DotA 2 Maybe Possibly Might Be Free-to-Play

By Brendan Caldwell on June 20th, 2011 at 10:17 am.

Microtransactions + Valve? This can only mean hats.

Valve is already getting its head stuck into the F2P trough, so it was probably only a matter of time before they went from merely supporting F2P games to adopting the business model themselves. Their Head of Marketing Things To People Who Might Want To Buy Them Doug Lombardi was asked by French website Barre de Vie if Valve was working on their own F2P title. To which he promptly said, “Oui.”

He went on to say, “In some areas of the world, F2P games are already paying more than the traditional games. This trend continues for some time and we believe it will continue.”

But which game? Monsieur Lombardi wouldn’t say much more on the matter. DotA 2 seems to be as fair a guess as any, given that it’s pretty much the only confirmed forthcoming Valve release, which is why loads of people are saying it. The French included. Google Chrome’s translate feature also tells us that “microwave transactions” will play a big role in the future of PC gaming.

(RPS note- Brendy here’s helping us out for a few days, cos the old men of RPS need a bit of a snooze. Say hello!)

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83 Comments »

  1. DSR says:

    Hats.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      What about hats that come down to the neckline, so they provide full face coverage as well? Facehats?

    • zeroskill says:

      Facehats sounds like win to me.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Balaclavas for some, burqas for others.

  2. baby snot says:

    Hello Brendy.

    DOTA2 is the one Valve game in a while that I wasn’t looking forward to as it looks like something I would be rubbish at but if it is F2P then I would give it a go as being rubbish at it would only hurt my ego and not my wallet, with the latter being the more important of the two. Long sentences rule.

    • Ziv says:

      I couldn’t phrase my thoughts better than that.

    • studenteternal says:

      hear hear!

    • Calneon says:

      Conversely, I feel I would be at least decent if I played DOTA2 because I currently play HoN quite a lot, therefore I want it to cost money so I don’t have to play with everybody and their mum who downloads the game just to try it out and proceeds to feed copious amounts of gold and experience to the enemy team!

    • DuckSauce says:

      Well said, except I think if the community is the same or worse than League of Legends you probably will get hurt in more than just your ego, but your feelings as well.

      I started with League of Legends knowing not much at all about DotA or anything, did get a liking to it, but stopped because of the viciousness around it, a viciousness(if you google around, shamefully you might even find some dirt on me about that D: luckily not much) that was starting to infect me as well and so I deleted it permanently after wasting several dozens of hours on it.

      So I think I’ll be passing up on DotA 2, even if it’s free to play, though maybe I will give the “singleplayer” a try, which is probably just a tutorial, to see what’s different from LoL.

      Anyway, just a friendly warning, if the community is anything like that in LoL personally I’d stay far from it, unless I could frequently, very frequently team up with friends, because teaming up with friends means suffering through much less venom against you if you mess up than if you mess up with strangers.

    • Calneon says:

      Just letting you know that the LoL community is far better than the HoN community.

    • Ricotta says:

      LoL community is a bunch of children, HoN community is a bunch of jerks. Take your pick…

    • DuckSauce says:

      @Caineon:
      Hence the: “if the community is the same or worse than League of Legends”, instead of same or worse than DotA, just starting at the lowest ground that I know of(which is also bad at the same time)

    • JeCa says:

      @DuckSauce:
      After having played a fair bit of both DoTa, HoN and LoL, I got tired of all of them except for the Leagues since their community (at least from my experience) is the least spitefull and vicious…

      So yea, you might wanna stay awat from DoTa^^

      @Calneon: Just an idea that’s been buggering me since the first time I heard someone say that: If we assume that you always soloqueue, and that you aren’t a feeder, shouldn’t statistically 5 out of 9 feeders you encounter be on the enemy team, thereby slightly favouring you? One could argue that it’s never fun when someone wins because of one incompetent player regardless of who wins, but people always seem to neglect the nubs on the enemy team and only focus on their allies…

    • AdamK117 says:

      I’m a HoN addict but the community focused around HoN or any other Dota style game for that matter is literally atrocious

  3. sigma83 says:

    Hello Brendy!

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Yo Brendawg, I heard you writing fo’ RPS for a little while, take in ez in the heazy.

      Catch you on the flipside B-dawg.

  4. Ondrej says:

    Hello Brendy!
    Valve game = hurray! DotA = aw shucks.

    • Calneon says:

      How dare you! You don’t like Dota? Apparently it’s pretty big and you’re generally a noob if you don’t like it and such. Here here!

    • tenseiga says:

      Hey dota is a really amazing game! and im sure valve will implement an even more super awesome version of it!

  5. limbclock says:

    hi Brendy!

    Valve doing a F2P game

    The PC Users: Yay

    The Mac Users: I hope i get to play it too!

    • feeble says:

      Dota2 should work for macs as well, since its being developed using source

      Would this be the first Dota style game for macs? if so, could be a very good thing

    • Thants says:

      Heroes of Newerth does have Mac and Linux versions.

    • Valvarexart says:

      Warcraft 3 works on Mac (which means that the original dotA also does).
      Heroes of Newerth works on both Mac and Linux.
      League of Legends is being developed for Mac.

      Sorry about crushing your comment a little bit there :P

  6. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    Free-to-play is the devil.

    Yo, Brendy.

    • Calneon says:

      I just hope it’s not like League Of Lol where you have to buy heroes and the more games you play the better your hero becomes.

    • Catalept says:

      You don’t have to buy heroes (with RealMoney) in LoL… and the player level cap is fairly easy to reach. So yeah.

      Personally, I think Riot’s business model is deliciously ethical. You only pay cash if you either want (purely cosmetic) skins or a new champion that you’re too impatient to save IP for. So really, they’re only charging for vanity and impatience :)

  7. Leelad says:

    Maybe this is why Blizzard have been quiet about this.

    Hello brendy, did quentin give you that name? Middle class sounding oik!!

    • baby snot says:

      Please explain the Blizzard comment.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Blizzard? Dota? Ring a bell?

    • jeremypeel says:

      Yay Brendan!

      That does sound like a BlizzLaw move. ‘My client will allow development of the game to continue, on the condition that you ON NO ACCOUNT MAKE ANY MONEY from it.’

    • KaL_YoshiKa says:

      Blizzard has no legal claim to DOTA, not even the trademark which Valve applied for…I’m surprised they got as I thought the League of Legend guys were going to fight it.

    • Valvarexart says:

      Did they get it from the creators?

  8. Tori says:

    Hi there Brendan!

  9. bigjko says:

    Damn Microwave Transactions. They ruin everything, obviously.

    • Leandro says:

      Having to pay tiny sums of money for minuscule details without which the game is nowhere as fun is not my idea of “Free to Play”.

      Also, microwave transactions may cook your testicles if you stay too close.

  10. Faceless says:

    Free to play is a nice thought, but most of the time it’s poorly executed and just a nicer way of phrasing pay to win.

    Guild Wars is the payment model I approve of the most: must buy the game, no monthly fee of any kind, non-invasive microtransactions.

    Edit: Oh, and I think the title in question is TF2. It’s become the test bed for new features – hardware mouse input, coaching (originally announced for DOTA2), etc.

  11. Kdansky says:

    I still don’t see how DOTA with its bug-into-feature design (examples: last hitting, killing = more money (instead of proper resource management like SC), an old-school mana/cooldown system which is just never ever tense or exciting, and relying on AI-controlled creeps which are just boring, plus farming of said creeps which is also quite boring) is a game to look forward to. Someone took out the interesting parts of Warcraft 3 and replaced them with WoW-like grind. Sure, people play it, but it’s still boring.

    Bloodline Champions does it all better, by not bothering with all that. It’s also ridiculously hard to play, sadly.

    • Premium User Badge

      Anthile says:

      I don’t understand, how exactly is Bloodline Champions ridiculously hard to play? I thought it was rather intuitive. That said, I really don’t like the business model of Bloodline Champions. I don’t expect them to throw all their stuff at me but if you want all the characters, you have to pay about a hundred bucks – and that doesn’t even include any cosmetic features. Sure, you get plenty of time to try things out and I guess it could be a lot worse but that’s just not what I want from a game.

    • Kdansky says:

      I find BLC quite playable, actually. It’s just that you need to find a team (which is difficult) or play Solo, which means your team mates can be utter bastard and/or retard kids which makes the whole experience rather unpleasant. I can wholly understand why someone would have trouble getting into it. Gameplay itself is also rather difficult, due to complexity and incredibly fast pace.

      The business model is also quite broken, though buying the Champion Edition (16 fixed BLs + enough ingame currency for one more) is a solid decent solution.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      I am not quite sure what you are talking about with the statements about the DotA mechanics. Last-hitting is a real mechanic in the game, you deny gold to the enemy, thereby gaining an advantage. AI controlled creeps – this is what the lane-mechanic is all about. Don’t know if a comparison to games without that are sensible, as it is a key feature of the game to balance the pushing of lanes and holding back your creeps near your towers.

      The farming aspect is where you may have a point. It takes quite some time to get a proper item setup, although I wouldn’t call it a grind. I haven’t played DotA in a while, so that could have been changed now.

      In the end it comes down to personal preferences (do I want to play that game with these mechanics, or do I not?), but DotA matches aren’t exactly what I would call boring. If anything, they tend to be frustrating because of improper team behaviour.

    • Freudian Slip says:

      Some of the deepest mechanics of Starcraft BW are bugs. Look at Muta stacking for extra splash damage. Day9 clearly says that tactics were built around crappy A.I. pathing and exploiting map control because of it.

      It’s called emergent gameplay.

    • studenteternal says:

      OMG! This person doesn’t like DOTA type games! Quick stop development, we havve been wasting our time.

      In other news! Some people like games others don’t! congress set to have a hearing on this issue later this afternoon.

    • Kdansky says:

      Nothing quite like a good bit of the EVERYTHING IS JUST OPINION-club.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      @studenteternal: Not much to contribute, eh?

      @kdansky: Was that aimed at my comment too? If yes, what are your thoughts in regard to the mechanics?

  12. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Hey there!

  13. Yargh says:

    ‘ello

  14. Kulantan says:

    Hi Brendan.

    Well, DotA 2 would make more sense micro(wave) transactiony than Episode Three.

    Unless they plan to fix the world’s energy problems by harnessing the rage of the world’s gamers if Episode Three turns out to be a F2P MMO

  15. noclip says:

    Team Fortress 2 has basically already adopted the free-to-play model without all that pesky business of actually being free. Most of the money they make on it is from hats, and given that they’re so keen to turn it into a “platform” with all this hat-based third party marketing integration it would certainly make more sense if something that’s essentially an ad service at this point moved to a freemium model.

    • Tomm says:

      The main problem with TF2 actually becoming F2P is that it ruins the trading/economy. People would just set up multiple accounts to idle and get items. If there was a F2P TF2 then they’d have to probably have to disable drops a& trading for those customers.

  16. somnolentsurfer says:

    TF2 has been so cheep so often that it’s basically free to play already. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they were just talking about making that perminant.

  17. inawarminister says:

    Since it’s seems like I’m the sole South-east Asian here (Hello from Indonesia) I just want to say:
    VALVE YOU HAVE JUST SEAL DOTA2 SUCCESS IN AREAS WHERE DOTA WAS PRETTY SUCCESSFUL (Korea-Philippines-Taiwan-Indonesia etc AKA pirate countries –> seriously we copy WC3 cracked daily here in schools, just to play DoTA)

    Now you only need to make sure the system requirement is *not too* high, else the peasants can’t play it. Also, offline LAN please since internet here s*cks *ss c*cks (sp?) (also sorry if I offend someone, but this is truth)

    • Doug says:

      They will hit Brazilian market hard too (well, Valve is already big here, their FPSes are always the most popular FPSes here).
      And I’m glad we will be able to get rid of Garena, I’m tired of waiting hours to get into a room, start a game, see someone quitting, restart the game and repeat for 30 minutes until we can play a full match.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      It is “peons” not “peasants”.

    • rolloutroad says:

      Nope. Based in Singapore here. I can confirm this – it’s not so bad in my community, but in internet cafes and LAN shops the only game people ever play is DotA…and maybe a little counterstrike. That’s dedication right there.

    • Dana says:

      @Squirrelfanatic
      Its ‘serfs’ not ‘peons’.

  18. Teddy Leach says:

    Hello there Inspector Caldwell!

    … Please tell me I’m not the only one who thinks that name sounds awesome.

  19. Vexing Vision says:

    Hi Brendy!

    I’m genuinely curious how DOTA 2 compares against League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth. There’d need to be something truly impressive there.

  20. Premium User Badge

    sonofsanta says:

    Do you really like the name Brendy over Brendan, or is that just what Alec calls you as he forces you to dress up in a pink tutu and dance around prettily for him?

    • Brendy_C says:

      I like the sound of Brendy because it is only one vowel away from being a drink.

      Don’t be silly. They don’t dress me in a tutu.

      They dress me as a maid.

  21. Tomm says:

    Congrats Brendan, you’ve already had your first article ripped off by Luke over at Kotaku ;-)

  22. Initialised says:

    Microwave transactions? Must have been playing too much Robotek

  23. Lagavulin says:

    Actually, the article on “barre de vie” is really making a big guess on dota2. I agree with them that it’s a game that suits well the F2P concept, but still : valve hasn’t confirmed anything yet. I think we will have to wait for august (Gamescom) to get the answer…
    For a moment i thought the title of the article was a real news@valve (at last!)… but no :(
    [PS : if you need somehow a better translation that the one googletrad offers you i volunteer! ^ ^
    French community to the rescue :D]

    • Utnac says:

      Oh god please no, I just want a DOTA game where you buy the game once and get everything, no bloody alt skins or account icons or any of that crap, that isn’t what DOTA is about.

      That wasn’t meant to be a reply to anything.

    • Lagavulin says:

      well, if it’s only cosmetic i don’t see the issue here? The most important thing for dota2 is gameplay.
      plus : on Heroes of Newerth you have that system of ingame store (atl skins, icons …) + the price to pay for the full game…

    • sigma83 says:

      @Utnac or they could structure the model so that you’d pay what you normally pay for a full game to get what you want, and everyone else can free to play it. Win-win.

    • Utnac says:

      @sigma83

      I don’t know if you’ve seen the prices for the stuff in these games stores but they are hideous, we are talking $20 for one custom announcer.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Jubaal says:

    Welcome to the Mad House Brendan, enjoy your stay!

  25. Skusey says:

    Hello Brendan. More cock jokes please.

  26. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Hello Brendy!
    Say, I rather fancy the hat that fellow’s wearing in the picture at the top. How does Corrupt_Tiki put it? Oh yes, facehats. It’s gonna be all the rage, I tell ya.

  27. LuNatic says:

    Will I get a tin foil hat for tf2 with my microwave transaction?

  28. Moni says:

    I’d like Alien Swarm to go free-to-play so it’ll get some new stuff once in a while.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      I distinctly remember not paying anything for Alien Swarm while downloading it. And from Steam too.

    • Moni says:

      I meant F2P as in, it would be something that makes money, rather than currently just something Valve have thrown out from the kindness of their hearts.

  29. Freud says:

    No hats. Community created cod pieces.

  30. Premium User Badge

    tomeoftom says:

    Hail, Brend!

  31. Bob Moron says:

    Good day to you sir.

  32. adonf says:

    Bonjour Brendan. Bondan.

  33. Premium User Badge

    shoptroll says:

    Welcome new person!

  34. Brendy_C says:

    Hello everyone!

  35. wazups2x says:

    No! I hate F2P games!