As is their wont, players have been rustling through some of the test build files for Valve's upcoming Dota 2, and they've found signs of some interesting (but still unofficial) features already. First and foremost, Valve hasn't yet determined exactly what the monetization model for the game will be, but it seems microtransactions will be a part of that model, as there are various announcers (including Half-Life's Dr. Kleiner), character taunts and skins, new hero items, and a few other goodies that may be purchasable either with an in-game currency, or with real money.

There are also new kinds of couriers to buy (animal pets, basically, that will ferry items back and forth from your base), and there's one more consumable: Something called souls. A "Repentant Soul" will supposedly get players out of the "low priority punishment queue" when used, which suggests some sort of "pay or be punished" system. Gabe Newell mentioned just such a system last year, where he talked about Valve charging players "based on how much fun they are to play with." In other words, act stupid in game, get punished, and then you may have to pay your way out of jail.

Finally, "treasure caches" are mentioned in the files. They'll probably work the same way that Team Fortress 2's crates do, where you get items that need to be unlocked with a key. This is all good news for those waiting for Dota 2 -- since Valve said it wouldn't worry about monetization until the fun was in there first, the game must be almost done, right?

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

PSA: Hunger Games: Girl on Fire out today