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Dota 2's International Battle Pass adds player guilds and pause screen mini-games

You shall now Pass

The Dota 2 International 10 Battle Pass has landed, and the ground hath buckled beneath its weight. There is a silly number of new cosmetics and features for those who buy it, and a few new features for those who don't. Everyone now gets to play mini-games during those inevitable mid-game pauses when one player vanishes, and everyone can join newfangled player guilds where you jointly earn cosmetic rewards. Only Pass owners can create guilds, but I bet you know at least one sucker.

I don't meant that. International Passes are mainly about cosmetics and esports, and I've bought them in the past despite not particularly caring about either. The basic Pass costs £8/$10/€9, and 25% of all the money it raises goes to the International prize pool. You know, whenever that happens.

You earn extra rewards for playing, but if this is anything like previous years then you'll want/need to stump up extra cash for the good stuff.

Before we get to the pass itself, though: I really like the idea behind these mini-games. There are three: "Whack-a-Meepo, Musical Chairs, and Hero Hunt". I haven't had a chance to try them yet, and nobody seems to have uploaded footage or described them online. Maybe they are crap, and won't do anything to stop people aggressively un-pausing - but it's worth a shot.

Guilds sound cool, too. Each day you get to pick a Contract to fulfil, like winning a game as a certain character. There are also group tasks which you can all contribute to, like killing Roshan ten times (in separate games) before the ten minute mark. Playing games and completing those objectives earns your guild Guild points, which unlock special cosmetics. Dressing up the same as your pals and working together to unlock new costumes sounds alluring, even to me, a serial cosmetic dismisser. They're also just a nice way to organise games with people who aren't your close mates.

Valve have also teased a "special summer event", which will be available to everyone. Details are scant, but it involves navigating "a labyrinth of trials and horrors". Battle Pass owners will get special rewards, because they are special.

There is far too much included in the Pass for me to highlight it all, so do head over to the announcement page and see what catches your eye. There's a new Cavern Crawl, where you complete in-game challenges to unlock specific cosmetics. There's a new convoluted way of getting cosmetics involving gems and levelling up heroes like in Dota Underlords, and a system where you bet on community matches, and some new pretty terrain, and and and... look, we'll be here all day. Just admire the nice rocks.

I will just say that while everything I've mentioned so far are fun additions for other people that I can ignore if I want to, that doesn't apply to the new bounty system. Pass owners get Bounty Tokens each week, which they can use mid-game to assign a contract on an enemy player. If a teammate other than the contract-assigner kills them, everyone gets Battle Pass points. It's still not a huge deal, but this is the most egregious example yet of the Pass intruding on how people might play the normal game, and could easily lead to frustrating situations where people prioritise a kill over a win. Colour me miffed.

I do like these portals that vomit peppers and footballs. God, remember when Valve removed the Alpine Ursa set for being too silly?

You can buy the Pass in-game, or through Steam.

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