Seemingly out of nowhere, Valve announced an all-new Dota Plus subscription, set to replace the Battle passes that revolved around the Majors with something that they can “continually add features and content to over time”.
As always, Valve’s latest move has divided the Dota 2 community. Some have lauded Valve for taking the initiative to launch a cost-effective premium service that doesn’t exactly milk players. As of the moment, there’s currently no way to buy Shards with real money, the currency subscribers can use to unlock the service’s various rewards. But many believe that it’s only a matter of time before that happens. There are also those who are adamant that this is a pay-to-win feature; the in-game AI coach makes suggestions based on current trends. This supposedly gives subscribers a significant advantage over those who are not subscribed.
Now that we have had a day to personally to out the all-new Dota Plus subscription, let us give you a gist of what it is and what we believe it means for Dota 2 going forward.
What’s New With Dota Plus?
Before anything else, let’s do a quick rundown of all the new features that comes with Valve’s new Dota Plus subscription service:
A Detailed Hero Progression System — Similar to the previous Battle Pass quests, but with its own twist. Instead of just a select few heroes, all the heroes in Dota 2 will have their own specific challenges, stats, and rewards. Rewards can range from badgets, to chat weel responses, relics, and more.
Dota Plus Shop — A shop where you can spend the Shards you’ve earned via various means on exclusive and legacy hero sets. As of the moment, sets bought via Shards cannot be traded on the Steam market.
Plus Assistant — This is the feature that has got the entire Dota 2 community up in arms. It’s pretty much an in-game coach. It gives you suggestions and information in items, abilities, laning and even drafting real-time. As an added bonus, the information given to you comes with live tracking of global rank trends so you know just how well a certain suggestion is doing around the world.
Battle Cups — Valve has finally decided to bring back the weekly battle cups. It comes for free for all Dota Plus members, while non-subscribers can join for $0.99 per ticket. If you frequently play Battle Cup, the price of the Dota Plus membership is a steal. Especially since winning will give you special emoticons, profile accolades, and 20,000 Shards for you to spend.
Season Terrain — Subscribers will gain free access to whatever Seasonal Terrain is active during a particular season.
For those who are interested, everything that comes with Dota Plus is now available for just $3.99 month. Both six- and twelve-month subscriptions will get a discoutn for signing up. Fixed-time gift memberships are also available.
Is The Dota Plus Assistant Broken?
Of all the features that come with the new premium service, it’s the Dota Plus Assistant that has the community up in arms. Many suggest that it makes the game broken, giving “exclusive” information to those who are subscribed to the service. But while that’s true, such information are already readily available for those who are willing to put in the time, either via datdota, dotabuff and other stats-related Dota 2 websites.
What the Dota Plus assistant is merely simplifies all the stats already available mostly for free online and gives them to players in-game. It’s an added advantage for sure, but not enough to significantly make a difference, especially in higher-levels. Personally, as someone with accounts who mains at a 3K MMR level, but has a 5K MMR account (please don’t judge me, my skill level varies according to my mood), the assistant doesn’t exactly give me much information that I already know prior to heading into the game. But I can see its value for players who are at lower skills levels who generally just dive head straight into their games.
Put simply, the assistant’s role is simply what it’s name says: it’s there to assist. It’s similar to having a coach, only that it is AI-based. It’ll teach you the more intricate details of Dota 2, giving you details about how and why you died, where you made a mistake, and hopefully, how you can improve, but it doesn’t play the game for you.
Ultimately, your skillset still depends on your own skill. The DPA will not make 2k MMR players suddenly play like pros.
Did it Kill Community Guides?
No, it didn’t. The community guides are still available and there for you to use. The community is still free to suggest and make builds. You’re still able to create your own builds if you want. What the DPA does is make in-game item suggestions based on your hero that you can “recalculate” and change anytime. This is a huge help for lower-skill players who generally have a hard time making the necessary item adjustments in-game, but in no way does it kill the purpose of the community guides, which often already make the same suggestions albeit not in real-time.
Will There Still be a TI Battle Pass?
Yes, of course. Do not confuse the Dota Plus service as the replacement for ALL of the battle passes. If you read Valve’s announcement closely, you can see that it is merely a reimagining of the Majors Battle Pass, not the actual TI battle passes. So, yes, sometime in May, we’ll still see the Battle Pass introduced for TI.
Besides, it just wouldn’t make sense financially for Valve not to introduce a Battle Pass for TI. They’ve set record prize pools for TI every year because of the Battle Pass, which nets them hundreds of millions of dollars in just a few months.
I can see why most people will say that the Dota Plus subscription makes for a pay-to-win system. The analytics are useful, especially for low-skill players who only want to enjoy playing the game every now and then and don’t necessarily have the time to do the research to keep themselves up to speed with the current trends before hand. But, for players who already play the game constantly, the in-game suggestions DPA makes is something that they already know because of their hours and hours of experience playing the game.
Personally, the main draw for me are the hero-specific quests. They are a stats and completionist nerd’s dream. I myself have bought the previous Battle Passes never to buy any levels (except for the one-time bundle sold months later) just to complete the questlines and never to touch it again. Though I have to admit that the fact that I never really “completed” the entire thing still gnaws at me at times. But with the Dota Plus service, I can complete everything (given time) without spending more than the subscription fee.
Ultimately, DPA is not a mandatory purchase. Yes, subscribers have a slight advantage, but not enough to give them a sure win. They only have more information. It’s still up to them how they will make use of it and if they will listen to the DPA. The way I see it, it only serves to improve the playing experience, making players better and raising the skill cap.
Have you had a chance to try out the new Dota Plus subscription? What did you think of it? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.