The upcoming online action game Dota 2 will be free-to-play forever, Valve has confirmed.
Customers can play the game without paying anything up-front, though will be charged for items that customise the look of their in-game characters.
Valve has launched the Dota Store in preparation for the game's launch. The studio will sell an extensive range of virtual apparel and accessories through the online shop, but it also hopes players will create and trade their own items. Such a user-generated content system has been a success on Team Fortress 2.
Those who haven't played the popular game yet can now get early access buy purchasing a items bundle.
"With support for the Steam Workshop, the majority of the items made available on day one were created and being sold by members of the community," said 'IceFrog' the design lead on Dota 2.
" By making the game Free to Play, we hope to give gamers the ability to decide how - and how much - they want to invest in the game."
Dota 2 is scheduled for full release on PC later this year. A new global games tournament, called The International Dota 2 Championships 2012, will commence in the summer.