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Valve is “freeing” Dota 2, so wave goodbye to battle passes

As we enter a new age of Dota 2 following the New Frontiers update, Valve has revealed that it's straying away from content-loaded battle passes.

Valve is "freeing" Dota 2, so wave goodbye to battle passes: A demon woman with flowing red hair wearing a golden spiked crown sits on a throne with huge bat wings protruding from her back

While I hate to admit it, Dota 2 has been relatively stagnant for a while now. Valve’s premier MOBA game has dropped off of the radar a little in recent years, struggling against competitor League of Legends. The New Frontiers update, however, breathed a gust of much-needed fresh air into Dota 2, and Valve isn’t stopping there.

In a June 19 update prefacing the game’s tenth anniversary, Valve looks back at the game’s past, its current state, and how Dota will look in the future. The main changes proposed are directed at the battle pass system, which the devs are deliberately planning to shift away from.

Battle passes are the backbone of Dota’s content, stuffed with cosmetics, in-game currency, and more. They’re the only real content drops we see, but all of that is set to change following the colossal New Frontiers update.

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Having continually placed content in the battle pass to enhance its value, the devs quickly noticed that their sole focus was only on preparing the battle pass, limiting their ability to try new things. This is an issue, however, as Valve notes that “most Dota players never buy a battle pass and never get any rewards from it.

“We made a deliberate choice earlier this year to run an experiment: to take some of the resources that would normally produce Battle Pass content and instead put them towards more speculative updates, including features and content that couldn’t fit into a Battle Pass. While work is still in progress on future updates, the first of these has shipped: New Frontiers and patch 7.33 couldn’t have shipped as they did if we were focusing all our efforts on producing Battle Pass content.

“We’re going to continue on the path that started with New Frontiers,” Valve continues. “This means we’re building a wide variety of features and content for the game, delivered in different ways. We’ll still ship a range of cosmetics over the year, but we’re also going to ship more diverse updates for all Dota players to enjoy.”

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But what does this mean for The International? After all, the money Valve earns from battle pass content trickles directly into the TI prize pool.

“Work is well underway on a TI-themed update to ship in September. The update will still contribute directly to the prize pool, with a focus on the event, the players, and the games, but new cosmetic items won’t play a notable part. This is a significant change from the last few years, so to make it clear that we’re shifting focus towards the event and away from the giant reward line of cosmetics, we’re intentionally not calling this update a Battle Pass.”

A huge golden shield trophy with glowing red magma in between the lines with 'the 2022 Battle Pass' written beneath it

“By freeing Dota’s update and content cycle from the timing and structural constraints of the Battle Pass, we can go back to making content in the way we know best: by coming up with fun ideas of all scales and shapes, and exploring them with you,” Valve concludes, and honestly, this is great news.

I delved back into Dota following the New Frontiers update (I’m a sucker for Muerta) and it feels like a new game. With future innovation on the cards, I genuinely cannot wait to see what happens next.

If you, like me, are excited by this announcement, we have a list of the best Dota 2 heroes for beginners, as well as a rundown of all of the best Dota 2 custom games to pass the time.