Dota 2 is one of the best games out there, and a shining example of free-to-play done right, right?

Turns out, all is not well in Valve-land, as a recent update shows. The Year Beast Brawl, a temporary event that celebrates the Chinese New Year, lets players add a ferocious monster to their five-player teams. The monster can be upgraded with ability points acquired through gameplay… or via the cash shop, as The Verge points out.

In other words, you can pay money to power up your beast and increase your team’s chances of winning. Sure, you can acquire the points to do so via gameplay as well, but any kind of direct “pay money to increase power” benefit in a MOBA is pretty much heresy.

Granted, the Year Beast Brawl is a short-term thing, ending on March 2, but it’s still got some players upset about the precedent it sets. Personally, I don’t think Valve would be crazy enough to introduce more of this kind of thing into Dota 2, but if this “test case” makes a lot of money, it’s going to be hard to resist. Developers with nobler intent have done worse in shorter periods of time.

What do you think of all this? Harmless short-term gameplay mode or disturbing harbinger of things to come?

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.


  1. It’s not even P2W lol. Sure spending a dollar or buying the set might give you an advantage like the first 2 days the game mode was out… Really it’s whoever uses their brain and creates the best team composition to exploit how the game mode works. I’m undefeated and haven’t spent a dime on any points, neither has my team. Also @ the LoL v DotA v Smite discussion. League would be better if it weren’t semiP2W and so easy. Smite… lol… the fact that it’s made by Hirez should raise some flags. They’ve been known in the past to not give a crap about their community. It’s a decent game though, could work on some balancing, and once again, can’t take it seriously on a competitive level when you have to buy/grind to obtain all the heroes. Dota 2 now.. Valve has had nothing but a great record when it comes to the gaming industry. It’s also still good old DotA. They didn’t try and change the game, or make it easy for kids, etc. They make all their money off cosmetics and we get to enjoy 100% of the game without dedicating hours on end and money out of our pocket unlocking crap to play a competitive game. And that’s why I could never take LoL seriously as a competitive video game.

  2. this is highly misinformed

    the year beast has nothing to do with the main side of dota 2 which is the pvp aspect

    you don’t gain any significant power over anyone with using money in the beast mode you just get skins and things like that

  3. New update today just buttraped everyone attending the event. only players yielding high points will gain the advantage on spam-able spells that are always turned on with a cooldown.

  4. surprise surprise dota 2 goes p2w . no surprise with their low player base they are obviously hurting for cash and trying anything to squeeze the suckers that play for a lil extra at any chance possible .
    go back to league of legends . at least its legit . foolish people frequenting dota 2 lol

  5. Funny all i remember you need good teamwork and play pvp out of range of event that’s why they give you time before the event starts so what you get sets when you win that value of 5$ every event that i play i win no matter what i just commuincate with my team and we win wow please mmobomb sence when you started to cry about dota 2 is pay 2 win when you get shitty upgrades on beast that will get killed by overpowered heros that counter the beast like Shadow fiend or sladar that gives huge’s armor reduce to the beast and pushing lanes heros i cannot belive you mmobomb just gave this game p2w title i’m sry i don’t know you anymore….

  6. i have won 8 matches out of 10 i played, did not spend anything. Not really p2w if u know how to play it ……. Matches are done before u could spend all ability points so it does not matter if someone has more. This is a short time event it does not effect the regular matches…… Did any of u play it?

  7. Welcome to the future of microtransactions and p2win bullshit, yes thats the future.
    I didnt even notice till yesterday that microtransaction bullshit even reached full 60 buck games, like Unity or that super ripoff Evolve that spammed like 20 DLCs in the first day.

  8. We tested this, it does not matter much, at all if you’re teamed up with a smart group.
    We also won without upgrading the beast at all many times.

    • They already do the same…
      Limited free heroes? Well…you can buy them playing, like this new Dota2 monster… or you can just pay.

      • The difference between that Dota2 Monster and buying champions on lol is that the champions are not a powerup in itself. RP is there mostly to speed up the process to get a champion, not a direct boost to you or your team’s attack power.

    • Not sure how US is doing but in EU 1 out of 3 matches is not bot infested. You cna tell right away the botted characters run in circles or advance, farm a little and run back and straight up attack towers with no retreat and die. You can WIN easy against bots so it is good for real players…but it feels cheap. The reason for this is to let the bot account run all day since you get points for losing. So you can farm “loser” points all day and get power leveld. RIOT IS NOT ADDRESSING this issue and removes threads on their forums about it.

  9. I remember reading a quote somewhere from a Valve employee who said they estimate that DOTA 2 will last about a year or two at most before losing popularity and relevance. I guess we now know why.

    • Which is why DOTA 2’s annual tournament, The International, brought in its largest prize pool at the fourth iteration with a combined total of $9,330,698 added via fan-made contributions… because it’s losing relevance. Yeah…

      • Are you a professional moron or just a gifted amateur? I did not say anywhere that it has been losing relevance yet. As usual, the deductive skills of the commenters around here is nothing short of breathtaking.

        • You’re somewhat of a shining light in the field of incompetency, aye? Try again, mate.

          “…will last about a year or two at most…”
          Year or two at most. Year or two.
          The International is in it’s fourth annual season.
          Need I elaborate or can you exercise those fledgling brain cells of yours?

          • By that I meant ANOTHER year or two. There’s a slight typo there, but I erroneously assumed you’d be able to infer that. Sorry if that’s too complicated for you to comprehend.

  10. Crap game because of unplayable controls, best controls are in smite, anyway, mobas ar repetetive brainless one map pvp over and over for retards and now with pay to win stuff its for nerds also who cant win anything without cheats.

    • DOTA 2 is not good. But SMITE is pure horse crap. Stary with company that doesn give a F about their other projects all set aside. Add crap controls with horse crap camera movements. Horrible idea of putting MOBA in 3rd person view leads to Narrow lanes with crap invisible walls. A “whack a mole combat” where you HAVE to take damage in PANZAR like combat by “getting close” etc. So skill less spam fest. In LoL you can attack without getting hid if you know how to counter and use SKILL…real SKILL (but LoL is not good at all as of 2015. Bots and hackers that Riots is blantantly NOT addressing. Image controled company).

      • You sir, just gave me cancer by telling me that you don’t need skill and only spam in smite. I hate that game with a passion but it’s 20x better then league and dota because it’s pure SKILL shots, you actually need aim in that game.

        • Coma and Nanoboi gave us cancer a loong time ago … now they just evolve into Syphilis ,you can get it just by reading their comment

  11. Personally I think it’s just harmless short-term gameplay to add some variety and excitement for the Chinese new year. Yes being able to pay for upgrades is bad but it depends on how much those upgrades matter. For example if the upgrade makes it attack like +2 more damage each hit that won’t be a huge problem if someone pays for it and another doesn’t.

    Anyways as long as the stat increases you can get don’t make a huge difference it’s fine.


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