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It's been sort of known for a while now, but today Valve came out and specifically stated that DOTA 2 will be free-to-play. And just like Team Fortress 2 these days, the company will make its money back not from game sales, but from hats.
There'll be a DOTA 2 Store available at launch (actually, it's live now!) that will sell clothes, accessories and other cosmetic items. That's it. Valve says "Dota 2 will not be a pay-to-win game. All the items in the store are cosmetic, and don't affect gameplay."
Because of that, all heroes in the game will be free and available to everyone. You'll even be able to get hold of the cosmetic stuff without paying if you feel like putting the work in, as "players who don't want to buy things from the Dota 2 Store will be able to earn them in a variety of ways, such as by simply playing the game, increasing their Battle Level, or by trading with other players."
As someone who paid $15 over my career to Battlefield Heroes for fancy jackets - the only "microtransaction" stuff I've ever parted with real money for - I've long hoped more publishers went down this path, instead of restricting necessary content behind paywalls. Good to see Valve, at least, agrees.
DOTA 2 will also be part of the Steam Workshop, meaning fans can help create stuff that has the potential to end up in the game itself.
Introducing the Dota Store [Valve]
Just in case you weren't put off by the lack of any kind of mention of Valve Software, advance warning of the game's arrival or the complaints demanding their money back, if you see a game called Counter Strike on the App Store, don't spend $2 on it.
Unless you enjoy being ripped off by fraudulent scamsters. In which case, who am I to tell you how to spend your money?
Counter Strike [App Store, thanks unexpect3rd!]
The San Diego Comic-Con is fast approaching, and among the many collectibles that'll be available there as "exclusives" will be this fancy threeA x Valve piece, based on Portal.
It's a variation on the companion cube first shown off in March, only this one looks a little worse for wear. Poor little thing. Best get him warm. Maybe not near a fire, though...
Portal has been a surprisingly prolific source of inspiration for many high quality products, so a short fifteen minute film based on its universe isn’t that big of a deal any more. However, what I love about Synthetic Pictures‘ Aperture: Lab Ratt (as spotted by The Sixth Axis) is how, in making a film based on Valve’s Lab Rat comic, how successfully they portray the evil of GLaDOS.
First teased earlier in the year, Synthetic Picturehaus' amazing Portal film Lab Ratt is now complete and ready for viewing. So you should watch it.
It tells the story of Doug Rattman. Doug, aka the guy who did all the paintings you find tucked behind the walls in the game. It starts a little slow, but once things start to go poorly, the flick really hits its stride.
Lab Ratt runs for 14 minutes, so have a cup of tea handy before hitting play.
Lab Ratt [Synthetic Picturehaus]