I’m still not fortunate enough to count myself among the DotA 2 beta community, but it seems my chances are growing day by day. Since the initial batch of beta invites went out, Valve’s DotA 2 server list has grown in leaps and bounds, up to the current 5,000+. That number may seem meaningless, but that number has grown from just over 200 servers in a matter of 10 days.
Still, it seems the number of actual beta participants is relatively low compared to the number of interested parties. This is pure speculation, of course, but a quick scout of some major DotA fansites suggests invites are out to 2-3 percent of the interested population. Those numbers are certainly lower than I expected when Valve said it would be ramping up invites every few days.
I am still excited for DotA 2, but I wonder when we’ll see a full-fledged open beta. Any later this year and we’re dipping into some major multiplayer release territory. SWTOR hits shelves in December and Diablo 3 is looming in 2012. I don’t know about you, but I won’t have time for all 3 games. I might not even have time for 2.
I hope you are a luckier person than I am. The first wave of DotA 2 beta invites went out sometime this evening, each player receiving two additional invites to share with friends. If you haven’t checked your email I would highly recommend you do so as soon as possible. If you made it into the first wave, congrats!
Of course it goes without saying that I would owe anyone willing to share an extra friend key my firstborn child. Being that I’ve been asked for the same favor roughly 40 times in the past day, I’d imagine most keys are spoken for. My Steam is “TheWuggler” just in case – feel free to add me for other games as well.
When Valve originally announced that we would see a widespread rollout of DotA 2 beta invites this year, I never thought it would creep up on me like it has. Yes, it’s here. Valve announced yesterday that it would be releasing large volumes of DotA 2 beta invites this week. It gets better. Each invite will come with two additional invites so that players can enjoy the game with friends.
I’ve crossed just about every appendage on my body that can be crossed in hopes that I’ll receive an invite. I’m so excited to get back behind the controls of characters like Techies, Furion, Tiny, Pudge…every time I write one I think of others I enjoyed.
If you’re interested in the beta, hopefully you signed up some time during the International tournament. From there, all you need to do is complete the Steam survey, a link to which can be found at the DotA 2 blog.
Ever since the announcement that DotA 2 would be releasing “as soon as possible” Valve has been leaking beta keys to various websites for giveaways and to fuel the hype machine. A site called Gamersbook got in touch with me because they thought you guys might be interested in their giveaway and, frankly, I agree.
They have 4 keys, all set to release over the course of the upcoming week. One key will go out on each of the following days: Sunday October 9th, Tuesday October 11th, Friday October 14th and Sunday October 16th, all at 18:00 CET (Central European Time).
The rules for entry are simple enough. You have to make an account at Gamersbook.com and add DotA 2 to your list of played games in the player profile. You’ll also need to hook up with Gamersbook on Facebook or Twitter and do some sharing, liking, or retweeting. Last, you need to suggest a new feature for Gamersbook.com related to DotA 2 or come up with a new slogan for the site.
For the complete set of rules, head over to the Gamersbook contest page. Like I said, the rules for entry are simple enough. If you’re serious about DotA, I’m sure you’re willing to spend the 5 minutes it might take to get a shot at a beta key.
The release of League of Legends: Dominion made me wonder what the other big players in the MOBA world have been up to, particularly the good people at Valve. Valve has always been known for the glacial pace of its development, but the word on the street was that DotA 2 would be out this year. Apparently that was never Valve’s plan.
According to an official blog post made late last week, DotA 2 was originally slated for a year-long beta, beginning this fall. During that time, Valve was planning to slowly increase the number of available heroes until it matched the original title and only then would the game be released.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which releasing DotA 2 a year from now would make any kind of sense. Granted, DotA players are a loyal breed, but the options for filling the MOBA need are ever-increasing. As Dominion has shown us, there are also emerging models for arena-style gameplay that stray from conventional base-killing. Also, why hold a high profile tournament for a game that won’t release for a full year? In short, DotA can’t keep MOBA players interested forever. Pushing that interest for another 12 months seems like a surefire way to kill the game.
Luckily, Valve has changed its plans. The new schedule has DotA 2 coming out as soon as possible with the set of heroes that were playable in the International tourney. From there, Valve will be rolling out updates with more heroes along the way.
Weirdly enough, I think their terrible initial plan will turn into a really smart release cycle. DotA 2 will be a tough change of pace for players who never played the original. Even veteran DotA players, like myself, might have trouble adjusting after being away from the game so long. That adjustment period is only compounded by the number of new champions and mechanics a player has to learn. By launching with a limited set of champions, DotA 2 will probably be much more approachable than the version we would otherwise see a year from now.
With Gamescom up and running, the DotA 2 International tournament is in full swing, with teams competing for the first place purse of $1,000,000. This is also the first time the world at large has seen DotA 2, a game that, in my opinion, looks fantastic. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed DotA on a very visceral level. It was somewhere in the back of my mind, but as soon as I saw Valve’s take on some of my favorite champions – Windrunner, Beastmaster, Dark Seer, Night Stalker – I felt the excitement of playing the game again.
I think Valve has done a really nice job with the graphics. Honestly, with as good as DotA 2 looks, I don’t think HoN really stands a chance. HoN’s big selling point up to this point was that it was DotA with “better” graphics. For some reason, though, they changed the names of the items and the champions and made the graphics look all sorts of crazy. DotA 2 actually is DotA with better graphics and, from the looks of things, everything is still the same. I can’t decide if that’s a good or bad thing on the whole, but I’m willing to say it’s a bad thing for HoN
I think the key to quick success is for Valve to release at the right time and the right price. No doubt there will be plenty of current DotA players making the switch. According to the livestreams today, some 1.5 million people were watching the International tournament. But I would like to see a vibrant DotA 2 community, including newplayers. I know a few friends who will be playing DotA for the first time in DotA 2, and it is a very different game. Without a fresh community, those newer players will have a frustrating time getting acclimated to the game.
With the beta just getting started, I could see a DotA 2 launch as late as the end of November. As for price, I’m hoping it’s free-ninety-free, but I also wouldn’t mind seeing a buy-in price. It would hopefully keep smurfs from being too much of an issue and encourage players to be a bit more careful with their accounts. I’m also not sure if Valve is planning any sort of skin system or microtransaction model. If interest is high enough around the game, it makes plenty of sense to do a box cost and then follow it up with microtransactions down the road. Valve could easily make back development costs and then look for more ways to turn the game into a mint.
Did you watch any of the footage? Are you excited for DotA 2 or content to chug along in LoL? Think you’ll be playing both? Let me know in the comments.