Dota 2‘s stuck around for a good while now. We’re only a few years off from a decade of Valve’s fantasy murder brawl, with no signs of slowing down. But will Dota 2 be relevant in 10 years? 20? Will I still be doting over my MMR when I’m a haggard old crone, fending off water-raiders with the last good knife while I wait for the underlords at Valve to find me a game? Some unfortunate sods will certainly hope so. A new season comes with another ban wave – and these suspensions are nothing to scoff at.
The next round of serious wizard sports 2 has kicked off, bringing with it a host of new format changes. But some of you nasty buggers out there won’t have to worry about what’s new for a long, long time. Get yourself comfy: it might be a long, long time before your next match.
The Dota 2 subreddit has flooded with users reporting bans lasting a whopping 20 years. More fortunate players have likewise taken ripping the piss out of these troublemakers, with some even cruelly suggesting banned players earn time back from their sentence by playing Artifact. I don’t know what your plans are for the year 2038, but you can probably cross off “playing Dota 2” if you received one of these bans. Assuming we’re not all dead by then.
The first of these ban waves is targeting players with plummeting behaviour scores. These numbers are kept lightly hidden, viewable behind a console command, and track things like commendations, reports, abandoned games and such. If it gets too low, Valve decide you’re too much of a hassle for the community to deal with and give you the boot. Valve are also issuing lengthy bans to players who buy or sell accounts to cheat their way into higher ranks or use exploits to excel through the fantasy murder league.
Unfortunate players booted in this ban wave – and all going forward – will all have their linked phone numbers blacklisted. See, to get into ranked matchmaking these days, you need to put your mobile phone on the line. It’s a little bit more of an inconvenience, raising the bar for re-entry from “make a new account” to “make another account and find another phone, I’m sure your Da has one in the cupboard somewhere”.
For you sparkling examples of good behaviour, there are somewhat less harrowing changes to matchmaking this season. Dota 2 will now try to keep role ranks symmetrical, avoiding situations where – while both teams may have similar ratings – one team’s mid player has a substantially higher rank than their opposing counterpart. You’ll also be able to more easily report players who screw around in role pick, and Valve are looking at ways to crack down harder on smurfing (top players making a new account to roll over newbies).
You can find a full rundown on what’s changed, as well as further details on these hefty suspensions, over on Valve’s Matchmaking Update blog post.