In all of the chaos of the International, it was easy to miss the centerpiece of it all; the trophy. Over on the Dota 2 blog Valve have detailed the impressive Aegis of Champions, the shield upon which the names of the winners for years to come will be engraved. It was made by Weta, they of Lord of the Rings fame, and it’s a mighty impressive bit of craftsmanship.
Originally a 3D model, Valve then sent the files over to New Zealand to be turned into a physical, hand crafted beauty. Weta didn’t disappoint, coming up with a facade that depicts the eternal, cyclical struggle of Dota 2’s Radiant and Dire forces, embossed in “pure electroplated silver” around the central boss of “cold cast bronze”. The rest is leather, almost the origin of the material is slightly suspect, as Valve claim it’s ‘cured dragon’s skin’. While I’m not doubting Valve’s powers of procuring rare goods, that sounds a little far fetched.
The winner’s names are going to be engraved on the silver plating on the reverse of the shield, where they shall be immortalised for all time, or until the competitive Dota scene no longer sustains an International. Which will probably be a similarly incomprehensible amount of time.
Not only that, but the collaboration with Weta extends to them creating a bunch of collectibles for Dota 2 that are available to preorder now. There’s a lovely statue of Axe, but the most impressive are the full size replicas of in game items Butterfly, Demon Edge and Vanguard. They’re rather pricy, coming in at nearly $300 a piece, but they do come with ingame exclusive items. So, y’know, swings and roundabouts.