things will be a little complicated to understand.

This means that there will be no Upper or Lower sub-divisions in Phase 1 of Season 15. Teams will be divided into to groups, with sub-divisions for Phase 2 allocated according to results in Phase 1.

This also means things will settle down quickly as we move through Phase 2 and Phase 3.

How does this look in practical terms?

In order to help you understand the new format, imagine a team progressing through a season.
This team, let’s say Team DotoN00b, start in Division 3 Middle:
  • They place third in their group in Phase 1, and therefore drop down a sub-division.
  • They finish second in Phase 2 of Division 3 Lower, moving back to the Middle sub-division.
  • They finish first in Phase 3, meaning they start the next season in Division 3 Upper.
  • This means that over the course of the whole season, they have managed to gain one sub-division.

Now, imagine Team DotoLegends, starting in the Premier Division.
  • They fail to make the Finals, finishing fourth in their group.
  • They drop down to Phase 3 of Division 2 Upper.
  • They fail to win that, meaning they start the following season in Division 2 Upper (remembering that there is no Middle sub-division in Division 2 Phase 1).

How will the changes improve the tournament?

These changes have been made with the quality of the League in mind, for all involved.

Firstly, by reducing the number of inactive teams we’ll be able to ensure steady, consistent competition for those teams dedicated to progressing in the tournament and potentially in their Dota 2 careers.

More actual games played means players are improving all the time in a competitive environment, and as players such as qojqva can attest, it makes a difference.
Quicker calibration of teams benefits all players in the long-run.

By implementing a more regular promotion/relegation system through the introduction of the phases, we should see teams reach their appropriate level much faster than previously — when opportunities to advance were limited to once per season.

By having a more short-term target, we think players will be far more motivated to achieve success — which benefits the whole Dota 2 ecosystem thanks to higher standards.

Also, by implementing a stricter scheduling window for each round of matches, group stages are completed promptly and without players having to wait ages between rounds — again helping keep motivation high.

We absolutely believe these changes will vastly improve the experience for both players and fans, and create a more inclusive, competitive League. We’d also love to hear your feedback on the changes!

Why choose the joinDOTA League?

With $4,000 per region to play for, the revamped joinDOTA League is the place for you and your team to test their Dota 2 mettle.

Do you want to prove your talent? Do you really have what it takes to reach the top?

Gather your friends and get ready for sign-ups!