Valve has abolished the beta key system and DoTA 2 can now be accessed without a beta key.
Though the thousands of players and million dollar championships may suggest otherwise, DoTA 2 has actually been in a "semi-open beta" the whole time. Valve has abolished the beta key system and DoTA 2 can now be accessed without a beta key, making it completely free-to-play.
Up until now, players had to have a beta key to play the game. Nevermind the fact that Valve gave out the beta keys like candy (i think I have about 30 of them in my Steam inventory) and you could buy them on the Steam marketplace for a pittance, you still needed a beta key and thus the game was not entirely "free-to-play".
It looks as though new accounts from all parts of the world have free access to the game, with the sole exception of China. Chinese gamers can receive free access to Perfect World server (the official Chinese host for DoTA 2) if they clocked in more than 800 hours of the game on the normal Steam servers.
The only noticeable change that accompanies these new "non-beta" accounts is the addition of the game's trailer before the game fully loads.
Valve previously stated it planned to officially release the game before this summer. The abolition of the beta key does not necessarily mark the game's official release, as its steam store page still marks it as an "Early Access Game."
While most fans are happy the game is seeing an official release, some are disappointed at Valve's decision to not implement LAN functions before the release.