It’s pretty safe to say that Dota 2 got most of its large (and growing!) fanbase due to being one of the few high-quality games which is free to play. However, for players who now want to have the best experience possible in-game, that may soon come to an end.
In this year’s Dota 2 “Battle Pass” — a premium subscription that usually offers cosmetics and other optional curiosities to the game — Valve bundled one of the most important features it has ever created. Players who buy the Battle Pass can now use an “experimental” Avoid Player feature, which is supposed to keep toxic players away from you. Here’s a different way to say it: Valve is now charging players a minimum of $9.99 to avoid harassers, or players more commonly referred to as “trolls”.
While many of it’s dedicated players are glad to see that Valve are finally taking more steps to address its toxic player community and protect loyal Dota 2 players from the worst of the bunch, it’s news that comes with pros and cons for the community as a whole. Additionally, many players believe that the new pass is simply just publicly stating that the company sees this as an add-on, and not necessarily as part of the core experience that should be offered to all players for free throughout its initial gameplay. While playing the game solo continues to be a wild gamble, for those players who wish to simply just play a few rounds of casual Dota and relax, they have an equal chance to run into both perfectly friendly groups of teammates in the first round, in the next game and then be forcefully subjected to a team of toxic players the next.
Many players have since argued that it is relatively easy enough already to just simply mute other players — but Valve hasn’t yet taken given players the option and taken basic steps to protect players in a game that has been around for six years and counting. However, the issue seems to be somewhat re-occurring, with many major gaming companies admitting how difficult it can be to monitor toxic players and protect those who need it online. Of course, Valve’s new premium “avoid player” feature probably isn’t even worth paying for in its current state. Players report that the feature merely allows you to express a preference not to play with someone — not a guarantee that you won’t see them in game again, which brings up multiple questions – Is this Valve’s attempt at protecting players long-term or just a minor update to keep people happy while they delay a real interactive option? Why does a feature that should be implemented in every base game cost $9.99? and why should non-toxic players be the ones to have to pay extra to enjoy a game without toxic interactions?
Of course, the Battle Pass doesn’t just give you the option to report toxic players. Players who buy the Battle Pass also get access to a new high-five feature that they can upgrade over time. Aside from that, according to Dota 2, “The International Battle Pass is here to blaze a trail into the heart of the Dota summer season.” and is “Loaded full of exclusive features and legendary rewards, the Battle Pass is your treasure map to mythic fortune and glory as we journey to the conclusion of this year’s Dota Pro Circuit and the ultimate showdown in Shanghai.”