During Dota 2’s first minor tournament of the 2018 to 2019 Dota Pro Circuit, compLexity Gaming player Andrei “skem” Ong typed a racially-charged message—”ching chong”— into the game’s chat, aimed at Chinese Dota 2 team Royal Never Give Up. Later, another player, TNC Predator’s Carlo “Kuku” Palad, wrote the same thing in a public match’s chat.
The two incidents spread quickly throughout the professional Dota 2 scene as upset Chinese fans issued negative reviews on Steam. The incidents happened in early November, and fans were upset at Valve’s inaction. (CompLexity has since punished its player with a “formal reprimand” and a “maximum fine.”) But on Nov. 10, Valve finally issued a response to the Dota 2 community. It’s not a ruling against either player, nor is it guidelines for teams and tournament organizers to follow in the future. Instead, Valve’s instructing teams to hold their players accountable.
In a blog post called “The Major and Professional Dota Players,” Valve said it doesn’t condone the language used by “multiple players” over the past week. “Words carry a lot of meaning,” Valve said. “Some people may not agree or understand why certain words are harmful, but it doesn’t make it any less so to those on the receiving end. The language used by multiple players over the last week has caused many of our fans a lot of pain and is not behavior that we condone.”
Valve said it’s been speaking to “various pro players and community leaders” over the past few days. It said that “deep down” professional Dota 2 players do respect each other. But that the language used this week was “damaging to the entire Dota community.”
A punishment wasn’t issued publicly from Valve to either player implicated in the ongoing situation. Instead, Valve said it expects all teams that participate in its tournaments “to hold its players accountable, and be prepared to follow-up with strong punishments when players represent Dota and its community poorly.”
Valve didn’t lay out any plans or guidelines for “strong punishments” made by teams. Dot Esports has reached out to Valve for clarification.
“We hope that players and the community around the world will become better educated and more respectful as a result of the recent incidents,” Valve said. “We think the communities everywhere around the world want the same things: for our favorite players and teams to do well, and for a great display of Dota.”