Dota 2, Valve’s ‘sequel’ to the popular Warcraft III community mod Defense of the Ancients, has been officially confirmed for release as free-to-play. Valve, who reached a settlement with Blizzard in early May over possible trademark infringements, will also open a Dota Store, wherein players can acquire player-created or Valve-created in-game items.
Despite the aforementioned trademark issue that could have marred the development and release, there is also a fair amount of excitement from the playing community surrounding the upcoming release of Dota 2. Valve studio head Gabe Newell spoke in March about the free-to-play aspect, but also commented that it would come with twist. Hinting that this twist could potentially surround players helping other players within the game, Valve’s official announcement doesn’t necessarily confirm or deny this altruistic player system but instead focuses on ‘Spoils of War,’ which includes the Dota Store as well as the Dota Workshop (through the Steam Workshop).
When the Dota Store – which will offer items created by Valve and members of the community – officially opens, players will be able to purchase items for their heroes. These items may also be used immediately and carried over after the public launch of the game. It should be noted that, while players can get into the game now by buying an early access pass, it is not required if players wish to purchase items before launch. Developer IceFrog said the Dota Store marks the final stretch for the game’s release:
“The opening of the Dota Store is a big part of our final push to launch. With support for the Steam Workshop, the majority of the items made available on day one were created and being sold by members of the community. By making the game Free to Play, we hope to give gamers the ability to decide how – and how much – they want to invest in the game.”
Free-to-play always brings up interesting questions, and the Dota 2 team is attempting to ward off concerns by communicating with players ahead of time. In their announcement today, the Dota 2 team has stated that all items in the Dota Store will be cosmetic and will not affect gameplay. They have also clarified that all heroes will be free to players, feeling that unnecessarily restricting access to certain ‘purchase-only’ heroes “could be destructive to game design.” A full list of FAQs can be found here.
Ranters, are you excited about the imminent launch of Dota 2? Will you be actively participating in the Dota Store and Workshop?
Dota 2 will be released later this year for the PC and Mac.
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