Dota 2 is set to be free-to-play with microtransactions, but Valve is trying something new for this iteration centered on rewarding players that contribute to the community. The company has talked about skilled players serving as "coaches" since its announcement, and this seems like an extension of that idea.
"We're trying to figure out ways so that people who are more valuable to everybody else [are] recognized and accommodated," Valve co-founder Gabe Newell told the podcast Seven Day Cooldown (via Polygon). "We all know people where, if they're playing, we want to play, and there are other people where, if they're playing, we would [rather] be on the other side of the planet. It's just a question of coming up with mechanisms that recognize and reward people who are doing things that are valuable to other groups of people."
Newell calls this free-to-play with "some twists," but didn't specify the company's ideas for rewarding valued players.
Asked if he was aiming to make Steam into a social network, Newell balked. "If I had to talk about a model, it would be more about how gamers can benefit from a collective action of all the other gamers and there are a bunch of different ways that can occur, whether from things that look like traditional social networking notifications to higher-value activities," he said. "As far as I know, Facebook doesn't have the ability for people to fundamentally modify or edit the underlying Facebook experience."