Bad news, fans of getting rich incredibly slowly. Valve have disabled the selling of Dota 2 beta invites through the Steam Market. Previously, for a scant few pence, you were able to buy your way into the beta, bypassing the then £22.99 price tag of the Steam Store. But while there are still places to get invites for free, that they're starting to be phased out suggests we're another step closer to the game's official launch.
Dota 2 beta
Dota 2's expansion gathers pace with the arrival of this week's second update. This one introduces the heropeadia, which presents a breakdown of every character's stats, lore background and skills, with short videos of every ability. You can browse it now on the Dota 2 site, or access it via the "Learn" tab in the Dota 2 client.
The grand roster of heroes has also been expanded with two new characters, Luna the Moonrider, who's much more dangerous than she sounds, and Wisp, a glowing ball of light with some unusual abilities. Find out more about them, and absorb the latest patch notes below.
Valve have revealed their plans to support full tournaments within the Dota 2 client. In a post on the Dota 2 blog, the team describe how players will be able to pay for access to live matches and replays that run in-engine. The money raised will be split between Valve and the tournament organiser in a similar manner to the Steam Workshop. This functionality is due to launch later in the week.
The Defence tournament will be the first to use the system, which Valve say is just the beginning of the game's support for competitive play. "This won’t be the end of our features for tournaments, or players, but we think it’s the right first step – helping tournaments become more financially stable helps all the players participating in them."
You can buy early access to Dota 2 right now for £25 in the Dota 2 store, contrary to Valve's earlier declaration that Dota 2 is free to play. On the Dota 2 item shop FAQ Valve say that at this stage "we don't really think of Dota 2 as a beta" any more, but haven't completely released it because they're "working on expanding our server infrastructure" first. However, you can circumvent all that with the Dota 2 Early Access Bundle, which costs £25 / $39.99
Dota 2 is doing rather too well for a game that hasn't been released. According to Steam stats, it's the second most played game on Steam right now, ahead of Counter-Strike: Source, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim and lots of other games that have actually been released. Dota 2 is currently in an ever-expanding beta that's been running since late last year.