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.