Dota 2 out of beta, heading to OS X and Linux

After two years in beta, Valve's wildly popular Dota 2 is finally finished—or, at least finished enough for an official release. The beta ended earlier this week, and you can grab the latest version of the free-to-play game right here on Steam. You won't be alone. Dota 2 is by far the most popular game on Steam, with over 321,000 active players as I write this. Team Fortress 2, Steam's second-most-popular title, has less than one sixth the players right now.

Because Dota 2 is so popular, Valve is rolling out the official version in waves. The server infrastructure behind the game is being updated to prepare for the expected influx of new players, and Valve doesn't want those servers to be swamped. I just tried to download Dota 2 and was told that I'm number 1092 in the launch queue. Apparently, I'll get an email when my turn is up. No time estimate is provided, though.

We've seen high-profile game launches distrupted by server issues, so I can understand why Valve is taking a slower approach here. The developer is adding server capacity for an additional 450,000 concurrent players, but figuring out exactly where to deploy all that new hardware is challenging, according to the release FAQ. Valve wants to ensure players in various regions all have a good experience.

Now that the beta is over, what's next? Mac and Linux versions. Both are "currently in testing and will be available soon." You should be able to access early builds through the Dota 2 Test program. The Linux version is particularly intriguing given Valve's apparent interest in using that OS to power its own console.

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