In typical Valve fashion, Dota 2 has ended its spectacularly welcoming beta and entered its official not-quite launch. What does not-quite launch mean? Well, Valve isn't exactly confident in their servers should they open Dota 2 up to everyone at the same time. Instead of giving the everyone access, everyone gets to click a button and join the "Launch Queue." Yes, the queue to participate in the beta has ended, and the queue to participate in launch has begun.
There are a few differences between beta and launch that are discernable, however. One, everyone's beta invitations that could be shared with friends and family are gone. Two, you can no longer buy instant access to the game -- waiting in the launch queue is the only way. Um, that's a bout it! Congratulations! There are now less ways to start playing Dota 2 right now than ever!
Here's Valve's strategy going into the official launch of Dota 2 going forward:
"New players will be added in batches. We will start letting people in and monitor how the entire system reacts, and make sure that we aren't disrupting the entire community. Our goal is to get people in as quickly as possible."
Basically, we're left trusting that Valve will be inviting players into Dota 2 at a much faster rate than players were being invited into the beta, but without any transparency whatsoever. Forgive me for being sarcastic and a touch skeptical, I just think the whole thing is a little ridiculous. Why not just keep calling it beta until you're sure you can hold everyone? That's what defines an official launch to me.
Head over to the Dota 2 web page or profile on Steam and join the launch queue right now! Let us know how long it takes to actually gain access to the game.