Smite Pro Players Nursing Bans Of Up To One Year

Bellona looks like she's smiting things in this picture. Shut up.

Five professional Smite [official site] players have been hit with bans ranging from three days to one year after it emerged they had been account-sharing – a violation of the game’s Terms of Service.

All five were suspended from the game although the length of the punishment varied. For Enemy esports’ Josua ‘Tocketty’ Romroth it was a first offence so a three day ban was issued. Contrast that with COGnitive Gaming’s Suharab ‘Mask’ Askarzada – it’s his fifth offence so he’s staring at a one year suspension. Robert ‘Lloydy’ Lloyd, Samuel Lee ‘Soulshiner’ Thomas and a player whose real name I don’t actually know, Vetium, were all on third offences and get a 14 day ban.

Where the bans are for six days or more (i.e. for everyone except Tocketty) the players in question must also obtain written permission to return to the professional scene from Hi-Rez. The two accounts which were being accessed by those players have been permanently banned.

As per the professional cometition rules:

“High standards are expected from every player competing at all times. Each player must follow the SMITE Terms of Service that he or she agreed to upon signing up for an account, including Item 12 (Online Rules of Conduct). Failure to abide by the SMITE Terms of Service may result in punitive measures, including but not limited to disqualification, suspension from future events, and/or termination of your account.”

The punishment might sound weirdly harsh – a whole year out of the game for sharing an account – but the thing with sharing accounts is that it opens up the possibility of things like letting other players artificially inflate your account’s matchmaking ranking. Problems associated with that are partly security-based because of needing to share login details, and partly about cultivating a healthy game for the players that rewards their dedication, not having low skill players popping up in high skill matches because they’ve paid someone to shove their MMR upwards.

We’ll have a more detailed piece about the player behaviour issues involved coming soon.

20 Comments

  1. Elliot Lannigan says:

    Testing 123

  2. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    As a matter of fact, the punishment sounds weirdly mild to me. Only three days for a first time offender and only fourteen days for a third time offender? Is that really all?

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      Wisq says:

      I can see going a bit easy on first-time offenders — like it or not, people rarely read the Ts and Cs, and you do sometimes need to gently reinforce those — but yeah, it should scale up a hell of a lot faster. You’ve told them they’re breaking the rules; you can stop slapping them on the wrist after the first couple of times.

    • Philopoemen says:

      And these are professionals, not just for funners. Must dmit I don’t play MOBAs, so I’m not sure how heinous account sharing actually is, but three offences shows they’re not learning, and a two week ban seems extremely light on. 5 offences should be a life ban, as he’ shown a distinct willingness to not play by the rules

    • bv728 says:

      I suspect they didn’t find any significant MMR manipulation, just toxic behavior, so they tagged them lightly.

    • Malk_Content says:

      It goes to a big jump, basically 4 warnings and then the year ban for 5 offences. One thing to note is this isn’t 5 accounts of that particular offence but 5 accounts of any offence the game finds bannable and offences are permanent record against that player. So Mask (for example) hasn’t been caught Account Sharing 5 times, but rather has been suspended 4 times for other things (trolling I think.)

  3. Philomelle says:

    This actually makes Smite look very compelling. If the worst offense they could ban pro players for is account sharing, the behavior doesn’t seem to be all-around bad.

    I mean, over in League pro scene, we have IWillDominate (who is currently cited as a miraculous reform case, but plenty of people theorize he toned himself down to not kill his Twitch-streaming cash cow) and this trio of special snowflakes.

  4. rcguitarist says:

    Maybe now they use that time to get real girlfriends, lol.

  5. stblr says:

    One small but important distinction to point out: while the players were banned for account sharing, the reason they were found out is because other players were reporting the account in-game for toxic behavior, which then led to Hi-Rez researching the account and discovering the various IPs using it were those of these five pro players. These players’ previous offenses weren’t for account sharing, they were for toxic behavior on their main accounts. Hi-Rez doesn’t do game-wide searches on accounts being shared by multiple IPs, so for those of you out there sharing an account with a friend, while you are technically violating the ToS, you probably don’t have to worry about it. Unless you’re a pro player. In which case, stop smurfing and being a tool anonymously.

    • Sian says:

      How does one get banned for toxic behaviour four times with increasingly heavier sentences and still not learn from that?

  6. Billzor says:

    Do we know if this is a widespread problem among MOBAs and their MMR systems?

    • Banyan says:

      It’s widespread enough that taking over a less skilled players account to inflate the MMR has its own term – “smurfing.”

      PurgeGamers, one of the most popular Dota YouTubers, recently had a game where a player got very angry after this team threw an early lead he had established and said he was a smurf. But that’s one game out of dozens of his matches, at the 95-97 percentiles of MMR. I once had an amazing match, at a much much lower skill level, where every decision I made turned out to be the correct one and an opposing player accused me of being a smurf, which was a great compliment. Honestly, I think people accusing others of being smurfs is worse for the game than actual smurfs. I also think people who pay to get their accounts inflated are idiots; they’re just going to lose and lose and lose when they take the account over again, which doesn’t sound like fun at all.

      • Therax says:

        In my experience, “smurfing” refers to a high-skill player, possibly professional, possibly amateur, creating an alternate account and playing on it anonymously. This could have any number of motivations. A benign one might be a desire to try out a new character or strategy in a “clean” environment, whereas trying to do that on their main account might affect how teammates or enemies play the game due to name recognition or reputation. The player might also just want a break from their notoriety to play the game (shocking, I know). Less savory motivations might include a desire to play in a lower skill bracket, and rack up “free wins” against lower-skilled players.

        I’ve never heard the “smurf” or “smurfing” terms used to refer to a lower-skill player sharing their account with a high-skill player, though. When its being done to increase the matchmaking rank of the account, that usually gets the “boosting” moniker, as in here.

  7. HumpX says:

    Can someone educate me on why account sharing is detrimental? (outside of professional tourneys)

    • jrodman says:

      Apparently it opens the door for people to pay for ratings.

      Though I don’t see the big problem with that. If people need to pay for ratings, the ratings won’t last. Do high ratings get you something in Smite?

    • Kemipso says:

      From a company perspective, account sharing greatly increase the odds of said accounts generating tickets to the customer support for account thefts and other related account issues.

      It usually generates a significant workload for the customer support, which costs money (and that kind of tickets is usually handled by experienced customer representatives, which a company doesn’t have in infinite supply).

      That’s not the only issue of course, but I reckon its one of the main reason.