The wait is finally over — Valve officially launched Dota 2 yesterday on Steam, after a lengthy beta. Hurrah!
Well, actually… the wait is kind of over.
Valve is “rolling out” access to the game in waves, so as not to overload its server infrastructure during the usual crush of players that new games tend to suffer from. Right now, you can “queue up” for the game via Steam and, sometime over the next week or so, you should receive access. The process is detailed on the Dota 2 site.
It’s an interesting approach, to be sure, and — if viewed objectively — should do a fine job of mitigating the server issues that many new online games have during their launch. “Objective” isn’t a word often applied to gamers, though, so it won’t be surprising to see a lot of rancor at this method, which might make players wait for days before being able to jump into the game proper.
Also, from a player’s standpoint, is this approach an improvement over the usual long queues that new games tend to have? Is it better to wait several hours a night for the first week or so of a game’s launch or to be shut out completely for a few days before getting unlimited access?
In any case, it’s an intriguing experiment, and if it goes well — from a technology and player satisfaction standpoint — it wouldn’t be surprising to see other online games adopt a similar approach for their launches.