Valve has made a damning statement against smurfs in Dota 2, shortly after performing a ban wave that saw 90,000 smurf accounts punished on the platform. It was a monumental stand, with Valve offering no quarter to smurfs that deliberately disrupt Dota 2’s competitive scene. In a blog post on the Dota 2 website, Valve confirmed that ‘every single one of these smurf accounts’ had been traced back to its main account, and it promised that punitive measures would be issued against those accounts too.
In recent months, Valve has been taking a more proactive stand against cheaters and against malicious and disruptive in-game behaviour. It has made tweaks to its anti-cheat mechanics and, as always, it reiterated that players should actively report any user that they suspect to be using a smurf account in Dota 2. With 90,000 accounts having been eradicated in a single sweep, it certainly seems like Valve is well and truly on the proverbial ball.
Smurfing Makes Matches Worse
In the blog post, Valve made definitive statements about smurfing and stressed why it’s such a disruptive practice:
‘Dota is a game best enjoyed when played on an even field. The quality of the people in a given match are what makes a match good. We’re invested in making sure your matches are as good as possible, and smurfing makes matches worse.’
For those not in the know, ‘smurfing’ is a practice where a player makes a new account – often anonymously – to play in lobbies and games that are populated by less skilled, lower-level players. In a free-to-play game like Dota 2, there is no real end to the number of accounts that a player can create – and so, they do. That’s smurfing, but it can also be classified as a player that simply uses multiple accounts to reap the benefits of not climbing up the Dota 2 ranks on a single account.
Valve also took the opportunity to flex its administrative powers, claiming it had tracked down the owners of every single one of the 90,000 smurf accounts:
‘Additionally, we have traced every single one of these smurf accounts back to its main account. Going forward, a main account found associated with a smurf account could result in a wide range of punishments, from temporary adjustments to behavior scores to permanent account bans.’
Dota 2 is Still At The Top
Despite many challengers rising to face down the mighty title that is Dota 2, few manage to come close. On SteamCharts.com, nothing ever manages to top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but Dota 2 is consistently the number-two ranked game. It has an all-time peak concurrent player count of 1,291,328 users – which was recorded way back in March 2016 – but in the last 24 hours (at the time of writing), it secured a peak concurrent count of 731,233.
It’s one of the most dominant esports titles in the business, there’s no doubt about that. The annual Dota 2 tournament that keeps turning heads is The International, which once upon a time boasted the largest esports prize pool in history.
If Valve can perfect the competitive scene, there’s nothing holding Dota 2 back.