Once I figured out I wasn’t good enough to play Dota 2 competitively (like the majority of Dota 2 players, I guess), I started playing for fun. And for some really cool, unique items that granted custom hero animations, like the super-cool custom Frozen Nova animation you see above for Crystal Maiden.

My piece over at AppleTalk writes about how I’m mostly OK with in-app purchases, including the ones offered by free-to-play titles like Dota 2, which offer no gameplay benefits other than minor cosmetic changes:

But eventually there comes a point where you realise you should spend something on a game. For me, I reached that point after spending a few hundred hours in Dota 2 without paying a cent

I started off by completing Drow Ranger’s Jewel of the Forest set, something I already had most of the items for. And then it kind of snowballed from there. I remember one of the earliest items I “had to have” was this one game where a Juggernaut had a Blade Fury animation that looked different to normal — watching the replay, I found out about the Fireborn Odachi, which I then hunted down on the Steam Community Market and purchased. Later on, I found out about Juggernaut’s Kantusa the Script Sword, only available with a limited edition SteelSeries mouse or via the Steam Community Market — as luck would have it, I managed to find the exact mouse during a recent trip to Malaysia.

Then it was Necrophos’ Scythe of Twin Deaths, with it’s 360-no-scythe animation when casting his ultimate, Reaper’s Scythe.

Sometimes it’s not about individual items, either — Windranger’s Flight of the Sparrowhawk set, for example, only grants custom animations when worn with other items in the set. I found myself shelling out that set too, even though I’m not the biggest fan of Windranger as a hero.

Vengeful Spirit has always been a favourite of mine (I picked up a Vengeful Spirit mousepad during the same trip to Malaysia), so I just had to have Scree’auk’s Talon, which would go on to become my first immortal rarity item. And when Valve released the Treasure of Dire/Radiant arms, I opened ten of the damn things hoping for Vengeful Spirit’s Vestments of the Fallen Princess set. Of course, I didn’t get it from any of the chests I opened, so I gave up and found the set on the Steam Community Market. It was pretty expensive, to be honest, but I can tell you out of all the loading screens I have, I only use the Vestments of the Fallen Princess loading screen. It’s just so pretty, you know?

dota 2014-06-15 22-49-25-45

I’m don’t usually go on Reddit, but I’ve been checking out /r/Dota2fashionadvice to see what other cool items other people have. My Death Prophet set is directly ripped off from there, and I checked out what would look good on Crystal Maiden before settling on my current look. Thanks to the Free to Play Collector’s Pack I have sets for Sven, Pudge, and Chaos Knight, and thanks to the number of chests I’ve been opening lately in attempt to get items I actually want, I have a bunch of sets for a few other heroes, too.

I had no idea how addicting collecting items actually was until I started. Not necessarily because I have to have everything — it’s not Pokémon, after all — and not even items for every hero, just the ones I actually like and play.

Because you’ve made it this far, a few tips if you’re also looking to grab items for your favourite heroes. Stuff that nobody told me, but I wish they had:

  • Buying the sets themselves from the Dota 2 store is great and all, but you can usually get them for cheaper on the Steam Community Market. Most of the time you’ll be able to find the set for cheaper than the listed price, otherwise you’ll be able to pick up individual items for mere cents. Which brings us to the next point…
  • Speaking of which, it’s generally not worth it to sell your items on the store. Unless you have doubles for a hero or really, *really*, don’t like a particular item, commons will only net you a cent or two, uncommons a few cents more, and “rares” up to 10 cents. Even bundles of “rare sets”, like the ones you get when you open treasures these days, will only be worth a dollar or so (and the joke’s on you, seeing as it cost you $2.50 to open the treasure in the first place). Like I said, not worth it.
  • The stuff you can actually make a profit from/want from a treasure drops so infrequently, it’s often cheaper just to buy the item from the Steam Community Market. I’m chasing an Unusual Na’Vi Weaselcrow courier at the moment, and the drop rate for the treasure is about 1-2%. I.e. I’d have to open 100 treasures at $2.50 a pop before a “guaranteed” drop. But buying said courier from the Market? About $25-ish, give or take.
  • Unless you’re *really* into Dota 2, skip the Autographed stuff and anything with Ethereal and/or prismatic gems. I’ve spent a decent amount on Dota 2 items so far, and even I can tell you that it’s not worth it.

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