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Valve: DOTA 2 is free-to-play "with a twist"

Newell suggests "valuable" players will get special treatment.

Forthcoming strategy sequel DOTA 2 will be free to play, but "with a twist", according to Valve boss Gabe Newell.

Speaking in an interview on the Seven Day Cooldown podcast, Newell explained that Valve is attempting to put a fresh spin on the free-to-play model.

"It's going to be free-to-play - it'll have some twists, but that's the easiest way for people to think about it," Newell said.

He didn't offer specifics as to exactly how it will work when the game launches, but hinted that players who are "valuable" to the community might get some kind of special treatment.

"The issue that we're struggling with quite a bit is something I've kind of talked about before, which is how do you properly value people's contributions to a community?

"We're trying to figure out ways so that people who are more valuable to everybody else [are] recognised and accommodated. 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 recognise and reward people who are doing things that are valuable to other groups of people."

Newell offered players who help train up novices or act as guides as examples of those who might be singled out.

The Valve founder has indeed discussed this issue before. Back in May 2011, he argued that "jerks" who sully the game experience for other players should be charged more for a title.

"Some people, when they join a server, a ton of people will run with them. Other people, when they join a server, will cause others to leave," he said at the time.

"We should have a way of capturing that. We should have a way of rewarding the people who are good for our community.

"So, in practice, a really likable person in our community should get DOTA 2 for free, because of past behaviour in Team Fortress 2. Now, a real jerk that annoys everyone, they can still play, but a game is full price and they have to pay an extra hundred dollars if they want voice."

There's still no word on exactly when DOTA 2 will be available, though it is expected out some time this year. See our DOTA 2 preview for more on how the game is shaping up.

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Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.