Dota 2 players will soon have to link their accounts to a personal phone number as Valve attempts to curtail poor matchmaking experiences.
Known as “prime matchmaking,” the feature, which is also used in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, is aimed at curtailing players from using multiple active accounts in different skill brackets. Commonly referred to as “smurfing,” players of a higher skill level play on lower rated-accounts against opponents of lesser skill—something that can remove the enjoyment for the players inhabiting the lower MMR range.
Another big change to Dota 2’s matchmaking system is hitting solo matchmaking. Previously, players who queued up on their own had the chance of facing players that had queued up as a party. That immediately put them at a disadvantage, as the opposing team could communicate and plan better.
Queueing as a party has also changed following the matchmaking update. If a party features a player with a considerably higher MMR compared to the rest of the party, the entire party’s MMR will be adjusted to face opponents of an overall higher skill level. The change is based off of internal research from Valve, which found that if a player’s “solo MMR is dramatically higher than a Party MMR,” then “the match becomes extremely volatile, resulting in an unpleasant and uncompetitive experience for both teams.”
Valve has also addressed the issue of using bots to artificially inflate players MMR. Prior to prime matchmaking, users could create two separate in-game parties consisting primarily of bots in ranked matchmaking. As such, the player creating the parties had a much easier time winning the games, and could therefore rapidly increase their MMR without playing against actual opponents. Any account found to be utilizing bots will now be permanently banned from playing Dota 2.
So in case you were discouraged in the past from venturing into ranked matchmaking, now may be the time to try it out once again.