Valve has cracked down on smurfing in Dota 2, banning over 90,000 accounts and drawing a line in the sand against toxic play.
In a surprise ruling, Valve Software, the developers of Dota 2, have declared that “smurfing is not welcome in Dota 2.” The proclamation was made via a blog post on September 1, stating the company had banned 90,000 smurf accounts that have been active over the last few months.
The blog goes on to explain what Valve defines as a smurf account: “Smurf accounts are alternate accounts used by players to avoid playing at the correct MMR, to abandon games, to cheat, to grief, or to otherwise be toxic without consequence.” By virtue of its wording, this would omit professional player’s alternative accounts from the enforcement on smurfs, so long as they’re not breaking the rules.
The post also explains that Valve has banned over 90,000 smurf accounts. And, beyond that, they have “traced every single one of these smurf accounts back to its main account.” In the future, Valve promises that having a main account with smurfs found associated to it could result in a wide range of punishments, including temporary adjustments to behavior score and permanent bans.
This declaration goes hand in hand with Dota 2’s recently upgraded report system. Smurfing is now perhaps considerably more punishable, and Valve has shown that it’s committed to banning those who abuse matchmaking.
Smurfs are not welcome in Dota 2: What does this mean for pros?
As we mentioned above, Valve, in the most transparent way to date, defined what it felt was a smurf in Dota 2. This definition of an alt account used to cheat, grief, or be toxic, omits the use of alternative accounts used for legitimate reasons.
Profession players are the most notable users of smurf accounts, using them to beat longer queues at high MMR, practice heroes without giving away their strategies, and otherwise avoid tracking by potential opponents. It seems Valve has deliberately left this kind of smurf out of its ban wave and has tacitly permitted alternative accounts, so long as they’re not used for griefing and cheating.
This is the most balanced way Valve could handle smurfing. There’s an obvious difference to anyone between a pro with several “smurf” accounts in Immortal or Divine, compared to the Legend player who occasionally plays on a Guardian account to troll. Valve has outright banned negative smurfing without harming the pro scene.