Valve has reconfirmed that the upcoming DOTA 2 will be free-to-play, but it won’t be pay-to-win.
The assurance comes in a recent post on the DOTA 2 blog, in which the company says that:
“DOTA 2 will not be a pay-to-win game. All the items in the store are cosmetic, and don’t affect gameplay.”
All of the game’s playable heroes will be free, Valve saying that restricitng player choice could be “destructive to game design, so it’s something we plan to avoid.”
Furthermore, DOTA 2 is now part of Steam Workshop. Valve are encouraging fans with artistic skills to submit their work for possible inclusion in the game. 
Slightly more info can be found on the DOTA 2 blog.

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