Vlambeer is selling Nuclear Throne via Twitch and thinks you should buy it there

Hearthstone review

World of Tanks 9.0 throws players back in time with a Historical Battles mode

Dota 2's free-to-play twist: could being nice really bring down costs in Dota 2?

With Team Fortress 2 being a hugely successful payment experiment, Valve are now planning to make Dota 2 their first original free-to-play title. There are no rules when it comes to free-to-play, which means each game has to make them up as they go along. While you can expect to get the game for free, Valve's Gabe Newell has stated their model will have "have some twists". I think I know what one of those twists is.

The most direct example comes in an interview with Develop where he stated: "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. 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."Dota 2 has a way of collecting player-driven data. Click on any player's name in the menu, be it on your friend's list or the chat channels in the menu screen and you'll be given a number of interaction options: because they're all so derivative, "invite player to group", "report player", etc. But the most important addition there is "commend player". "Commend"? How exactly does that work? What sort of virtual back-slapping can you get into? I clicked on a friend's name and selected it. Here's what you get. 



The options are split into four categories: "Friendly: I think  they are amiable", "Forgiving: I think  they are quite forgiving", "Teaching: They are a good teacher", "Leadership: They are a good leader". Notice how they all tie into interaction: it's more than "This is a nice person" or "they play the game well", it's driven by how they treated you. 
These votes pop up on their profile as well: the number of commendations is fully visible on their Dota 2 profile page. 

The negative "Reports" do not, though. But they do have the same granularity of responses. You can report "Text Abuse: They were abusive in text chat", "Voice Abuse: They were verbally abusive", "Intentional Ability Abuse: They intentionally used abilities to the detriment of their own team", and "Intentional Feeding: They intentionally died repeatedly to hurt their own team". I worry about being terrible and that last one coming back to haunt me.
So are Valve looking to tie in the costs of free-to-play in Dota 2 to how the community reacts to you? Is it feasible? It's a tricky thing to get to work: it's player-driven, so it needs input from the community. Even the few seconds it takes to click those screens might be too much for some people to care about. But this is a system that needs emotive decision making: it can't really be read by the PC watching how you play. 

That said, it's a community that's already huge, regularly in the top-five games on Steam, and it's not even available generally, so maybe a low yield of clicks is all it needs to benefit? A free game really only need between 3 and 7% of players to pay in order to run at a profit, so perhaps those numbers correlate? It would be a bold move, particularly given that the Action RPG style of game breeds a community that's notoriously unforgiving, but then if there's a benefit in being helpful and less abusive than you ordinarily would, it might be Valve solving two problems in one. 

Login or Register

Dota

Valve: "Bad communication is worse than none"

The International 2014 takes Dota 2 to a new venue on July 18

Dota 2 now has four regional leaderboards

Free to Play had 5.5 million viewers on its debut weekend

Dota 2 treasure chests no longer hold duplicate items

Pre-load Valve's Free to Play documentary on Steam now

Dota

Valve believe microtransactions used for evil will ultimately "lose in the marketplace"

Dota 2 makes Perfect World money in China, large-scale launch coming "soon"

A sneak peek at Dota 2's Free to Play Competitor's Pack

Fantasy Dota kicks off with the ASUS ROG DreamLeague Season #1 tournament

Dota 2's very first tie-in promo item set is for Thief, it seems

Valve's Free to Play documentary launching on Steam March 19th

Dota

How Gfinity are trying to level-up UK eSports

What: Valve are apparently beta testing Free To Play, their Dota 2 documentary

Dota 2's New Bloom update introduces new heroes, game mode and balance changes

Twitch viewers watched 508% more Dota 2 in 2013 than 2012

Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 item makers earn average of $15,000 each

Dota 2 works on Steam controller but pro play is “not really the goal”

Dota

UPDATED: We want to coach a Dota 2 team formed from PCGamesN readers

2013 in review: eSports' growing pain and growing gains

DDOS attacks against League of Legends and Dota 2 Twitch streamer end in gunpoint arrest

Dota 2's latest update brings animation changes, bug fixes and a cork hat

Dota 2 now alternately entertains and frustrates 6.5 million active players every month

Dota 2 Frostivus is now Wraith-Night, resurrect the Skeleton King and grab a new hero