Valve is finally cracking down on Dota 2 smurfs, but will it work?

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Valve is aggressively banning smurf accounts in Dota 2 after years of fan demands with the company announcing that it had banned more than 90,000 accounts. 

Smurfing is a big issue in competitive games, whether it’s Dota 2, League of Legends, or Counter-Strike. Smurfs are veteran players using a new account to get into easier lobbies. They are generally wildly undermatched, toxic, or a combination of both. This results in new Dota 2 players having a bad experience.

Because competitive team-based games live on good matchmaking and player retention, smurfs not only hurt newcomers but also Valve’s bottom line. The latest ban wave from Valve is a clear sign that the company is taking smurfing seriously and will deploy measures to combat it. 

dota 2 smurfs banned

Valve bans thousands of Dota 2 smurfs, vows to come after their main account

Valve recently banned 90,000 smurf accounts from the game. The company warned that it will come for main accounts in the future. 

In a recent blog post titled “Smurfing is Not Welcome in Dota,” Valve states that it traced every one of the 90,000 banned accounts back to its original owner. In the future, the company will ban not just the smurf but also the main account with it. The risk of losing the main account could deter potential smurfs. 

Popular Swedish Dota 2 player Niklas “Wagamama” Högström complained about his smurf account getting banned on a recent stream. While he contends that his alternate account doesn’t fight the company’s definition of “smurf” he was still banned.

This shows Dota 2 publisher Valve Software is serious about curbing the problem. Valve is doling out a “wide range of punishments” to the smurfs. Temporary adjustments to behavior scores and permanent account bans are on the cards for cheaters.

Valve has taken action against smurfing on several occasions in the past, to no avail. It remains to be seen whether this one will stick.

Is smurfing a problem in Dota 2?

Yes, smurfing has historically been a big issue in Dota 2.

Throughout the game’s existence, players have griped about toxicity and playing against opponents that were clearly better than them. Traditionally, smurfs use an alternate account to play with lower MMR players and dominate them in a match.

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Because a Dota 2 match is a significant time investment with an average match taking around 40 minutes. Having a smurf crush everyone else in a game may result in new players leaving altogether. Dota 2 smurfs can also be abusive and toxic, using backup accounts to avoid punishments.

Dota 2 pros have previously advocated for smurfing, however. Because all casual Dota 2 games can be spectated and have replays downloaded, many pro players try new strategies on an alternate account to avoid having it noticed by competitors. Others including Wagamama say they only have a smurf to avoid issues with Dota 2’s matchmaking.

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Written by Bilawal Bashir

Bilawal is a software engineer who loves video games, comic books, and anime. But he will never love pineapple on pizza. In over two decades of gaming, he has only broken two controllers. His work has also been featured by TheGamer and WhatIfGaming.

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