Dota 2’s Winter Battle Pass Brings Icy Prettiness

Valve have launched the Winter 2016 Battle Pass for Dota 2 [official site], a £5.29 virtual ticket giving you access to… new ways to get more hats for your wizards, I think? Look, I’ll be honest: I’ve played 1,498 hours of Dota 2 and I’m still confused by this. The end result is that you can get new cosmetic items by way of a great many progression tracks and statistics and gambling and… ah, go look. Basically, if you want pretty new stuff, you can get it by paying a fiver then playing a load of Dota.

As with other Dota passes and things, the new Battle Pass adds a whole load of new cosmetic items which are earned by playing and following progression tracks. You get some frivolous bonus goals to move towards while playing, and pick up some extra shinies on the way. Sure! These include a snowy terrain theme, swish new cosmetic sets for loads of heroes, new taunt animations (including Venomancer dancing with a banana – look, it’s an in-joke), extra emoticons, effigy blocks to make statues, sparkly particle effects, special special effects, and plenty others. Some things are given immediately to everyone who buys the Pass, but most are wrapped up in a sprawling mass of progressions systems.

Following Quests along three Paths–support, solo, and carry–will unlock different fancy sets, with Community Goals to unlock alternate styles for each. You can also wager virtual tokens on games you play to win bonus Battle Points which will boost your Battle Level. And then there are winter Achievements giving more Battle Points. And raising your Battle Level can give you spins on Rylai’s Wheel of Winter Blessing to get more… stuff. I don’t know. Also extra Daily and Weekly Challenges and… the Battle Pass also includes the 2016 Shanghai Major Compendium which will track the tournament and give more opportunities for Battle Points and oh god I don’t know.

Hats. That’s it. You get hats. All of this is basically new ways to get wizard hats and make numbers go up. OKAY? And that’s fine! It’s fine! If I were still playing regularly, I’d buy one myself. It’s all just… so many overlapping systems.

If you like wizard hats and bigger numbers, the Winter 2016 Battle Pass will give you them for £5.29/$7.99. You can buy it here.

Oh, and a small patch with non-Battle Pass changes arrived yesterday too. Now a Conduct Summary can tell you what other players think of you, performance is improved, and… read the changelog if you want to know it all.


  1. int says:

    Holy courier. That’s a long ass update link to

    I wonder if Valve has now completely forgotten L4D3, I mean Portal 3, no! I mean TF3. Wait! Of course I meant Ricochet 2.

  2. The Sombrero Kid says:

    With this 4 majors a year thing, Valve have just killed my enthusiasm for the game. Coupled with an increasing emphasis on gambling, it feels like Valve have turned what was my multiplayer game of choice into “betfair:the game”.

    Valve are the Rolf Harris (not the paedophile stuff, I can’t think of another example of the phenomenon, sorry) of game development, they just can’t leave their games alone, they keep at them until they alienate the players entirely.

    • Derman says:

      I have no idea how that stuff really affects your experience in any way. Sure it might be annoying when you get this pop-up when you launch the game the first time after a patch and they advertise their chests/whatever in the front page but I don’t see anything wrong with that, as long as they keep the game itself free to play and paying doesn’t give you any clear advantage over others. They have to keep the game running somehow.

      I really like the changes valve has been making to the game lately, especially the new low-priority and punishment systems. I can’t even think of anything they’ve done lately that has ruined my enjoyment in any way, aside from some UI annoyances, which they actually fixed in the latest patch.

      That’s just my take on that though, I can’t really force you to ignore the stuff you find distracting. I play the game for the gameplay and depth, not because of the hats. They are just a bonus.

    • sonson says:

      DOTA’s the most blanaced and polished that it’s been in my 1000+ hours of it, it’s in a very solid place right now. More heroes show up and are viable in matches than before, game looks and feels great, very stable. It wasn’t fun during the Reborn era but I think that’s been smoothed out.

      For all the griping about betting and challenges affecting the games, I don’t think it affects the win rate percentage in anything approaching even a minor way. The fact is you still have to win to get counters and points, so it’s not like you can play the game solo without thinking about participating. Or you can, but it’s pointless because you won’t get anything for it.

      • Banyan says:

        I agree. I took a few months off after the Reborn debacle, but have been playing a lot recently. The number of “meta approved” heroes seems larger than ever.

        I also don’t understand the attitude that someone else’s cosmetics ruin your game. If someone wants to buy shiny hats and higher meaningless numbers, who cares? Seriously.

  3. fabronaut says:

    pretty smart of Valve to release these regular “pass” updates. it’s a brilliant way of getting me to throw a few more bucks at the game. I’m relatively frugal with my gaming dollars, but by splitting my transactions into small-ish ones over time, they’ve definitely been able to garnish more revenue from me than a one-time purchase.

    I basically bought it just for the “oh, what the heck, I play enough of this silly game, might as well support it” notion, and because I wanted to try out the winter scenery! it’s very pretty. :3

    adding the little “accomplish this thing!” goal track system is a nice touch. I like how you can’t just accomplish the goal — you have to WIN the match as well! I assume that helps mitigate a good portion of players just chasing their point bonus at the expense of the team.

    if anything, I kinda wish they’d make it less of a “tiered” path system. I more or less exclusively play support heroes, and the first goal on the list is to rush mana boots in under 10 min.

    I don’t put mana boots on every support hero though, and I usually end up buying a ton of wards / support items, so I often can’t buy mana boots inside the first ten minutes! I’m too broke!

    so I guess my only minor complaint after a brief match last night is that I wish they’d consider reworking the progression list. it probably helps to limit players to one specific, definable goal (rather than “try to accomplish 5 goals in this match, then accidentally lose”), but that goal doesn’t always seem to jive directly with optimum gameplay. (at higher levels, this probably isn’t an issue, but I’m not an incredible player.)

    still, it’s a good way for them to softly nudge the player base in the correct direction. additional transparency regarding the report / low priority system is also an excellent idea.

  4. 2 To 4 Players says:

    Valve is very good at the whole carrot in front of the donkey aspect of gaming, getting their players to crave the promised rewards and then, once they’ve gained it, setting the hook with another carrot.