Dota 2 launch expected next year, beta soon

Gabe Newell doesn't think Dota 2 will launch this year, and the payment model is still undecided. There's good news, though: Valve expects to begin stress testing "a few weeks" after Gamescom.

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As well as showing off Dota 2 this week at Gamescom with a tournament bearing a top prize of $1 million, Valve's also sharing a few more details on its launch plans. While the game will most probably end up pushed into 2012, Valve says that stress testing may begin in only a few weeks.

If you fancy playing in the beta, you can sign up now to have a shot. Stress testing is expected to begin in "a few weeks following Gamescom," Valve told Joystiq. Standard Valve Time rules will naturally apply, though.

After an invitation only-beta, Dota 2 will then go into public beta, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell told Eurogamer. "We'll just go into progressively wider and wider distribution. I don't think it'll be shipped until next year," he said. Dota 2 was originally slated to launch in 2011.

As you'd expect from both Valve and Dota, that certainly won't be the end of it. "With a game like this, you just keep shipping. You add new heroes. You try out new game modes. You are constantly tweaking item and hero balance. It's very much an ongoing thing," Newell explained.

Valve still hasn't decided whether it'll be a regular paid game or free-to-play, like Team Fortress 2 recently became.

"We don't know. We don't have plans yet," Newell said. "The problem isn't to figure out what your monetization strategy is. If you have something with a super careful monetization strategy and it sucks, it doesn't matter."

"The most important thing is to do something that resonates well with the existing Dota players and creates a vehicle for new players to join into the community. That's the hard problem. That's the interesting one to solve."

Valve's Gamescom Dota 2 tournament is in full swing now, with the first day teething problems of lag seemingly solved. Select games are streamed live, as per the schedule. Games are appearing in glorious 1080p on Youtube after they've been played; find them by looking for matches marked "View (Replay)" on the schedule.

So far, Dota 2 looks like a very slick, and hugely attractive port of classic Dota from Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, albeit without the full hero lineup yet. One notable addition is a "player excitement" monitor used to track players' pulse and perspiration, though this hasn't been hooked up for any matches so far. That will be one of the fruits of Valve's long-running interest in biometrics.

Here's yesterday's Na`Vi vs. Scythe match, featuring the top two teams from Group D:

From The Chatty

  • reply
    August 18, 2011 9:00 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Dota 2 launch expected next year, beta soon.

    Gabe Newell doesn't think Dota 2 will launch this year, and the payment model is still undecided. There's good news, though: Valve expects to begin stress testing "a few weeks" after Gamescom.

    • reply
      August 18, 2011 9:05 AM

      LAAAAME

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      August 18, 2011 9:07 AM

      That is really shocking actually

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        August 18, 2011 9:08 AM

        It is but with the amount of other games coming out during the holiday season if if it's FTP it's probably better if they release early 2012.

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          August 18, 2011 9:10 AM

          Yeah this year is super crowded towards the end already. Usually Valve doesn't worry about that stuff but I wonder if they need more time to make sure all of the new Steam features launching with DOTA2 are baked and properly working too. Can't wait

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      August 18, 2011 10:07 AM

      could be an interesting strategy that during a big new years sale they offer DOTA2 for free (just during the sale) and make everything you accomplish get you "free stuff" in DOTA2.

      Then have it paid for 6 months to a year and go FTP full time.

      That is assuming it is done in time for a big new years sale

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      August 18, 2011 10:12 AM

      soo this means EP3 is 2013

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        August 18, 2011 12:44 PM

        1) There probably is no Episode 3.
        2) DOTA 2 probably has zero bearing on Half-Life 3's release.

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          August 18, 2011 1:17 PM

          They waited way too long for Ep3 imo. The Source Engine is gonna be looking dated as hell once Rage and the next gen Unreal Engine 3 games come out.

          There probs wont be an "Episode 3", it'll just be Half Life 3 on a new Valve engine. I'm calling that shit right now.

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            August 18, 2011 3:46 PM

            Valve stated they are not creating a new engine.

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              August 18, 2011 4:01 PM

              Something tells me they are

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                August 18, 2011 6:14 PM

                Ok. Something tells me they are doing exactly what they stated: constantly iterating on Source.

    • reply
      August 18, 2011 11:15 AM

      Everything I see DOTA I think on Day of the Tentacle.

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      August 18, 2011 11:18 AM

      Yep, beta testing is going to take a while. Matchmaking needs to be nailed down and stress testing will be huge. Not surprised at all.

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        August 18, 2011 11:19 AM

        Payment model information is surprising, but I'd say a better than 50% chance of F2P.

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          August 18, 2011 11:40 AM

          Nope. I think it'll launch within 9 months of closed, invite-only beta testing @ $20-$30 per account. Then go F2P within 6-12 months of release. Nearly all of their titles follow a similar pricing method since the release of L4D.

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      August 18, 2011 11:18 AM

      If the game is ready for a 1 million dollar tournament, it's ready for release!

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        August 18, 2011 1:36 PM

        Watching the stream the animations look kinda stiff and the melee and ranged racks are just rocks, doesnt look like its ready, they should have just done a nice private tourney with the top teams testing it out in alpha and let those teams go out and create buzz on forums and such.

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      August 18, 2011 11:57 AM

      Please don't' be F2P, please don't be F2P, please don't be F2P...

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        August 18, 2011 1:45 PM

        I don't understand. It's the same game, so why do you care if it's free or not?

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          August 18, 2011 1:49 PM

          I want to be able to use whatever I want, whenever I want without being nickel and dimed for it.

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            August 18, 2011 2:02 PM

            so, a prayer of "Please let me pay (details here) for everything, Please let me pay (details here) for everything, Please let me pay (details here) for everything" might be more accurate?

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        August 18, 2011 2:16 PM

        I think its going to be interesting if it is F2P. This will anger so many longtime dota fans bBecause they are used to being able to pick whoever they want so they can counter pick the other team Without this ability, I can see a shitstorm go down.

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          August 18, 2011 2:17 PM

          If they go F2P it doesn't mean they'll use the same "buy individual heroes" system that LoL does.

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            August 18, 2011 2:17 PM

            how much is it to buy everything in LOL? like... a shitton?

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              August 18, 2011 2:31 PM

              It would depend on what you mean by "everything". I'll assume you aren't talking about skins.

              It would cost an assload if you were to buy them all with cash off the bat. But you do earn currency that can unlock heroes just by playing the game, so someone who plays hundreds of games wouldn't need to buy them all wish cash.

              But even them, yeah it would be a lot. I think over the life of the game I've spent like $200 on it? Worth it to me because I've put more hours in to LoL than pretty much any other game.

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                August 18, 2011 2:41 PM

                Overload, can you share some tips? I've been trying to play blitzcrank and I always seem to be behind both in money and levels. He's like a tank that isn't that great of a tank. I'm not exactly sure what his role should be.

                I do play fairly aggressively, and need to be a little more patient, but any tips you could give a newbie would be absolutely great. Also, who are some of your favorite heroes?

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                  August 18, 2011 2:46 PM

                  He's tank-lite. He's an initiator and ad/ap nuker. Grab->punch->silence nuke works well. He works well aggressive, but you need a team to back you up and you need to pick the right moments to run in.

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                    August 18, 2011 2:47 PM

                    how does silence work? I did't know he had a silence ability....

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                      August 18, 2011 2:51 PM

                      It's his ult.

                      (Active): Blitzcrank can activate this ability to deal a huge amount of magic damage to nearby enemies and silence them for 0.5 seconds.

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                        August 18, 2011 3:10 PM

                        oh! I didn't see that for some reason. I though it just damaged people. Cool!

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              August 18, 2011 3:08 PM

              from day 1? Over $250 same with HoN's new free play. Most people will scoff at this saying you can earn heroes for free, but that's a LOT of heroes and a lot of playing. Dota has strategy in picks. LoL on the other hand doesn't matter, there is almost no strategy and you can pick the SAME heroes as the other team.

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                August 18, 2011 3:38 PM

                Oh come on. There is a ton of strategy in LoL picks, and if you're talking about serious play then no, you can't pick the same heroes as the other team; it's draft just like dota and HoN. All tournament games are draft, and all ranked games are draft.

                There aren't a lot of hard counters in LoL like Dota has, which is a matter of opinion if that's better or worse, but there is definitely a ton of strategy in creating a balanced team that counters the enemy picks.

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                  August 18, 2011 3:54 PM

                  You can pick a mirror team = no strategy to pick. It's essentially Terran v Terran matchup. It doesn't matter because you both picked the same people. If you add rules on top like "No duplicate picks" then you can say there's a little strategy, but i mean come on, it's LoL

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                    August 18, 2011 4:04 PM

                    Did you not see the part where I said you can't pick a mirror team?

                    You are just 100% factually incorrect. You cannot pick the same champion as an opponent. It's the exact same as HoN and DotA's draft modes.

                    4 total bans, then a standard 1-2-2-2-2-1 (I think) draft

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                      August 18, 2011 4:05 PM

                      I'm not talking about tournament mode I'm talking about normal mode.

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                        August 18, 2011 4:16 PM

                        You can play DotA and HoN in blind pick mode as well, can't you? All of these games have multiple different hero pick options.

                        Just because a mode exists that is not identical to the mode that you prefer to play (which also exists) you're saying the whole game is shit?

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                      August 18, 2011 4:18 PM

                      hey OverloadUT, check your SM ... you should have something from me this time

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                        August 18, 2011 4:25 PM

                        Yes! I got it and read it last night. I actually want to respond with a few thoughts, but it was very useful! We're live recording episode 2 tonight, and when we process it I will take your advice of cutting out the brainstorming segment

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                          August 18, 2011 4:39 PM

                          cool & great, I just wanted to make sure you got it after the shack ate the last one (or something)

              • reply
                August 18, 2011 4:28 PM

                There is no mirror pick in ranked.

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          August 18, 2011 2:18 PM

          ^^^
          The big turn off for LoL for me is not being able to properly pick teams with synergy. People just go with what they have

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          August 18, 2011 2:51 PM

          I'm assuming they would sell a bundle of characters, kind of like what you can do in LoL if you want.

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        August 18, 2011 2:21 PM

        LoL has probably the best implementation of F2P I've seen. Hard to take issue with it, I'd be fine if DOTA2 was like that.

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          August 18, 2011 2:23 PM

          Works fine for the LoL community. But people wouldn't want to see limited character selections in DOTA

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          August 18, 2011 2:36 PM

          I think you can take plenty of issue w/ it (and this is coming from someone who quite enjoys LoL).

          Negative effects of LoL limited character model:
          - Tons of mirror matches of current week's F2P characters
          - Expensive characters tend to rape in pub games because no one knows wtf they do (unless they were recently free for a week)
          - New players get attached to a hero only to find out he costs 6200 IP (a couple weeks of games for a newbie worth unless you drop $$$) to use after his free week

          Given how much they are catering towards existing DOTA fanbase, limiting hero selection like LoL seems very unlikely.

          • reply
            August 18, 2011 2:38 PM

            - Expensive characters tend to rape in pub games because no one knows wtf they do (unless they were recently free for a week)

            Not true, dude, not true. New characters maybe. Not expensive characters.

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              August 18, 2011 2:40 PM

              It's been true in my experience. I'm not relating cost to power, just that high price = less commonly seen = more opportunity to dominate via unknown abilities to some players

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                August 18, 2011 2:53 PM

                I'm guessing that happens more often in lower level games. I see Lee Sin, Noct, Maokai, Cait, Malz, Vlad all the time.

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        August 18, 2011 3:09 PM

        iawtp. F2P where you have to buy heroes is bull and I cannot imagine Icefrog letting this happen. F2P with microtransaction skins and "hats" or whatever is a different story...

    • reply
      August 18, 2011 12:40 PM

      WTF OMG!!

      I really hope I get into the beta....

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      August 18, 2011 1:22 PM

      curses. I was really looking forward to this filling some gaming void.

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      August 18, 2011 2:06 PM

      If they don't go for F2P microtransactions a beta could possibly lose them a descent chunk of sales from people who are just curious in comparing it with their MOBA game of choice, or would buy it but then be driven away by gameplay

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      August 18, 2011 2:13 PM

      can't believe people can just keep playing this same game for so many years.. this just a rehash of the original..

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        August 18, 2011 2:15 PM

        so? what are the numbers on original CS and CS:S again? give the people what they want

      • reply
        August 18, 2011 2:16 PM

        People do the same with FPS's.
        This at least has more variables between matches with different heroes and team-setups.

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        August 18, 2011 2:34 PM

        That will certainly never work!

        /loads starcraft2

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          August 18, 2011 2:36 PM

          Starcraft 2 is actually a new game though.

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            August 18, 2011 2:39 PM

            Totally, brand new experience.

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            August 18, 2011 2:41 PM

            Pretty significantly at that. This really is a straight re-skin of DOTA.

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              August 18, 2011 2:56 PM

              dota2 is adding all the things dota desperately needs. matchmaking, ranking, leaver protection, better controls


              that's all it needs to be incredible. other shit will be added later

              • reply
                August 18, 2011 3:09 PM

                But it's still the same game. The stuff you mentioned has nothing to do with gameplay, it just makes it more convenient.

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                  August 18, 2011 3:57 PM

                  it does have a lot to do with gameplay. because if you tried to play dota right now, you can't get in a goddamn half decent game. you seriously can't. and the controls sucking ass in dota make a big difference

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                  August 18, 2011 4:32 PM

                  Yeah they do.

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                    August 18, 2011 4:32 PM

                    I meant they do have a lot to do with the gameplay.

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                    August 18, 2011 4:46 PM

                    No, they really don't. You have a better gameplay experience, but it has nothing to do with gameplay itself.

          • reply
            August 18, 2011 2:44 PM

            lol

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          August 18, 2011 2:44 PM

          More like /loads Counter Strike: Source

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            August 18, 2011 2:54 PM

            Much better analogy. SC2 is very different from Brood War, while CS:S and DOTA2 are both much closer ports of the originals

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        August 18, 2011 2:40 PM

        It's because of the number of heroes. You can cycle through them all and there's too many to ever get bored of playing. There's also enough items and different builds that you can keep trying new things for even heroes you play all the time.

        Combine that with the dynamics of 5-person teams and interactions between hero abilities and you've got new stuff going on practically every game.

      • reply
        August 18, 2011 2:56 PM

        You do realize the game hasn't stayed static for 6 years, right? It's changed dramatically.

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        August 18, 2011 3:09 PM

        lol do you know how many people still play CS1.6 and CS:S...

      • reply
        August 18, 2011 4:30 PM

        OH NO!

    • reply
      August 18, 2011 2:31 PM

      They said open beta this fall after invite-only beta.

      Open beta for this game is the equivalent of a full release, not like people are going to have to actually wait until 2012 to play.

      • reply
        August 18, 2011 4:15 PM

        Hopefully it's a long beta until release then. That would be awesome!

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      August 18, 2011 3:05 PM

      can.not.wait.

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      August 19, 2011 9:23 AM

      "Valve still hasn't decided whether it'll be a regular paid game or free-to-play, like Team Fortress 2 recently became."

      Not again *grimace*, loved counter strike till valve started marketing and charging for it... innovation+fun seems to disappear quickly when $$$ get involved. So why is it that every cool free thing that becomes popular, gets bought and infested by some corporate company? while also losing what made it cool to me in the first place! sigh... well, i suppose at the end of the day its just another copy of a good idea anyway.

      (For what its worth I do like valve + their games, but the remade alien swarm ran like garbage on my p.c. and didn't look that much better than the original. -which ran perfectly... just a little frustrating.)