On the official Dota 2 blog today, Valve wrote about a thoughtful post on its initial release schedule saying, “we decided our original plan was dumb.” Dota 2 was expected to remain in beta for upwards of a year. During this time the team would iron out kinks and add a steady supply of new heroes. But after receiving feedback from closed beta participants and The International, Valve's million-dollar tournament that ended last month, the company said “we’re going to take the current version of Dota 2, which has The International set of heroes, and get it out there as fast as we can.”
The new plan will continue the current closed beta, but only for a short time. During the testing Valve said it will add “regular updates with more heroes, new features we’ve been working on, and improvements on the existing content,” but didn't specify when the closed beta would end. However, it’s still unclear if the next step for Valve will be a transition to an open beta or a full release.
Since the beta requires an invitation there are only a few ways to participate. You can put your name on the list and cross your fingers. If you're a Dota veteran, you might prefer to try winning a beta invite in the GosuGamers skill-based contest. Or if you're a more casual player, you can try to win one of the creative Playdota contests — these contests change regularly, but right now winning involves taking the most interesting photograph.
If you manage to snag a beta invite, you'll have unrestricted access to the game as Valve moves forward with development, but we don't know how long that process will take. Though the Dota 2 blog said the game will be out as quickly as possible, it declined to offer a firm release date — or a wavering release window. Since the original plan was to have Dota 2 in development well into next year, but we've already seen plenty of polished looking gameplay, we wouldn't be surprised to see Dota 2 released before 2012 and followed with plenty of post-release updates and add-ons.
Sep 23, 2011
Source: Dota 2 blog