Maybe you've spent the last couple of years Doing the Dotes*. You've gained an almost scarily obsessive knowledge on the many intricacies of Valve's wizard-'em-up; and taken QoP to the top, Axe to the max, and Puck to... er, no. For all your successes, spare a thought for those on the wrong end of the queueing system that grated access to the game. Those who've never before had a chance to experience the thrill of sub-grouting a megascamp with a three-man sagwidget**. At least, they haven't until now, as the digital gatekeeper formerly restricting access to the client has today been retired. Dota 2 is available to all.
"We've used this system to gradually increase the size of our playerbase, as we ramped up our infrastructure and improved the experience for new players," write Valve . "As we have recently completed a set of server management upgrades as well as released a huge number of enhancements to the new user experience, we're going to remove all restrictions to playing Dota 2."
It'll be interesting to see if this will spark a jump in player numbers. I suspect that most people who wanted to play Dota 2 already have access, but the promise of being instantly able to try the game might persuade those few people yet to push lanes into seeing what the fuss is about.
One thing of note in this announcement is Valve's reveal of the game's active monthly users. According to them, 6.5 million people are playing Dota 2 each month - which seems like a more representative figure than the easily available concurrent player total. To make the obvious comparison, in October last year , Riot announced that League of Legends was picking up 32 million active monthly users. Of course, with no solid data in the 14 months since then, it's hard to know whether that number has grown, or whether Dota 2's official release has dampened that figure.
*I have decreed: playing Dota 2 will henceforth be known as Doing the Dotes.
**Er, or whatever it is you actually do in this game.