DotA 2 Launches This Summer
It's funny to be writing this, considering that DotA 2 has been a permanent fixture in thousands of Steam accounts for well over a year now, but DotA 2 will officially launch later this year. It's currently in open beta, although people are selling their keys for less than ten cents in many cases, so its release status is cloudy at best.
Those of you that didn't want to buy, have no friends from whom to grab a code or just haven't been interested until now will be happy to know that DotA 2 will be available, free-to-play, in the Summer.
It's been a long time getting to this point, and not just because of the long beta period. The open beta came in 2011 after extensive closed beta testing and before that the infamous Blizzard/Steam lawsuits kept the name "Defense of the Ancients" in the headlines. We've yet to hear any more from Acti/Blizzards take on the genre - now called Blizzard All-Stars - but DotA 2 seems to be going from strength to strength. It's fun to play, there's plenty of guides for new players and the community is generally very friendly.
Although the only confirmed territories for the launch are the US and EU, expect official rollout to happen over time (and unofficial rollout to happen far faster). The game will be entirely free-to-play and is likely to have pride of place on the Steam dashboard for quite some time. Although no single date has been confirmed, Doug Lombardi told Gamespot that it'll be available to players ahead of The International. That means early August at the very latest.
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