Valve Is Having Another Crack At Paid Mods With Dota 2

The last time Valve tried paid mods with Skyrim, their efforts lasted precisely a week until the chorus of complaints from fans and developers brought the system down. But not everyone was opposed to the move, and Valve indicated that they were still interested in finding some way to reward content creators.

This morning the developer lifted the lid on their second attempt at paid mods. It's called the Custom Game Pass, and it's being implemented into Dota 2.

In a post on the official blog, Valve said that Custom Game Passes would be a new model for "supporting and rewarding custom game developers who are committed to building vibrant and lasting communities around their games".

It's important to stress that these paid-for game passes won't actually prevent you from playing custom Dota 2 games. All Dota 2 custom games will still be free-to-play, but having the custom pass will give extra features. In the case of Roshpit Champions, the first game to implement Valve's freemium model, paying US$1 will give you additional character and stash slots, plus other privileges.

Perhaps the most important element, however, is the fact that Custom Game Passes will only last 30 days. According to Valve, the reason for this is so players are able to continually reassess the merit of supporting that developer with their hard cash.

"For custom games to be successful in the long term, they will require ongoing updates from their creators, and a cheaper but limited activation period allows players to continually reassess their choice to support a game if they think it’s going in the right direction," Valve wrote in a FAQ. "It also allows players to have a clearer understanding of what content a pass offers at any given point in time."

Valve will take the same cut of revenue as they do for other games on Steam, which is understood to be 30%. In an interview with PC Gamer, Valve explained that this was because they thought of "custom game creators as being similar to any developer on Steam," and therefore it made sense to keep the revenue split the same.

You'll also have the ability to refund passes within the first 48 hours, the same window users have to refund in-game purchases for Valve's games. It's worth adding that custom game passed do not renew automatically, which is handy to know if you're the kind of person who tends to forget about recurring payments.

[PC Gamer]


    Eww...literal subscription based service is not something I wanted to see on Steam.

    How big of a step is it from paying monthly for mods (which they see as games) to paying monthly for actual games.

    Sure it might mean it's cheaper to pay for just one month and be done with it but it then puts the pressure on you to play the game and be done with it or have to fork out more cash. I prefer to pay for games and be able to play them whenever I want. Whether that's mods or full games doesn't make much difference to me. The only mods I'd be willing to pay for in the first place would be equivalent to a decent DLC/expansion.

    PC gonna PC.

    This is PC's biggest merit and its biggest curse.

    I don't want to be at the cutting edge of every damn thing, but I also still want to see the zany experiments that companies Valve/etc cook up. I reserve the right to disagree and find negatives in those experiments of course.

    The DOTA community seem to enjoy being the guinea pig for a lot of things, so one more won't hurt.

    Nope... nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope.

    Paid mods is an absolute disgrace. This is going to sink just as quickly as with Skyrim. People will exploit it and completely ruin it. It sets an awful precedence and will blow up in Valve's face.

      Umm... how?

      People don't need to pay to play (like they did with the Skyrim mods) - it's just a way to show you support the mod developer. It's like a twitch subscription - sure, you get some fancy emotes to go with it and maybe some sub-only perks, but at the end of the day you are watching the same stream as everyone else.

      Riiight, and people also said this would never be seen again after the Skyrim incident... Yet here we are.

      Paid mods make a lot of sense IF, and only if, some serious quality controls are put in place to stop exploiting the system. But that is something Valve simply isn't known for anymore with all the early access games that go nowhere, the steam greenlight games that are garbage, etc.

      The push against paid modding is no different to the push against Youtubers making money off what a lot of people ignorantly see as creators "doing nothing".

        People said this would never be seen again? If so those people were blatantly incorrect. Valve made it quite clear after Skyrim that they'd try it again in another way.

          There were indeed a number of people heralding the 'victory' over the death of paid mods in Skyrim as some sort of nail in the coffin for paid modding in general.

          I recall getting a bit of flak at the time for merely suggesting it wouldn't be the last we'd see of it.

          To be honest I fully expected Valve and Bethesda would try it with Fallout 4, it would have been a new highly moddable title where the modding community wasn't already extremely well entrenched.

          And I think it would have gone MUCH smoother for it right out of the gate. Sure there'd still be the haters and crying, but the arguments of "But I've been getting those mods for free for years!" and the likes simply don't apply when the mods don't even exist yet.

        Paid mods make a lot of sense IF, and only if, some serious quality controls are put in place to stop exploiting the system.

        How? You can play any mode for free, and get to choose whether to support the mod creator after playing it. It's self-regulating system - shit mods won't get support, and quality mods will.

          I think a look around Steam will show that quality doesn't automatically mean success (and lack of quality doesn't always mean failure). This is the sort of idealistic thinking that causes them so many problems. On the one hand I admire Valve's optimism but it seems like they're setting themselves up for the usual problems.

            The difference is that these mods are free by default, and then you choose to pay if you feel it's worth it. That kind of opt-in to pay system is more self-regulating than an opt-out system.

              But my point was more that self-regulation hasn't really gone too well on Steam in the past. Steam's biggest problem when setting up stuff like this is that it's plagued with people looking to exploit it's colossal userbase. Self-regulation always goes badly there because the low quality content floods out the good quality content. Content more or less has to go viral to enjoy any success.
              I don't think it's practical to have Valve get involved in managing the content, but at the same time I don't see self-regulation putting an end to all the shenanigans that come whenever Steam lowers the bar for entry.

                But the actual model is different in this case. For steam, people pay, and then if they don't like it they can try to get a refund. Some won't go through the effort, so the shitty content creator will make some money off it. There's an incentive there to put out shitty content to make some money.

                This proposed model is the other way around. People get to play it for free by default, and if they really like it then they can choose to pay to support the dev. If you play a shitty mod, there is a 0% chance you will contribute to support it, so the incentive is there for devs to make really good mods.


                Though on my part it probably wasn't entirely fair of me to trash Valve on the 'quality' of some things on Steam either. I believe their intention in recent years was to try to move towards a hands-off approach, and as you say them directly getting involved with any and every mod/game/etc released isn't realistically feasible anyway.

                However, as it is their service part of the responsibility will always remain with them.

          I don't disagree that self-regulation is necessary a bad system... But it's not even close to ideal either. It's basically the least worst option currently available.

          Though DogMan already covered why more eloquently than I likely could.

            I kind of got at this above, but basically in a system where you pay upfront the self-regulation fell down. In this case, where you pay afterwards if you appreciate the quality of the mod, there is literally 0 incentive to put out a shit mod because no one will support you. The good ones will get supported, and the bad ones won't.

    I'm all for paying people for their mods - people should get payed for their work and things you enjoy.

    Unfortunately, the moderation required is unbelievable (thanks to the thieves out there).
    And people expect support for the mods if things don't work and they've forked over money for them.

      That's probably why they've made it a subscription service. So you don't get burned so badly if the mods stop being supported.

      I just see this as heading into murky waters and setting a precedent that I never wanted to see.

    So. What's stopping someone from making a "pay 2 win " custom game.

      Other than the fact that this only applies to games that already attract a large crowd, I'd say it's the fact that no one will play it. If people do want to play it, then why should you care? You don't have to.

      As long as this sort of stuff stays away from the main game, I don't see any problem with these guys getting some money for their work.

    Nope Nope Nope Nope Nope. Would be happier with one off purchases after a 'trial' period of custom game types than this shit.

    The community will rally against and defeat this like they have once before.

      This is inherently different though. That kind of 'we will resist any sort of change even if it's for the better' mentality is just stupid.

      The idea in general will never be defeated. It will keep coming back in one form or another.

      All it will take is dressing it up in juuust the right way before people suddenly change their minds and go, "OMG this is SO much better than that other stupid idea!" while it's actually still the same basic idea.

      Last edited 16/03/16 3:31 pm

    So how long before paid surf maps?

    This arguable sounds worse than the previous mod fiasco: these money is now going to influence modders of a multiplayer custom games, so gameplay is the key variable rather than who has shiny swords or not.
    It could potentially fracture the modding userbase between paid makers and unpaid hobbyists. Similarly with the players: 'altruistic paying gamers who love and appreciate the devs effosts' vs. 'tight-arse non-playing gamers who think they're entitled to everything for free.'
    I've definitely seen the latter on Kickstarters.

    Just like before I said that paid mods are just like paid DLC, but with one vital difference: assurance of value. Money changes everything and once it gets paid the customers are entitled to something, while free stuff is just take it or leave it. If Valve seriously want to push these paid mods then they should do thus:
    Forget 'paid mods' - those two don't go together (donations? maybe)
    Hire those modders as developers, pay them up front like everyone else. (Valve is like one of the only companies with enough money.)
    Give them access to the same level of tools and support that any contracted devs would also have.
    Sell those 'mods' as DLC products; whereby demonstrating that their relationship with base-games developers assures the customer of a functional, quality product worth paying for.

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