Fashion in the Heat of Passion
To keep DOTA 2 free to play, Valve supports its staff with digital merchandising in the form of game skins. These products are purely cosmetic and do not affect gameplay. That means you can play on equal footing against wealthy players without spending a coin.
DOTA 2 – Flaunt Your Flair In The Field of Battle
You can customise your DOTA 2 heroes’ looks and feel before stepping into the battlefield. You can make them prettier, fancier, or scarier by making them wear new clothes, armour, or new body parts.
Each hero can get an entire set of equipment but it can be separated by pieces fitting into a character’s ‘slot’. You can mix and match cosmetic parts to create an entirely unique character that only you could have come up with.
Some heroes will have more pieces per set than others due to having more slots made possible by the nature of their initial design. The following are slots existing in DOTA 2 as of Patch 7.22:
|Head||Includes hair, hood, helmet, horns, crests, antennae (for bugs) or anything found or attached in the head. Some heroes can have a completely different head.|
|Back||Includes capes, shell, or any form of growth coming out of a character’s back. Wings for bird and dragon characters like Phoenix and Winter Wyvern can be found under ‘back.’|
|Shoulder||Pauldrons, scarves, and cloaks. Some characters like Legion Commander and Dragon Knight have cosmetics that change their torso under ‘shoulder’ slot instead of ‘armour’.|
|Neck||Specifically Lich’s neck chain.|
|Belt||It refers to anything around the character’s waist such as an actual belt, something attached to the belt, or characters’ skirt.|
|Armour||Refers to a character’s torso equipment. Some characters wearing actual armour do not have a slot for ‘armour’, instead, they have ‘shoulder’.|
|Arms||Can refer to a character’s arm guard or the whole pair of limbs.|
|Legs||Humanoid characters often wear long garments covering their legs. Night Stalker, who is typically naked, wears greaves or belts under the ‘leg’ slot. Insectoids have replaceable or equipable hind limbs.|
|Tail||You can groom the tail of Night Stalker or the DOTA’s centaur characters.|
|Weapon||The equipment the character uses for basic attack animations.|
|Off-hand||Purely cosmetic, anything the character holds in the other hand if any.|
|Ultimate / Summoned Unit / Ability / Shapeshift||Some heroes have the ability to summon controllable units or turn into another creature. Essentially, there are only ‘summoned units’ and ‘transformation’ but the labels vary between heroes. Ultimate may refer to a summoned unit for Warlock, but a transformation for Lone Druid. Lycan both summons a unit and transforms but his transformation is labelled ‘Ability 4’. Cosmetics under these categories completely replace the character models separate from the main hero’s other slots. Characters that transform will not show any trace of cosmetics equipped in slots from their original form.|
|Misc||This refers to aspects of characters that cannot fall under conventional categories such as Gyrocopter’s front propeller.|
|Taunt||These are special animations your hero can perform in front of your enemies.All equipped cosmetics under ‘Hero Equipment’ can be seen by everyone in-game. Introduce yourself visually by dressing up your heroes or simply flaunt your collection in the field of battle.|
Besides playing dress-up with heroes, you can change elements of the world and your game. There are 4 categories, each coming with their own subcategories for better item sorting. Among these categories, only Couriers & Wards are the only cosmetics you can show off in-game. Only you can experience the changes you made with World, Interface, and Audio. The changes in the last three categories could be distracting for other players.
Couriers and Wards
Couriers and wards are tools in the game. Unlike other consumable goods, these can stay in the world, thus requiring a game model. You can change how they look as you wish. As of patch 7.22h, what form the item takes depends on who bought it. If you want to show off your Golden Baby Roshan, you must volunteer to pay for the team’s courier. Patch 7.23 changed the courier mechanics which now gives all players 1 courier each. This change allows teammates to flex their courier skins on each other. You can now see your favourite skin without having to play support!
The courier is the game’s pack mule. Either side has one courier that can be controlled by the entire team. The default look is a donkey which can be upgraded to a flying donkey.
In DotA Allstars, the default courier is a chicken but it can be transformed into a small Pudge, a wolf, or other animals just for the fun of it. The upgraded form was a crow that can also transform into other flying creatures including a tiny Winter Wyvern.
In DOTA 2, you can change your team’s courier into any animal with amazing designs or funny concepts such as the return of the brave chicken from DotA Allstars or a land shark. Some heroes are also made into miniature versions of themselves to become couriers. You can even have a baby Roshan!
The items Observer Ward and Sentry Ward plant physical objects in the ground that can be seen by everyone. Valve decided to add flavour to these little trinkets as well. Some cosmetics are themed after a hero, while others are stand-alone models.
You can change the look and feel of the setting. Under ‘World Skins’ are Terrain, Weather, and Effigy. Terrain refers to the texture of the soil, trees, and water. A new Terrain skin can take you to a completely different region. The Weather affects particle effects on your screen. You can see snow falling down, some are mixed with the terrain. You can mix and match these two to build your own world.
Effigy refers to a statue you can erect in the map. Select an effigy and choose which character you want to make a statue for. You can decide which Hero Skins and pose the statue should adapt. The statue can be destroyed like a base building by the enemy team.
There are also categories for lane creeps and faction towers. As of 7.22h, there are only Cavernite set and Reptilian set for lane creeps. Towers only have the Guardian of the Lost Path set. All of these are exclusive rewards from Battle Pass 2019. They cannot be purchased or sold in any market.
You will always hear voices talking while you play. The heroes you play speak whenever you take action such as moving towards a location or choosing targets. These voices are ‘hero responses.’ Some heroes have new ‘voice packs’ that come with specific skin sets to replace these responses.
Another voice you can hear is the announcer. She speaks during events involving the entire team or the game such as the beginning of the game or when a tower is under attack. The first hero death will be announced as ‘First Blood’ she stays silent under any other single hero death.
The Announcer will speak again when multiple kills are achieved by a single hero. These quick deaths will be announced to both teams.
Equipable audio packs that replace specific hero interactions. Enclosed in the parenthesis are heroes where each item is meant for.
- Axe Unleashed (Axe)
- Planetfall (Earthshaker)
- Acolyte of the Lost Arts (Invoker)
- Call of the Bladeform Legacy (Juggernaut)
- Feast of Abscession (Pudge)
- Voice of the Magus Cypher (Rubick)
- Mercurial’s Call (Spectre)
Announcer packs replace the announcer. Hero voice packs are played by each hero’s official voice actors. The dialogues are the same, but they will change some lines to fit the characters they play as. Some lines have up to 3 versions, each can be played randomly during the moment it was triggered. This adds personality and variation to your daily grind.
There are two slots in an Announcer: the multi-kill announcer packs and the announcer-only. Each pack comes in a bundle complete for both slots while others do not. Gabe Newell’s voice pack only contains Multi-kill lines. This is a great opportunity to mix two sets of voices at a time.
Hero Voiced Announcers
- Axe Bastion
- Crystal Maiden
- Dark Willow
- Death Prophet (Diretide Event)
- Kunkka & Tidehunter
- Monkey King
- Nature’s Prophet
- Pyrion Flax
- Storm Spirit
- Tusk (Greeviling Event)
Special Collaborations With Other Games or Television Series
- Darkest Dungeon
- Defense Grid
- Deus Ex
- Dr. Kleiner – from Half-Life
- Fallout 4 – From Fallout 4’s Codsworth
- GLaDOS – From Portal
- Rick and Morty
- The Stanley Parable
Special Announcer packs
- Gabe Newell – One of Valve Corporation’s founding father and most prominent figure.
- The Pirate Cap’n
Qualities can change an item’s value in the market. Every item will have sockets for gems. All gems can change an item’s quality. Some gems can add special effects such as glow. Items can also be autographed by celebrities in DOTA 2. Other qualities are included in the item for event promotion.
|Prefix||Description||Tradeable or Not|
|Normal||All items sold by Valve or taken from treasure boxes come in default quality.||Tradeable|
|Genuine||Often come in bundles, a tournament prize, and other events.||Tradeable|
|Elder||Limited. There are only a few copies released and it circles among collectors in the community.||Tradeable|
|Unusual||Event-based. Adds particle effects on a courier equipped with Ethereal Gem.||Tradeable|
|Self-Made||This tag is only present on items given to the creator of said item. Valve gifts players of unique, untradeable copies of their creations as thank you.||Untradeable|
|Inscribed||Tracks in-game stats so you can view your performance better. Apply Inscribed Gem on any cosmetic item. Some already come out inscribed from the treasure.||Tradeable|
|Cursed||Event-based. Diretide commemorative item. Use ‘Cursed Recipe: Materialize Item’ to create one random Cursed cosmetic.||Tradeable|
|Heroic||Giveaway. Randomly drops on viewers while watching a tournament with over 100 other spectators. Watch through in-game streaming service or Twitch.tv with your Steam account linked.||Tradeable|
|Favoured||Only pro players in the Pro Circuit may earn this. Fans decide who gets to have one by vote.||Untradeable|
|Ascendant||Apply Ascendant Gem on a cosmetic item. Ascendant Gems are given to players who participated in DOTA 2 Beta stage.||Untradeable|
|Autographed||Pro players or members of the community can give (or sell) anyone an Autograph Rune. The Autographed item will provide the source’s digital signature in the item’s description.||Tradeable|
|Legacy||Previous treasure box can sometimes give courier items a random unique colour. That mechanic was removed. Couriers that did not get changed before the update are labelled Legacy for keeping their unique colours.||Tradeable|
|Frozen||Commemorative quality for Frostivus event.||Tradeable|
|Corrupted||Commemorative quality for Frostivus event.||Tradeable|
|Auspicious||Commemorative quality for New Bloom event.||Tradeable|
|Infused||Apply infuser on certain hero cosmetic items for glowing effects. Infusers can only be received as a Battle Pass level reward.||Tradeable|
An item’s rarity dictates your chances of obtaining them from loot boxes or battle pass rewards. These also set how much a particular item is worth in real money as agreed by the community. Rarer items tend to change more aspects of the hero than the more common ones. An Arcana, for example, can change a hero’s stance.
The two items below are often exclusive to events and are no longer obtainable or tradeable.
How to get cosmetic items
There are a number of places where you can buy DOTA 2 cosmetic items. The first place to approach is the in-game store in the DOTA 2 launcher. The Steam market is the second-best place to look for items because this store is directly connected to DOTA 2 through Valve.
Screenshot from DOTA 2 Treasure Box preview items
|DOTA 2 Store||DOTA 2 has an in-game store linked directly to your Steam account. If you ever wish to make a purchase, you can use the money you deposit in your Steam.|
|Steam Market||Steam supports trade among the community. You can buy and sell cosmetic bundles or pieces, often cheaper than the suggested retail price. This allows players to sell unwanted items received from the Treasure Box or players to easily search for what they want without having to play with luck.|
|Shard Store||Shards are in-game currencies players can earn by winning games while subscribed to a battle pass. Shards Store contains exclusive sets and legacy items.|
|Treasures (Loot Box)||Treasure Boxes are DOTA 2’s loot box mechanic. Buy a box to get a random cosmetic item. Treasure boxes indicate what kind of items you can expect and what chances you have of getting each one.|
|MMR Drops||Playing Matchmaking Rating (MMR) games give you a chance for a free skin. This chance is usually tied to performance.|
|Events||Participating in DOTA Pro Circuit leagues or promotional events is often commemorated with a celebratory in-game item.|
|Merchandise||Buying real DOTA 2 items such as action figures will come with redeemable codes. Scan the code to get a skin for your DOTA 2 account.|