Dota 2 developer Valve Software announced on Tuesday (20 June) that they have moved their focus away from the game's vaunted Battle Pass system and will instead distribute gameplay and other content updates throughout a more constant cycle every year.
Valve announced the changes on a post on the official Dota 2 blog titled 'Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future'.
The developer said that the focus placed on the Battle Pass — in terms of new game modes, functionality, and cosmetics — left the rest of the Dota 2 year outside of the Battle Pass cycle "feeling barren". As a result, Valve tested the waters by releasing major content updates that were not tied with the Battle Pass.
The most noteworthy these was the massive 7.33 gameplay update. Also known as the 'New Frontiers' update, 7.33 introduced sweeping changes to Dota 2, including an expanded map, a new 'Universal' hero attribute, and multiple hero reworks, among others.
"Most Dota players never buy a Battle Pass and never get any rewards from it. Every Dota player has gotten to explore the new map, play with the new items, and accidentally die to a Tormentor; every Dota player benefits from UI improvements and new client features," said Valve.
"Community response to New Frontiers has helped us build confidence that working less on cosmetic content for the Battle Pass and more on a variety of exciting updates is the right long-term path for Dota as both a game and a community."
With the delivery of content updates no longer tied to the Battle Pass, Valve said that they are currently "building a wide variety of features and content" for Dota 2 that will be distributed in different ways.
With that said, players that were excited for the yearly Battle Pass because of the cosmetics they can acquire through it can still expect them to be distributed over the course of the year.
No more TI Battle Pass, TI-themed update set for September
Valve also allayed concerns that the shift away from the Battle Pass would affect The International (TI), Dota 2's annual multimillion-dollar world championship tournament.
TI's massive prize pools were crowdfunded by the Dota 2 community dating back to 2013, with the crowdfunding for recent editions being tied to the yearly TI Battle Pass.
Last year's tournament, TI 2022, had a US$18 million prize pool. The distinction of the biggest pot in TI, and all of esports, belongs to TI 2021, which had a massive US$40 million prize pool.
Valve said that, instead of a Battle Pass for TI 2023, they will instead release a TI-themed update in September that focuses more on the event, players, and the games. This update will also contribute directly to the tournament's prize pool.
"This is a significant change from the last few years, so to make it clear that we're shifting focus towards the event and away from the giant reward line of cosmetics, we're intentionally not calling this update a Battle Pass," said Valve.
Finally, Valve said that the changes to Dota 2's ecosystem are also in line with the upcoming 10-year anniversary of Dota 2's public release back in 9 July 2013. The developer added that they are "working on some fun stuff for it".
"By freeing Dota's update and content cycle from the timing and structural constraints of the Battle Pass, we can go back to making content in the way we know best: by coming up with fun ideas of all scales and shapes, and exploring them with you," said Valve.