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Dota 2 Crownfall is a new, ongoing story event packed with rewards

Valve reveals its new ongoing story Dota 2 Crownfall, with first act The Markets of Midgate packed with cosmetic rewards and new Arcana.

Dota 2 Crownfall is a new story-driven twist on the free Steam game - Hero Skywrath Mage, his skin turned blue and pink energy crackling around him.

While Counter-Strike 2 remains the dominant force on Steam, Valve also resolutely holds onto the number two spot with its other landmark multiplayer game, Dota 2. Few games can unseat the MOBA, with only brief outpacing from PUBG Battlegrounds and Lost Ark and launch peaks from the likes of Palworld, Baldur’s Gate 3, Cyberpunk 2077, and Elden Ring climbing ever so slightly ahead of it. Now, in an attempt to capitalize on its continued popularity, Valve is introducing Dota 2 Crownfall, an “ongoing story event filled with legendary heroes and unique rewards” that’s available to all players of the free Steam game.

Dota 2 Crownfall is “something completely new that we’ve wanted to write for a while,” Valve writes in its latest update for the free Steam game. “And when we say new, we mean new – a new way of telling stories, offering rewards, and making it more fun to win every game of Dota. And it’s available right now to all Dota players for free.”

The narrative focuses around two Dota 2 heroes with long-intertwined backgrounds: Skywrath Mage and Vengeful Spirit. The pair have just been given some more explicit narrative together courtesy of a new Dota 2 comic, which leads into the new event. Crownfall begins with its first act, The Markets of Midgate, which includes “dozens of new cosmetic sets, taunts, creeps, emoticons, and two brand-new Arcana, one for each of Crownfall’s main characters.”

Dota 2 Crownfall - The overworld map for first chapter The Markets of Midgate.

Once you’re in-game, Crownfall brings you to a new overworld map where you’ll guide the pair through the streets of Skywrath on their quest to reclaim the throne. Along the way, you’ll meet plenty more of the Dota 2 cast old and new, with the option to branch off the map for bonus side quests and even a spot of fishing.

Of course, all of this is in service of actually playing more Dota 2 – so sorry if you were hoping for a way to enjoy the world and lore without having to actually step foot once more upon the Lord’s Pitch and play some rounds of the MOBA. If you do, however, you’ll earn tokens from the games you play, with different heroes earning you different token types that can be used to unlock paths through the overworld map to progress the story of Crownfall and earn rewards.

Valve explains that The Markets of Midgate is “the first act of an ongoing four-act narrative that will span the next few months.” The second of these, The Deserts of Druud, is set to arrive in mid-May. Once new acts release, you’ll be able to play through them immediately, although the developer emphasizes that previous acts won’t be closed off, so you can take as long as you like to explore each of them.

Dota 2 Crownfall - Image from the Valve comic strip of Vengeful Spirit saying "It did" to Skywrath mage.

Dota 2 Crownfall is out now. Valve notes, “All of the rewards in Crownfall’s main story path will be available to all players for free. But for seasoned adventurers who’d like to delve a little deeper into act one, the Midgate Pathfinder Pack offers more map exploration, more stories, and more rewards.” It’s available to purchase for $14.99/£11.99, and unlocks additional sidequests on the Crownfall map with additional treasures, cosmetics, and Crownfall coins to earn, the latter of which can be used to save on other Dota 2 shop items.

As someone with hundreds of hours in Dota 2 but whose interest has largely fallen back to watching the occasional professional tournament or Twitch stream, I have to admit that this more narrative-driven approach makes me curious to return. Whether I’ll find the time amid the busy months of 2024 remains to be seen, but it’s certainly exciting to see Valve trying something new with narrative in one of its biggest games. It might not be Half-Life 3, but it’s notable nonetheless.

Looking for more ways to play? Here’s our guide to the best Dota 2 custom games. Alternatively, if you’re in the mood for other forms of friendly competition, take a look through the best multiplayer games in 2024.

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