Smurfs were an ugly, but necessary part of being a Dota 2 pro, but Valve has put its foot down.
Smurfs were an ugly, but necessary part of being a Dota 2 pro, but Valve has put its foot down. As part of the Frostivus update, being really good at the game will no longer be a valid excuse for smurfing, as per a post on the Dota 2 official blog.
Frostivus wouldn’t be nearly as fun if bad actors weren’t punished, and this year, Valve is slinging coal like it's going out of style. Dota 2’s development team has revealed harsh new rules meant to crack down on alternate accounts, and pro players will not be exempt.
Here are details on the new smurfing rules and how to tell if your account (or accounts) are in danger:
Valve claims Dota 2 pros wanted their smurfs banned
Valve claims that it spoke with several pro players at The International 2023 as part of this decision. The developer claims that there is “broad agreement amongst pros that banning pro smurf accounts is a win for Dota as a community.” Valve did not reveal the reasoning behind the move, but its impact will be immediately felt.
Currently, there are multiple alleged smurf accounts on the MMR leaderboards. The most infamous is egoisto, which reportedly belongs to Entity carry Alimzhan "watson" Islambekov. Pro players often use smurfs to test out new strategies or hide account activity from the competition. By removing smurfs, Valve is raising the stakes for theory-crafting at the top level.
Certain top matchmaking environments are also infamously toxic. Restricting players to a single account could result in more positive mental attitudes. The conduct score rules regarding communication already applied to pro players, so banning smurfs is just a logical extension of that existing system.
After Frostivus smurf update, is your account in danger?
Valve has demonstrated that it's willing to ban big streamers and pro players alike, but some players are at least getting a warning.
In a surprisingly gracious move, Valve has essentially added a warning system with Frostivus for players who are on the verge of being permanently banned. Players with high behavior scores earned a free random cosmetic as part of Frostivus, but accounts on thin ice got something else instead.
Players have reported opening their gift to find an ominous lump of coal accompanied by a ban threat. If you’re one of these unlucky, hopefully deserving few, it may be best to delete your Notepad file full of smurf log-ins.
The Toxic Lump of Coal isn’t even the worst thing to open. Banned players get a Highly Toxic Lump of Coal along with a permanent account ban. These bans appear to last for 25 years, making them effectively permanent. In traditional Valve fashion, all of the valuable cosmetics on these accounts become locked, essentially rendering them useless.