For the first time ever, Valve is giving Dota 2 players a way of fighting back against smurfs.
A new post-game report option has been added to the game. In addition to being able to report players for communication abuse, players can now be reported for matchmaking abuse. According to the description, matchmaking abuse encompasses “manipulating matchmaking, boosting, or similar behavior.”
Though the matchmaking abuse option doesn’t explicitly hone in on smurfing, the function is clearly designed to tackle one of Dota 2’s most talked-about problems. Smurfing, which typically involves a player intentionally playing against weaker opponents, falls within the purview of matchmaking abuse. This follows renewed discussion regarding smurfing in Dota 2 by a number of personalities.
The change comes at an interesting time, just two weeks ahead of the launch of new animated series DOTA: Dragon’s Blood. Many are expecting the series to provide a much-needed injection of new and returning players to Dota 2, but this comes after years of Valve neglecting the new user experience to the point that players are almost guaranteed to encounter some manner of game-ruining behavior in many sessions.
It’s possible that this move is part of a scramble by Valve to try and get some of the game’s lingering problems sorted out before doors open.
It’s unclear at this time what the punishment might be for players that are repeatedly hit with reports for matchmaking abuse. Valve has done sweeping bans on account sellers in the past, but it’s can be difficult for some systems to parse whether a player is smurfing, was underrated after their calibration games, or was simply bringin with them existing skills from other MOBAs to Dota 2.
Either way, this is a long-awaited acknowledgment of Dota 2’s smurfing problem by Valve. The big question now is what might happen as a result.
Yes, account boosting or selling is bannable according to the Steam terms of service which state users “may not reveal, share, or otherwise allow others to use your password or Account except as otherwise specifically authorized by Valve.”