Another Dota 2 ban wave hits 40,000 accounts for abusing the matchmaking system

Smurfs, begone.

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Dota 2 has been dealing with matchmaking issues for a long time, but Valve has been taking more steps over the last year to try and improve it by making sure players are playing the game the right way and not abusing the system. 

Valve announced today that the developers of Dota banned more than 40,000 accounts for abusing the game’s matchmaking system, although the exact definition of “abuse” in this situation is still unknown. But unlike the previous ban, this acts as a game ban, not just a ranked matchmaking ban. 

This change comes along with an update to the Dota client itself, which is making changes to Valve’s smurf detection system that will help fight back against boosting and smurf accounts. 

“We are making our smurf detection system more sensitive in this update,” Valve said. “This change will much more proactively target potential smurf accounts, but may on rare occasion give a normal player extra MMR.”

This most recent ban wave adds to several others that have come through over the last six months, with players who have extremely bad behavior scores or those caught using exploits being removed from ranked matchmaking and sometimes just being unable to play Dota. It seems like Valve’s recent report is targeting boosting accounts and players who actively try to ruin or stack games through using various exploits within the matchmaking system. 

Here are the three core reasons Valve listed for banning players when the first 20-year ban wave happened last September. 

  • Players with extremely low behavior scores
  • Breaking Steam’s ToS regarding the buying and selling of accounts
  • Players detected using exploits to gain an advantage over other players

Up until this point, it seemed like Valve was focusing more on improving the game by making sure players with low behavior scores wouldn’t just be making matches toxic for the people trying to have fun with the game. But now, it looks like the devs have a good system in place for that portion of the rules and are moving on to ToS and exploit management. 

Considering Dota 2’s current concurrent player count for January was around 378,925, that means Valve just banned slightly over 10 percent of its entire player base. It’s a good sign that the company is aware of the bigger issues within the game and is going to continue working on making matchmaking better, even if it makes the game’s numbers drop slightly.

Boosting and smurfing are both big problems in the community right now, but these changes and banning accounts from the game instead of just matchmaking could help fix things.