Dota 2, Valve's massively popular response to this decade's waning MOBA craze, is angering players with its Battle Pass. Because it excludes those who don't buy in from a long-requested player toxicity buffer, the pass has lowered the game from its longtime free-to-play status to something more akin to "pay-to-enjoy."
Things aren't too positive right now in the MOBA scene, with the developer behind Dota 2's biggest competitor, League of Legends, being recently being hit by an employee walkout over its discriminatory workplace environment. This was preceded late last year by Heroes of the Storm creator Blizzard, who blindsided the game's community and esports pros on its payroll when it cut support for the game without warning. In a painful irony, the noxious cloud currently enveloping these games' developers matches the levels of toxicity that invariably inundate their communities, which follow the general rule of growing more jaded over time with an extra helping of vitriol.
Since MOBAs are notorious among online games for the poor conduct and sportsmanship of its playerbases, it has baffled many players to find that Dota 2's much-needed toxicity filter has been locked behind a paywall with The International 2019 Battle Pass. Battle Passes are nothing new for Valve, with the ever-evolving system dating all the back to when they were first introduced in 2013, with the revenue being put toward the game's world-famous The International annual esports tournaments and continued support for Dota 2 and other Valve games. Previously these Battle Passes have been a source for new cosmetics, but these items have now been joined by features that greatly improve the overall Dota 2 experience, including an experimental Avoid Player feature and incredibly helpful additions to the game's UI that give paying players a mild advantage over those who don't pony up.
Though it may seem deceptively simple to pitch in $10 to opt into the Dota 2's standard Battle Pass and quickly earn rewards, as can be done in other free-to-play titles like Fortnite, matters are complicated by the game's continual goalpost-shifting when it comes to leveling within the Battle Pass. Whereas the majority of unlocks were somewhat easily attainable through consistent play, the ridiculously high number of levels that must be burned through in Dota 2's latest Battle Pass to earn desired rewards seems to greatly encourage buying one's way through the tiers. At $10 for 25 levels and with a whopping 2,000 levels to grind through, many players who already continue to play the game out of simple compulsion will likely find themselves draining their wallets just to make sure their in-game numbers keep ticking upwards.
Developers like Valve ultimately need to make money, but there are clear points at which many games' communities have drawn the line in the past, with excessive grind and anything even slightly resembling pay-to-win being some of the most notorious. If the developer is wise, Valve should announce that their paid experiment of the Avoid Player feature was a shockingly quick success and share the feature with all Dota 2 players. Instead of being shafted by both Valve and fellow players, at least then loyal players could choose to only be targeted by the former.
Source: Dota 2