Alliance will be joined by Na'Vi, Evil Geniuses, Fnatic, Team Liquid, the winner of the MLG Fall Invitational, a winner of a North American Online Qualifier, and one spot to be determined. The event takes place November 22-24 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
"Featuring Dota has been a goal for years and we are so excited that it's finally happening," MLG Executive Vice President Adam Apicella told GameSpot. "Valve has done such an incredible job creating Dota 2 and fostering the community with events like the International, we knew we had to introduce the game to the MLG community in a way that complimented their efforts. We worked closely with Valve, monitored the exceptional gameplay by teams around the globe and conducted a ton of research to build our Fall league structure."
"Most important to us is having an ongoing open dialogue with the players, managers, and community to ensure we are delivering the best experience possible. It is truly a pleasure to showcase the game in our NA League, at the upcoming Fall Invitational on October 18, and now at the MLG Championship in Columbus and we look forward to continuing to build the North American Scene at future events and on MLG Play."
For MLG's first time running Dota 2 at a championship event, the organization has decided to limit the tournament to eight teams including invites. Apicella says MLG sent invites based off of prior results, and thoughts from analysts within the community.
"With so much incredible talent, it was challenging to narrow down the list," he said. "We looked at the recent performances, consulted with Dota 2 experts and our partners at Valve, and ultimately decided on this starting list of teams. We wanted to ensure opportunities for up and coming teams to participate in online qualifiers and to incorporate our NA League play and Fall Invitational. We are working on some other surprises as well."
"Unfortunately, due to the busy competition schedule around the globe this fall, we are unable to hold an EU qualifier that doesn't conflict with other events. That being said, we will plan to hold qualifiers for European teams in the future."
Although faltering at this year's International, the Chinese community is still the mainland for many within the Dota community. Although Chinese Dota teams never venture outside of the country except for the International, Apicella says it's not completely out of the question for Columbus.
"We are definitely looking at Chinese teams and will provide an update as soon as we are able," he said.
Prior to this announcement, team owners and MLG have had meetings between themselves for accommodations of all parties involved. While specifics have not been made public, topics that have been raised previously by the owners have included team logo and sponsor exposure within overlays, viewership metrics, and travel support to the event.
"As part of their planning process for this event, MLG was very accommodating to teams' and players' needs, and we applaud them for that," said Evil Geniuses CEO Alex Garfield. "We were able to have an open discussion with MLG (one which is still ongoing), and we're collectively all looking forward to the Columbus event. We hope that other major tournament organizers around the world will also begin to take this kind of open, collaborative approach to event planning."
Apicella sees only good things to come from this.
"As we are just getting started in the Dota scene, it was very important to us that we had transparency with not only the community, but with teams and players as well. We worked closely with team owners to ensure they are comfortable and excited to have their teams compete at the Championship discussing every detail related to the tournament and their experience with MLG.”
Leading up to the Championship in Columbus, MLG is running the North American Dota 2 League matches through September 30 to determine which four teams advance to the MLG Fall Invitational. The winner of the Invitational will go to Columbus. Matches air at 7 p.m. EST on Mondays and Wednesdays, and at 4 p.m. EST on Sundays and are commentated by the Beyond the Summit team.
Previously MLG announced that StarCraft 2 would not be present at the event. League of Legends, having made an appearance at all of the MLG 2013 events thus far, will also not be appearing in Columbus. Dota 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 are the only two games confirmed thus far.
General admission passes for MLG Columbus are on sale Online for $35, and VIP for $250 which includes priority seating, early admission, and a MLG hoodie. Both can be purchased at MLG's store.
GameSpot eSports will be at the event providing live coverage all weekend long.