Fans purchasing a limited edition item, the digital 2014 Compendium, have raised over $4 million as part of a growing prize pot for the game's world championships set for July 18-21.
One copy of The 2014 Compendium runs to $10, with $2.50 of the total diverted into a prize pot for The International.
Each purchaser is given access to a variety of prediction-based games, hinging on the progress of real life pro players, as well as a gauntlet of exclusive online match-ups between fellow Compendium owners, and is rewarded for watching online broadcasts of live matches between competitors at The International.
Like a regular crowd-funding campaign, the rising cumulative total unlocks additional rewards for all purchasers.
For example, at $2 million, three additional loading screens were unlocked; $2.6 million meant that participants could vote on who would take part in The International's 8 player Solo Championship; $2.9 million resulted in the funding of a new game mode that will benefit the "Dota 2" community as a whole; while passing the $4 million mark bestows an exclusive Mini-Pudge courier character upon all Compendium owners.
But most importantly, the rising total increases the intensity brought to bear upon competitors in this year's International, with the best teams boasting professional players and coaching staff, and this year's sum already exceeding the $2.8 million reached in 2013.
With the tournament scheduled to start on July 18, and 15 teams already invited to participate, four ten-team regional qualifier events are taking place in the meantime: The Americas (May 12-15), Southeast Asia (May 16-19), China (May 20-23) and Europe (May 24-27), with winners and runners up both seeded into the grand finals in Seattle.