Dota 2, the eagerly anticipated action strategy game from original developer IceFrog, has been confirmed as a free to play game - though Valve insists that it won't be pay-to-win.
An official Dota Store has launched ahead of the game's release later this year, and offers items crafted by both the developers and by the community. Those in the beta can use it to purchase items, which can then be carried into the release proper - and it's possible to muscle in on the game now by buying the Early Access Bundle.
"With support for the Steam Workshop, the majority of the items made available on day one were created and being sold by members of the community," said IceFrog. "By making the game free to play, we hope to give gamers the ability to decide how - and how much - they want to invest in the game."
Valve addressed concerns about the game's move to free to play in an official blog post. "Dota 2 will not be a pay-to-win game," it read. "All the items in the store are cosmetic, and don't affect gameplay."
The same blog post confirmed that heroes would all be made available free of charge. "We believe restricting player access to heroes could be destructive to game design, so it's something we plan to avoid," reads the post.
Dota 2 goes up against Blizzard's similarly themed game which, after a trademark dispute was settled, is now to be called Blizzard All-Stars. Valve's take on the multiplayer online battle arena game - or MOBA, if you must - looks to be a more hardcore offering than its rivals.