I need to pay to play dota1?

how is dota2 free to play, and dota1 still needs to pay?

Uh… because Dota is a custom map that was created in and for a game that costs money? The people who made it don’t have any control over that.

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dota2 and dota1 are entirely separate entities hosted on separate platforms

also this isn’t ptr related

hope that helps