Dota 2

Valve Bans Smurfing in DOTA 2 in New Player Experience Update

Alongside Valve's efforts to improve the player learning experience and overall enjoyment in DOTA 2, the developer has made "smurfing" bannable.
Alongside Valve's efforts to improve the player learning experience and overall enjoyment in DOTA 2, the developer has made "smurfing" bannable. / Valve

Alongside Valve's efforts to improve the player learning experience and overall enjoyment in DOTA 2, the developer has made "smurfing" a bannable offense.

Valve made the announcement via DOTA 2's official Twitter profile on Wednesday, March 25. It summarized the update as improvements to "new player experience, featuring an extensive suite of tools designed to help anyone interested in learning more about Dota 2." A link to the news entry containing the full breadth of details was posted at the bottom.

Valve Bans Smurfing in DOTA 2

For those unaware, "smurfing" is the practice of an experienced player creating an additional new, low-level account with the express purpose of matching with those usually below their tier. It is often bemoaned by genuine new players as it prevents them from a fair competition within their own ranking—possibly denying them the chance to learn and the opportunity to move upward.

Interestingly enough, the term comes from identical behavior by players of DOTA's ancestral title, Warcraft III. Players pretending to be low-level took on the usernames "PapaSmurf" and "Smurfette"—which went on the coin a term the behavior as a whole.

In its news post, Valve wrote, "Starting today, smurfing will be a bannable offense. We will primarily focus on new accounts created after today for which we have high confidence in their smurfing and game-ruining behavior. Moreover, we will also occasionally manually ban old pre-existing accounts that are clearly game-ruining."

The company went on to explain how it will sniff out smurf accounts by purposefully pairing them with other smurfs until they determine whether it is safe or not. It encouraged players to report suspected smurfs using the in-game report feature.

"In the past, we leaned heavily on attempting to detect smurf accounts and move them to their correct MMR more quickly, which has helped somewhat but still causes damage along the way in cases of extreme smurfing." It wrote.

It appears that this new method will be the company's latest attempt at driving that final nail through the blue coffin.