Dota 2 Courier Sells for $38,000

What's a pixel worth? Is it just an experience, or a one-of-a-kind investment? Either way, this is a brilliant demonstration of new markets, savvy trading and definite commitment.
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And who says playing games is a waste of time? In reality, the myth of video games being a blatant waste of time is long dead, and most people understand the benefits of gaming.

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But, really? For that much?

Most people will never see this kind of money in one place, let alone find themselves in a position to trade digital gaming items for a stash that size. But, leave it to the internet to show you what the concept of a value means to some people.

EVE Online has seen some expensive trades, and losses. One ship valued at over $11,000 (yes, in real USD) was tragically lost, and it wasn’t the first. Extreme, absurdly high prices have been tied to digital items, characters and currency for sometime. This isn’t the first time huge stacks of hard cash have turned into pixels.

But, is this ridiculous waste? Or simply a smart investment (with a fancy skin to boot)?

Known on Reddit as PAADA, the lucky seller posted the item to /r/Dota2Trade just yesterday, with a buyout price of $38,000. He set an ending date over a week away. Within 24 hours, the item sold at that buyout cost. Not much is known about the buyer, or the seller for that matter. Nonetheless, this transaction says a great deal about the current state of online marketplaces, digital worth, and the concept of trades and investment in such distinct places.

So, what was sold exactly? An Ethereal Flames Pink War Dog. The hell is that? It’s a courier in Valve’s Dota 2, which is an important part of the gameplay. As it’s very ill-advised to go back to your home base yourself in the game, this handy character is a player-controlled ally that will carry items back and forth, while you keep on fighting and defending your tower. Normally, the courier appears to be a little donkey. This is no donkey–it’s a pink dog.

Similar to hats and apparel in Valve’s free-to-play cash cow Team Fortress 2, you can buy different skins to change the appearance of both you or your courier. And just like TF2, items like this have a chance of dropping.

In the case of unusual couriers, there’s only a 1-2% chance of finding one in a Treasure Chest (which you have to pay to unlock). Compound this with the rarity of each element of the item, and you have some truly astronomical chances.

And so what makes this Ethereal Flames Pink War Dog so special that it’s worth a retail manager’s annual salary? Well, there are three main elements that make this courier special.

  • First, it’s a War Dog skin, which is a Mythical (purple) drop, so it’s pretty rare to begin with.
  • Second, it’s pink. Valve only introduced 10 different colors for skins, and pink was not one of them.
  • Third, the Ethereal Flames part is an aesthetic effect that is also incredibly rare to come across.

The end result is an item so unique that only a handful at most exist–four at most.

Summon this courier in your game, and you’re insta-famous. Or at least you’ve got a pretty awesome skin. For most people, it wouldn’t be worth what’s in their wallet, much less their savings account. But, for many people out there, the value of items like these is in the experience, the prestige, the rarity, the pride, and the immense enjoyment they’ll get out of many hundreds of hours of play with that pink (not so) little guy. Not to mention an odd, but wise investment, as the courier remains tradable. 

You can find the original EF Pink War Dog posting on the Dota 2 Trade subreddit here.

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