posted by NanaKrustofski,
BLAST Bounty Hunt is about to kick off on 9 June. We asked Nicolas Estrup, Director of Product at BLAST, about how you can participate at the event, what he thinks Dota tournaments are missing and what makes the upcoming BLAST event special.

We try to land in between the glory of Midas Mode and competitive Dota



joinDOTA: Why did you choose Dota as the next game to organize a tournament for?


Nicolas: We have done Counter-Strike for more than three years now. Getting something like the best FPS title out there together with one of the strongest MOBA games is just a natural step. It makes sense, especially if you think about that both games are from the same developer. Not sure if the Dota community is aware of that, but in CS:GO we take the game as it is and use all the available data and then change and improve the visual layout for the viewer.

It has massive value for us to work with games where it is possible to use all the data and push the boundaries within the game itself. As a whole, it ended up being a golden opportunity for us to work with the best teams in the world in order to achieve something that will hopefully stand out in a very competitive Dota landscape. Something that feels different but with hints to great stuff that has been done in the past like Midas Mode.


joinDOTA: Is there anything you would say Dota tournaments are missing?


Nicolas: It's interesting when you have something as big as The International just sitting there with its insane amount of cash waiting at the end for those lucky enough and what the ripple effect of that is in the competitive scene. That is why it was such an easy decision that we want to try to tell stories and focus on other things. If we came in with something that looks and feels just like all the other tournaments, we would oversaturate the landscape.

We try to land in between the glory of Midas Mode and competitive Dota. It is always challenging to create a balanced landscape for the competing teams and players, but also make it not monotonous for the fans. It is about trying to bring in a hopefully fresh breath of something different.




Fans can watch the games together on Zoom



joinDOTA: Do you plan to organize more Dota events in the future? And if so, will there be offline events once the pandemic is over?


Nicolas: It would have been beautiful if we all could have been in an arena or venue like in the old days. But we are raising the bar of what can be done online. We measure success with many different criteria, but one of them obviously being that it is something that fans enjoy watching. What comes after that is still in the air. There are so many things happening like COVID-19 or the unknown state of the TI. But it would be foolish to think that we are doing something as big as this and then say goodbye and leave. We obviously have an interest in Dota, but what that means for step two and three is too soon to say.


joinDOTA: Since you can’t host a typical offline event: What were the challenges organising an online event to make it just as entertaining?


Nicolas: The biggest barrier that we tried to break down is how do we get the fans sitting at home engaged. One of the ways we do that is the fan cam. For every single team and matchup, we have a Zoom hangout where fans are free to join. At one of our Counter-Strike broadcasts, it was crazy and a real party. Fans were listening to music together or dancing and celebrating when their team was winning. That is an important part to make it seem like we are together even though we are all apart.

Another massive part is to show where the players are and to make sure we have live feeds so we can get reactions since you see their faces and emotions. We are doing that right now with Counter-Strike so that is already a great test for us.




Why not make a $5,000 prediction game for fans?



joinDOTA: Can you explain how the Bounties work in the tournament?


Nicolas: It was important for us to have a format that was highly competitive so when a Dota fan sees it, he acknowledges that it is a good amount of matches. Then we wanted to add things that would make it exciting for the players since they are fighting for Bounties and money. They are stealing from each other, but this also gets the fans excited.

It all gets tied beautifully together since the event is called the Bounty Hunt with a hunter in-game and we have Bounties in real life that teams can win. The players can be voted for in the prediction games by the fans to select their favorite Bounty Hunter. So then all of a sudden, we have this constant interaction going on. The Bounties are created for the players to engage with, which then lets the talent have more tools. The more we give the commentators to talk about during the game the better.

The last layer is the fan prediction. So why not make a $5,000 prediction game for fans to take part during the tournament where they can make money for free if they do well enough.




Players have to fight for money and Bounties



joinDOTA: How does the dynamic prize pool work?


Nicolas: We took the large amount that would normally wait at the end of a tournament and bring it forward. We split it apart so there is a difference depending on your seeding coming in. Once the matches start, when my team and your team play against each other and you win, you take 40 percent of whatever is in my pot. That is how we're going to get constant fighting over cash, all the way till the end.

On top of that we obviously also have the Bounties which is one of triggers. We still wanted it to be a fair prize pool distribution. Though being top heavy is not a bad thing since the better teams should also win more, the way it works right now is that we could end up with someone on the third place winning more cash just because they won every single Bounty. It took tons of run-throughs and calculations to figure out how to make it fair. That comes down to changing small amounts of dollars in the team’s starting amount.




Those fans who really know Dota are loving it – the others need a way to understand what is exciting



joinDOTA: Fluff: Let’s say you have an infinite budget. How would you design your dream Dota tournament?


Nicolas: Something like we did in London for Counter-Strike, where we tried to create the most intimate studio experience for fans both in the studio and at home. But I would also spend a ton of time and money on trying to figure out how we can convey the game differently so everyone can follow.

Dota has a very steep learning curve, a very long trip up the mountain before you truly know what is going on. But for those who are already up there: They are loving it. The problem is, those at the bottom want to get up really fast so they can also be excited. That is what I would spend money on, to make sure that the event would be entertaining for those at the top of the mountain while also making it very open and interesting for those that are not at the summit yet.




BLAST Bounty Hunt will be the first Dota event by tournament organiser BLAST who is known for their events in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. To find more information on the event, check out the BLAST Bounty Hunt official Twitter account. You can follow Nicolas on Twitter here.

The first matches of BLAST Bounty Hunt will be played on 9 June. Check out the BLAST Bounty Hunt official Twitch channel to watch the games.

Which team are you rooting for in the upcoming BLAST Bounty Hunt?



Photo credit: BLAST

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