Dota 2 fans rage over Spectre arcana’s $150 price tag

Kenneth Williams • June 24, 23:13

Arcanas are the most prestigious cosmetics in Dota 2 but fans aren’t satisfied with Spectre’s new Phantom Advent skin.

Spectre’s arcana was created as a result of The International 10 Battle Pass’ Arcana Vote. Instead of being available in the Steam Market like other Arcana Vote winners, Valve decided to add the Phantom Advent arcana as the level 330 prize in the Nemestice Battle Pass. The Spectre arcana effectively costs almost five times the normal arcana price.

Every week in the original leadup to TI10, fans would vote between all arcana-less heroes in a massive bracket. The tradition extends back to The International 4, where fans voted for Phantom Assassin to receive the Manifold Paradox arcana. Since then, fans have voted for Zeus, Pudge, Juggernaut, and now Spectre.

The TI10 arcana vote grand final was between Spectre and Faceless Void, two popular core heroes. Since TI10 was postponed for 2021, the winner was announced through social media.

Previous arcana vote winners had their cosmetics put up for sale at the standard price of $34.99. The single payment to Valve could also be recouped by selling the arcana on the Steam Marketplace. Even the least desirable arcanas sell for at least $20.

Compare the traditional $34.99 with the cost of getting to level 330 in the Nemestice Battle Pass. Getting a head start at level 100 costs $41.99 and gets you less than a third of the way to Phantom Advent. Even accounting for grinding 100 levels, the Spectre arcana can cost up to $150. In addition, Spectre’s Phantom Advent can’t be sold on the Steam Marketplace. 

This steep price disproportionately affects Dota 2 players in developing nations. A Turkish Redditor calculated that the Phantom Advent would cost over two weeks of their country’s average wage, while players from other countries noted that it’d cost multiple months’ worth of salary.

The Phantom Advent is far from the first arcana tucked into a Battle Pass. Three arcanas were included in the TI10 Battle Pass and past years have also included arcana skins or limited-time skins. The hero persona skins, which now includes the new Davion of Dragon Hold and Dark Artistry Throwback in Nemestice, are also traditionally locked behind a Battle Pass. But this is the first time a community-voted arcana was locked behind such a massive paywall.

Valve has already announced plans for another Battle Pass later this year. The Nemestice Battle Pass is set to expire on August 17, just two days after The International 10 is intended to conclude. Assuming a short break after TI10, the next Dota 2 Battle Pass will likely be released in October or November.

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