It’s been nearly two weeks since the Dota 2 Store went live, bringing with it a huge amount of community made items, creating alternate outfits for the likes of Axe, Nature’s Prophet, Sven and a few others. And while they are all community made, Valve has done a pretty good job of keeping the items within the theme and aesthetics of the Dota universe. There are no top hats. There are no chainmail bikinis. There are no silly moustaches. Yet.
But future items are going to be made by the community, too, and they’re going to be considered for the game depending on their rating in the Steam Workshop. In two weeks, hundreds of items have popped up, some good, some great and some... not so hot. And they’re all getting rated. Here’s are some of the most Dota friendly, linked for you to vote up, and those that clash with the style and look of Dota, for you to give the big thumbs down.
While it could’ve been a simple reskinning, turning his moss into frosted moss, and his rocks from granite into halite, but ‘gramps’, the creator, has instead extensively reworked the model of Tiny while at the same time keeping him both recognisable and still with a lot of personality. Ice covers his arms, and each different incarnation has increasing degrees of glacial power. Even his beard is made of snow and icicles now, rather than just hanging moss.
Bald headed prick that he is, Anti-Mage is an easy Hero to hate when you’re not on his team, blinking around the battlefield and killing everyone’s mana. Here, ‘Hawf the Super Rad’ has pulled his hood up, given him a mask and a new pair of gloves but kept that distinctive vertical line over his face. He loses his distinctive orange, but with those glowing blades he’s still going to be easy to pick out in a team fight.
Again by ‘gramps’, it just strips out Earthshaker’s normal hair and gives him a mohawk. Looking at it, it seems almost like it was always supposed to be that way, it just works with the character. And it’s so minor a change that it’s unlikely to upset anyone, even if they hate long dead Native American tribes.
Batrider isn’t exactly the most sane, or the most safe of Heroes in Dota 2, and while it’s great that this, again from 'Hawf the Super Rad', gives him a rebreather to keep from sucking in all those noxious tar fumes, the fact that it’s not really attached to anything but air isn’t going to do all that much for the pyromaniac freak. Oh well, at least he’s high enough up that the fumes won’t reach him. At least I think that’s how physics works.
Made to fit both Death’s Prophet and Necrolyte, the Plaguemask from Goddy is a stylised version of the hooked beak that amateur physicians in the 1300s used to stuff with amber and cloves to stave off the putrid smell of death. Which is presumably why Death’s Prophet and Necrolyte need it, because of their obvious body odour problems. Still, it’s a nice looking mask and keeps the tone of the heroes.
That’s the best of the items currently in the workshop, and they’ve thankfully got mostly high ratings, sitting on the first few pages of the most popular items. If all goes according to plan, Valve will bring them into the game and we’ll be kitting out our Tinies, Anti-Mages, Death’s Prophets and Necrolytes with all sorts of pretty gubbins.
Unfortunately this kind of well made, considered item isn’t all that’s sitting high up on the ratings board, as there’s a suite of gotcha, playing for laughs items that grab attention but don’t necessarily have all that much to do with Dota, nor in tone or style. So where you give your upwards thumbs to the items above, feel free to turn your thumb downwards to those below. Or don’t. I’m not the boss of you.
I’m assuming that just because Pudge looks a bit like someone who walked off a horror movie set we’re going to see a lot of these, but it just seems so banally obvious. The ghoul with the hockey mask and the machete, presumably because people feel terrorised when he grabs them with that horrible meat hook of his. No doubt we’ll see a Texas Chainsaw Massacre variant, along with Jeepers Creepers, when the well really starts to run dry.
Because Mirana is a woman, and so was Xena. I’m not necessarily against pop culture references in these sorts of cosmetic items, but even this seems a little bit of a far stretch. And when it doesn’t actually look all that much like Xena’s outfit, instead just a chainmail bikini to turn a Hero into a pinup seems particularly cynical.
Top hats and monocles are just hilarious. And hey, it worked in League of Legends, so why not here? Because Dota 2 isn’t League of Legends, and the top hat joke was a little tired a few years ago. It’s exhausted now.
Perhaps one of the most egregious and sadly popular items in the workshop right now, this turns Invoker from the blonde haired, aloof bastard into a blonde haired woman, which isn’t automatically a bad idea, only instead of having the shoulder to feet robes that characterise Invoker, she’s wearing not very much at all, and her cleavage is basically falling out.
This one is a shame, as it’s clearly very well made, and a lot of effort has gone into it, but where Chef Pudge just about gets through what with him being a butcher, this just goes against the style of both the character and the game. It’s easy to get po-faced about all this, but with Valve placing the responsibility of moderation with the community, we’ve got to be especially strong with our reactions.
This is all opinion, and there are bound to be disagreements, but by and large the community has voiced that it wants to keep Dota 2 pure of the kind of zaney humour and constant pop culture references that permeate Team Fortress 2, along with most of the other Dota-likes out there. That’s why Valve have put this system in place, with the higher rated items getting considered for the game.
Right now, these are the items that deserve your attention, along with a few dozen more. Some are genuinely brilliant, others less so, but in the end it’s all about your opinion, and whether you even care about cosmetic items. They’ll be in your game sooner or later, though, so it might be time to sit up and pay attention.