Although Dota 2 has been a worldwide phenomenon for some time, up until now not everyone has been able to immediately download and play it if they liked what they saw.
In an attempt to ease load on the game's servers and protect against launch-day MMO syndrome, Valve has been gradually rolling out the ability to players over time, with those interested in playing the game having to sign up and join a queue. Even with these restrictions in place, though, Dota 2 has become so popular that it currently enjoys a mighty 6.5 million monthly active players.
But now those restrictions are no longer in place; Valve's ditched the requirement to sign up and queue in order to play the game, as it's apparently got the infrastructure into such a state that it's confident it'll be able to confidently handle as many players as necessary.
Valve's sensible, measured and confident handling of Dota 2's gradual launch is perhaps a good example to the rest of the games industry with regard to launching a high-profile online game. While titles such as Diablo III, SimCity, Grand Theft Auto V and Final Fantasy XIV struggled to handle the sudden influx of players on launch day, Dota 2 has suffered very few problems in its very gradual run-up to final, unrestricted public release -- though it also makes use of a very different business model as a free-to-play game.
Getting into Dota 2 is a scary prospect for many players due to the player community's somewhat colorful reputation and the complexity of the game when played at high level. But as our own Jaz Rignall found back during the beta test, it doesn't take long to become a new addict.
Why not give it a try for yourself? Grab it from Steam.