Valve is continuing its efforts to improve the overall Dota 2 experience by banning out offending accounts from the game.
The company announced on the official Dota 2 Twitter account that more than 40,000 accounts have been banned for “abusing matchmaking.” This was followed by a policy change where these bans are being handled as a game ban on the Steam accounts of the users, rather than a matchmaking ban in Dota 2.
Though “abusing matchmaking” is a fairly vague way to describe the infractions that led to the bans, almost all signs point to it being related to boosters. Dota 2 players can turn to a friend or use paid services to raise the MMR of their accounts, allowing them to illegitimately be ranked more highly. This has a negative impact on the in-game experience, especially at higher levels, as players can find themselves playing against opponents that don’t otherwise belong in that skill pool.
This wave of bans isn’t nearly as large as some of the others that have come through over recent months, but it shows that Valve is still actively working on improving the Dota 2 experience.
While The International 2019 wowed Dota 2 fans with its massive prize pool, the player base for the game has been in a free fall ever since. The game hit historic player count lows in December. Time hasn’t helped those troubles either, with January dropping even lower.
Though Dota 2’s peak player has had a number of peaks and valleys over the years, the game had been generally stable since 2014.
2019 saw a precipitous decline following a boom in the spring surrounding Dota Auto Chess. Because Dota 2’s player count tends to be highest in the winter, it’s easy to wonder if things are set to decline even further as 2020 progresses.
Valve seems to share these concerns. In September, Valve kicked off a series of changes to the game that included a significant matchmaking update and sweeping bans of players with low behavior scores and others suspected of account sharing. Matchmaking has received a number of updates in the months since and the pro scene is set to be given a significant overhaul.
Valve undoubtedly hopes these changes will help turn things around.