Valve has revealed the first wave of Battle Pass features and rewards for the run up to this year's premier Dota 2 tournament, The International 2017. The in-game pass for TI7 mixes up the usual itinerary of rare and exclusive cosmetic items by offering a four player co-op campaign mode.
The loosely story-led mode, dubbed Siltbreaker, will be split into two acts. The Sands of Fate arrives for Battle Pass owners later this month (May), while the final, climactic act, A Vault in the Deep, will launch in July.
According to Valve's synopsis, Siltbreaker will take players of the hugely popular PC MOBA "into the blackest depths of Dark Reef... to battle through a diverse landscape of loathsome monsters, cunning traps, and other lethal terrors." Playing the mode will earn Campaign XP which can then be turned in for exclusive rewards.
The remainder of the Battle Pass is very much business as usual for Valve's eSports darling, with players hoping to increase their Battle Level enough to unlock rare Immortal Treasures, new terrain, taunts, voice-lines, emoticons, cosmetics and more.
There's also a new (frankly adorable) crustacean courier called Hermes the Hermit Crab who receives commemorative shell designs as you level-up. Good luck getting the top Glowing Aegis Style Upgrade for Hermes at level 2,225 though.
To keep players invested in the run-up to TI7, Valve will undoubtedly be planning a smorgasboard of in-game events, with Quests, Wagers, Community Goals and more. Battle Pass pricing starts at $9.99, although there's a level 75 version for $36.99 that offers a head-start. For an additional boost, five levels will cost $2.49, 11 for $4.99, and 24 for $9.99.
25% of each purchase of the Battle Pass and the optional level booster packs contributes to final prize pool of The International where professional Dota 2 teams compete for the Aegis of Champions trophy and eye-watering cash prizes.
Last year's winners Wings Gaming took home a $9.1m from a record-breaking total prize pool of $20.7m - the largest pot of any eSport tournament in history. Valve confirmed in March that the TI7 finals will run between Monday 7 and Saturday 12 August in Seattle, Washington, at the KeyArena.
At time of writing the current prize pool for is just over $2.7m, although this may pale in comparison to the final total which Valve is no doubt hoping will break its own record set in 2016. The tournament, now in its seventh year, will be streamed to millions of fans on Twitch, YouTube, within the Dota 2 client and on various TV networks around the world.