In an announcement that will surprise few, Valve has officially declared Dota 2 will be free-to-play. Better still, unlike LoL, all heroes will be unlocked and available for anyone to play. And if it couldn’t get any better, those in the Dota community worried that the shop will sell items that give players various advantages no longer need to. Valve has made it clear they do not plan to restrict future heroes or sell items that in any way boost a character’s in-game stats or abilities. We have two direct quotes below, but Valve has gone one step further and created a FAQ to address other concerns voiced by the community that can be found here.
Dota 2 will not be a pay-to-win game. All the items in the store are cosmetic, and don’t affect gameplay.
All of the heroes will be available free of charge. We believe restricting player access to heroes could be destructive to game design, so it’s something we plan to avoid.
Valve is definitely building on its experience with the now free-to-play Team Fortress 2 game, and plans to offer a surprisingly wide variety of items for an equally large variety of in-game heroes, which currently totals at 77 of the original 108. So far players can expect to find five parts to a character’s outfit, a reskin slot for the weapon, and an additional slot for a taunt or action ability. If TF2 is any indication to go by the action slot will likely fit future noisemakers, dueling kits, and taunts. Given Valve’s latest announcement it seems even custom voice clips specific to the hero may be another thing added. That said, the game is still under development and configurations for individual heroes could very well differ.
Unlike TF2, item drops will be based on an incremental leveling system, and players can attain experience simply by playing in the matchmaking system. Once they attain the next higher level they will get a new drop of some level of rarity. However, just like TF2 the infamous crates will make a comeback and can only be opened with a $2.49 key, and apparently will give a marginal chance to drop an unusual item. Having to suffer the taunting of sealed crates seems like a small price to pay for a free game, though.
Even after Thursday’s very late update it should be said Dota 2 is still very much under development, and so most heroes don’t even have any items yet created for them. That’s where the Steam Workshop comes in. Anyone can browse or even submit their own creations to the Steam Workshop and receive community feedback on them. Some will even be selected by Valve and added in regular updates as an official part of the game. And just as with TF2, those lucky items that reach the Dota 2 store will return a cut of the sales back to the original creator.
Given the sheer number of heroes and outfit slots involved, it will be a huge undertaking to fulfill even so. But we are confident that it won’t take very long before the community and Valve can indeed do it. Perhaps the only downside to all this, is we foresee a lot of backpack expanders in your future.