Perhaps not the latest news, but I’ve known for some time that Dota 2 (Defense of the Ancients) would be a free to play game in a similar vein to Team Fortress 2, Counter Strike, etc (funny, these are other Valve games too) but what is more interesting is that news has come from the official Dota site saying that all the heroes in the game will also be free WITHOUT any limitations.
It is important to Dota’s competitive design that all players have access to all Heroes and that players can’t purchase a competitive advantage. We solve that in a simple way, the game is free, all the Heroes are free, and items are earnable in-game. That means, you’ll never have to pay to play and win at Dota. – Source: http://www.dota2.com/spoilsofwar?l=english
Dota began as a user-made modification for Warcraft 3 and has grown into one of the most played online games in the world. Following in the tradition of Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, Team Fortress, Portal, and Alien Swarm, Dota 2 is the result of Valve hiring the community developers who built the mod and giving them the chance to finally build a full product out of their idea with the help of a professional team of developers and artists at Valve.
As for the gameplay, it’s a little hard to describe. The camera is set in the traditional RTS perspective, but it wouldn’t be fair to call Dota an RTS. And while each hero starts at level 1, and many times hits the level cap of 25, it wouldn’t be fair to call it an RPG.
Lots of people have tried to assign various genre names to Dota, but we think Action RTS is probably the most descriptive. And while we don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out what genre the game is inventing, we can’t stop playing it internally! – Source: http://store.steampowered.com/app/570/
I’m in the middle of downloading this game, it’s around 4.5GB from the steam service. Should be fun to get in and check this game out. It’s been developing a big following among professional gamers and there are now many tournaments hosting Dota 2 games. With time, this game will no doubt be as big as StarCraft 2 or League of Legends on the professional scene.
You can download Dota 2 for free providing you have a Steam account and the steam client installed.