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DOTA 2 Matchmaking Update: Toxic Players Receive 20-Year Bans

Toxic? Say bye to DOTA 2 until 2038.

As the next season of Ranked DOTA 2 games descends on the player base, Valve seems to have a few changes up its sleeves. After changing the matchmaking rank (MMR) system and overhauling the matchmaking system as a whole, Valve has solidified the changes it thinks are necessary for the game.

The main changes in the update are regarding the previous changes to the matchmaking system. It improved upon new concepts that were introduced, with Valve taking a more proactive role when it came to smurfs and account buyers. These problems have been plaguing the DOTA 2 community for as long the game has been out. Can these updates change how the game is played today?

The Fall of The Banhammer

One of the biggest changes in the new update is the wave of bans Valve is putting on players engaging in bad behaviour. Firstly, players with a low behaviour score, usually under 1000, are banned from matchmaking until the year 2038. This is basically a permaban on that specific account, removing them from the matchmaking roulette altogether.

Any future attempts to join matchmaking using another account will also be foiled. Valve clarified that they will not only be banning the account, but also the phone number associated with that account. This results in a permanent blacklist for that individual, locking away access to the game.

Any parties in violation of rules against buying and selling accounts will also be banned, as Valve agrees that account buying results in a non-satisfactory experience for other gamers. They also mentioned that they have improved their methods for detecting when a player is abusing exploits to gain an unfair advantage over other players.

Smurfs also fell under the banhammer as bugs with phone number verification were fixed. Moreover, criteria for ranked access has also been changed, from 50 games to 100 game hours. Developers are also recalibrating the MMR gain for new accounts and detecting patterns to find smurf accounts before they can be a problem. This live detection of smurfs is a welcome change for many members of the DOTA 2 community.

Regular, non-toxic players have been accepting towards the update, but users whose accounts have been banned are flaming forums everywhere. DOTA 2 forums on Steam are full of complaints of players losing their accounts, and Redditors have even considered opening a megathread for all users complaining about the ban.

The Big Changes

Valve made changes to role symmetry after seeing how misaligned role picks could cause a non-optimal gameplay experience. These changes to the matchmaking algorithm takes into consideration the rank of each player in each role. This is aimed at making role picks in different teams more symmetric.

Speaking of MMR, Core and Support MMR, which were added in the previous update, have got an overhaul. The update allows core MMR to be increased when playing support roles, and vice versa, albeit by a percentage amount that Valve will tweak over time.

The developers also mulled over some changes that they could make in future updates, including moves like incentivizing players to pick position 5 hard support, punishing players who queue for inaccurate roles, and tweaking the update for high MMR brackets. Valve specially stressed on the importance of more players playing support, as many sub-par games were found to be due to sub-par supports.

Gamers have also begun coming up with ideas for possible incentives to be given to position 5 players. Proposed rewards include an Arcana or other rare cosmetics for matches won as a support and even additional MMR for a game well played.

These changes are sure to make a change in the DOTA 2 community. However, account boosting services have already adapted to the changes made in the update, and the effectiveness of Valve’s bug fixes for phone number verification are also yet to be observed.

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