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Dota 2’s new event is a masterpiece in enforcing important player behaviors!

Dota 2 has released a new event called Diretide. It is a custom game where players compete in a best of 5 rounds match. In each round players need to collect more candies than their opponent in order to win that round. First team to win 3 rounds wins the match. Winning a match rewards the players with some points. For every 100 points the player earns, he gets one of the Roshan’s rewards. There are 75 items in the reward pool that the player can earn.

Out of 75, 74 rewards are not marketable on steam.

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Rewards are hero cosmetics, UI customizations, voice lines and treasures

The other item is a chest that can be sold on steam and for REAL MONEY!

Why is Valve doing this? We try to find out in this post!

Dota 2 is a F2P game and there is no paywall for entering this event as well. Players can earn an infinite number of rewards for the event duration.The game ensures that a player is rewarded with the chest in the initial reward drops. But, in order to open it he has to buy a key that is being sold for 1.99$ in the game. The chest contains another set of cosmetic items that are really aspirational among the game’s community.

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New Treasure

After receiving the chest, there are two ways a player can act —

1. Buy the key, by spending 1.99$ and open the chest.

2. List the chest on the market and wait for someone to buy it and “woohoo” the player has ~5$(avg. price)credited in their steam wallet.

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Chest price graph since the launch of the event

A seasoned Dota 2 player most likely will open the chest using the first approach!

The interesting option is the second approach as it opens up a new array of behaviors that can be observed from the users and this is where I believe Valve has hit the jackpot.

Valve has rewarded the player some funds to the player that he can use anywhere on steam. There are multiple ways a player can use these funds —

  1. Play more Dota 2 in the hope of getting more chests in the upcoming days and buy a key from the money lying in the steam wallet. Players can earn an infinite number of chests by playing the game as long as the event is live and open them with funds they got from selling the previous earned chests.

Why is this important?

Valve just made a player use his steam wallet funds on Dota 2 and introduced him “The way to spent money on a Game the player likes”.

2. Spend rewarded funds to buy a game on steam.

It is very unlikely that a player will spend the exact 5$ that he earned from selling the chest on buying a game. Either he has to add some more funds or he has some funds left in the wallet after completing a purchase. In Both of these scenarios, the chances of players adding more funds in their steam wallet increases significantly.

Why is this important?

Valve just made a player use his steam wallet funds for purchasing a game and also Taught him “The way to add funds in steam wallet

Both, the above scenarios benefit Valve by bringing in a new set of players who learn to engage with in-game wallet and steam funds.

This event directly/indirectly enforces two important behaviors that are very crucial for any free to play game.

  1. Spending money to buy in game items

We will have to wait to see if this event is achieving its goals!

If possible I will try to post an update about the impact of this event on the game’s DAU/retention etc. Stay tuned!

Game Designer | Systems & Economy | Ex - Zynga

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