Most people’s gut reaction to seeing a USD 34.99 item in the Dota 2 store is “What? For ONE Item?” I had the same initial reaction. I suspect that many of my followers did too. Especially the huge chunk of awesome people in the Philippines, where USD34.99 is 20% of the average monthly income there. But, I believe that Valve has taken the right step forward with this move. Disagree? Then, hear me out.
Better price stability for buyers
By providing it at a fixed price, buyers can obtain it without worrying about its trade market value. They don’t need to rush to buy it, regret missing out on an earlier cheaper deal or feel bad if its value decreases.
The current situation makes it possible for traders to hoard rare items and heavily influence the market by limiting the supply. It sometimes might get worse if they are successful in manipulating the prices. For example, a trader once told me that he was even buying and selling TI2 couriers to himself to jack up the price. In a matter of months, the courier jumped from something like USD 100 to USD 200.
More income and stability for artists
Artists do not have the same opportunity to earn if we keep all items at a relative price to each other. There is a market for luxury items in Dota 2. By keeping all prices low in the store, we are not keeping it low for everyone who wants an item and traders benefit the most from this.
Instead, we should allow artists to tap into different markets of buyers to reap the benefits, rather than benefits ending up with someone who simply had the money and patience to hoard tons of items.
More income and stability for communities and event organizers
Since some communities and event organizers have been and probably will produce more store items, they will also benefit from tapping into another market.
As a person who has seen the community and organizing side of things, a constant flow of income to continue great work is hard to come by. Additional income is much needed, rather than relying on sponsorship and investments.
Sustainability of continued development and improvement of Dota 2
Dota 2 is a free-to-play game. You don’t need to spend money at all. While Valve has deep pockets, we surely understand that they need to cover the costs, as well as make it worth their time. Valve is one of my favorite companies and I love how they work. I look forward to seeing more improvements in Dota 2 and other games.
I believe that there will always be free items and a wide price range available when it comes to items. I do not think all items will suddenly become more expensive.
Overall improvement to the eSports and gaming communities
Tapping into an existing market to make more for development, as well as provide more sustainability to artists, organizers and communities helps more than just Dota 2 and Valve. It is a successful and much more sustainable business model for both the game developer and involved communities. Besides that, Dota 2 and Valve are paving the way for gaming to be more respectable.
In a nutshell, Valve is simply acknowledging that there is an existing demand for higher-priced and more complicated products. They are taking advantage of this market to benefit everyone. Rather than leaving it untapped and that money going into the pockets of traders, rather than artists, organizers, communities or Valve itself to strengthen Dota2, eSports and the gaming community.
Where I think Valve can improve on in the area of items is supporting more contests and giveaways with these amazing items. We had very little to offer back in DotA days. It would be an awesome way to give talented/lucky people a chance to get an item they can’t afford. It also helps promote the gaming community that is running it.
Now, on the details of how many changes “Arcana” rarity should have, I haven’t looked into changes it makes yet. But this is a separate issue from whether there should be items that are higher-priced.
YouTube video of iceiceice playing (By noobfromua)