Dota 2 players are about to have a much smoother time in their matches as Valve has turned its gaze towards catching smurfing players. The company today revealed that a 90,000-strong ban wave has just gone out targeting these accounts, and has also given a warning to anyone looking to go down the same path.
For those unclear about what smurf accounts are, they are usually alternate accounts utilized by experienced players to matchmake into beginner-tier ranks, usually hoping to get easy wins. Smurf accounts are also rused for cheating, quitting ongoing matches, and to grief other players without consequences for their main Dota 2 accounts.
“Dota is a game best enjoyed when played on an even field,” says Valve. “The quality of the people in a given match are what makes a match good. We’re invested in making sure your matches are as good as possible, and smurfing makes matches worse.”
While the ban wave seems to have has only targeted alterative accounts, Valve said it has tracked down the original account holders of these banned smurfs too. “Going forward, a main account found associated with a smurf account could result in a wide range of punishments, from temporary adjustments to behavior scores to permanent account bans,” it adds.
While this latest move targets smurfing, earlier this year, Valve also swung the ban hammer at cheaters in Dota 2. It used a novel honeypot method to catch game clients utilizing cheats. The move resulted in over 40,000 accounts being banned back then, and that number is probably much higher now.
Valve has been uncommonly active with support for its live-service games in 2023 compared to recent years. So far it has delivered a major map update to Dota 2 (with more features to come), Counter Strike 2 is almost here, and even Team Fortress 2 is receiving updates again.