I paid ten dollars for a Dota 2 cosmetic set…

… and I’m surprisingly okay with that.

I’m sure someone could pinpoint the moment when “Free to Play” got a foothold in gaming and became a thing but for the longest time, my attitude toward them was firmly on the “who cares” spectrum. Paying for cosmetics in a game I otherwise did not have to buy seemed pointless. Whereas, in other paid games, paid cosmetics was just a bonus feature that I’d just ignore. I was firmly a “I’d never pay for a cosmetic item” kind of guy. Cosmetics, ultimately, didn’t have any impact on me anyway because I didn’t play anything that was free to play anyway. Then I started playing Dota 2 in earnest a couple of years ago. (I think I gave the game a try after listening to a string of Idle Thumbs podcasts where the main topic of discussion was Dota 2. I had tried a MOBA before (League of Legends) but it didn’t grab me like Dota did.) I was now playing a free to play game wasn’t in your face with their microtransaction offerings. Just the occasional “get these cool cosmetic items! Look at this sword for your dude!” My feelings remained unchanged.

Cosmetic items have been, as far as I can tell, always been available for Dota 2 heroes even if they weren’t an option for all heroes.

This is a topic that will probably fork into another post, but somehow I ended up playing and building an affinity to the agility hero Juggernaut. I don’t know if it was because it was the most recognizable name in the list or I liked the idea of a masked, exiled samurai. Either way, Juggernaut has become “my guy”. He looks cool, has a sweet sword and his ultimate is one of the more satisfying ultimates in the game.

I don’t remember how it happened, but one day there was a cosmetic set for Juggernaut in my inventory. It was a simple set called Traveler on the High Plains. All the set items were classified as Common items, meaning they weren’t particularly rare or unique but the next time I played Jugg I equipped the items and a whole new game opened before my eyes:

I had an epiphany. This was my Juggernaut. There are many other Juggernauts like it, but this one is mine.

There are many cosmetic items for Juggernaut, possibly the most out of any of the heroes (maybe research this). Between his mask, his sword and his clothing, the possibilities and combinations of your Juggernaut are endless.

Juggernaut Mixed Items

I picked up odds and end pieces for Juggernaut but never could bring myself to pay more than a few quarters to pick something up. That was until the set “The Balance of the Blade Keeper” set became available last year. At the time, it cost $10.99 and as soon as I saw it, I hit the purchase button and haven’t looked back. Because the Blade Keeper set had such a unique look and style I picked it up without hesitation.

Juggernaut Balance of the Bladekeeper

The cosmetic items for Dota 2, to me, have been one of Valves most brilliant moves. Opening up the character models to freelance graphic artists basically increased their “workforce” to thousands of people with talent and know-how to customize the game and the personal experience of individual Dota 2 players. Valve lets these freelancers peddle their wares, all the while taking a little cut for being the middle man. This enables artists to develop a brand and a following, creating items for fans of the game.

Juggernaut Arms of the Gwimyeon Warrior

Juggernaut Bladesrunner

I have amassed, officially, over 1,000 hours of playtime over the past three years playing Dota 2. Steam tells me I’ve spent over 150$ on the game over that period of time. If there was some formula to determine “value” and if that formula were to be, say, dollars divided by hours, Dota would have delivered on 10 cents an hour, which I would say is a pretty dang good value, considering 1) it’s free and 2) most AAA games are luck to deliver 1.50$ an hour.

Juggernaut Gifts of the Vanished Isle

I don’t know how much longer I’ll play Dota 2 but they’ve turned me into a Free to Play believer and I’ve most certainly got my money’s worth.

I’ll Have a Mac Steamed, Please

I just installed the Mac client for Steam and now I own 20+ games on my Mac–just like that. Torchlight, Portal, Civ IV, Braid, a bunch of other indie titles. The list just goes on and on.

Torchlight on Mac? Tomorrow!

Kotaku is reporting that the Steam client for Mac computers comes out tomorrow. If you already own Portal and Torchlight on the PC, you may already own it on the Mac.

If you bought Portal or Torchlight via Steam on your Windows-based PC then you may in fact already be the proud owner of tomorrow’s releases. Portal (and possibly Torchlight — the press release is unclear) will support a feature called Steam Play, which, according to a press release from Valve today, “allows customers to purchase a game once and play it on all Steam supported platforms. Gamers who have previously purchased games on Steam will find them available in their account on the Mac as they are released.”

I think this is AWESOME because these games should run fine on my MacBook. I can now play Torchlight on any computer I own.

Wait. That may be a bad thing.

Move over Steam, Amazon is Here

It looks like Amazon is testing the waters a bit with AAA title digital downloads. Get Far Cry 2 for $5. I would love to see digital distributors get into price matching wars–even on their deep discount stuff.

Hold Onto Your Wallets!

Look out, everyone.

It looks like Steam is rolling out the sales over the next five days and every day will have a new batch of sales.

Just when I thought I’d finished spending money this year!

The Last Stand? Yes, Please.

The Last Stand update for Dawn of War II was released yesterday…and it is a breath of fresh air. After three hours of play, I claim it to be gaming goodness. FREE gaming goodness. Let me know if you have the game in the comments and we can survive a few rounds. Relic has really taken this game to a new level. Mixing Call of Duty with DoW II was an excellent idea. It’s a shame some people missed this, but Steam was selling the game half-off yesterday Holy frick. I just checked. They’ve extended it until Monday. $20 (TWENTY!) for this amazing game.

Dawn of War II on ‘Da Cheap

So far, Dawn of War II is my PC Game of the Year. You can enjoy it this weekend for $25 from Steam (I should be getting paid by Valve.) The Company of Heroes games are discounted too.

Kings Bounty On ‘Da Cheap

A game that I play on my laptop almost weekly is Kings Bounty. If I had played it in 2008, it would have been my FGOTY. (Ive not said much about it because Ive not completed it.) At any rate, more people should play it. Steam is selling it at 50% off for $15. You are stealing it.Oh, and Steam added the Kings Quest and Space Quest games today.

LucasArts on Steam

I actually screamed, WHAT?!? when I read this at my desk: LucasArts will be on Steam starting July 8. I was just lamenting not having a copy of my 5th greatest PC game of all time. Its time to return to The Dig. (Funny LucasArts titles take four of my top five.) If priced right, I might get Republic Commando as well. No word on Tie Fighter or the other X-Wing games.

Fallout 3 on Steam at 50% Off

Two weeks ago it was Empire Total War. Now its Fallout 3 that is getting the 50% off treatment on Steam. Im downloading as I type this. Bonus: I can use my 360 controller. Im excited to see what all you guys have been raving about.