Dota 2 developer Valve Corporation announced today that they have reset and banned around 17 thousand accounts that were found to have abused the game’s matchmaking system. According to the developer, these were mostly used by ‘smurfs’ and account buyers.
Today we reset roughly 17,000 accounts that were found to be abusing matchmaking to get into ranked. These techniques were mostly used by smurfs or account buyers.
— DOTA 2 (@DOTA2) January 11, 2019
In multiplayer online gaming, the term ‘smurf’ is used to refer to an experienced or high-skilled player who creates a new account so that they are matched against inexperienced players for easy wins.
In Dota 2, these smurf accounts would also often be sold to players that want to play ranked matchmaking without having to grind the number of matches needed.
A significant number of Dota 2 matches have been imbalanced due to skill levels being skewed by smurfs and bought accounts, leaving many among the Dota 2 community frustrated.
With Valve now having reset those accounts, it is expected that smurfing and account buying would be heavily discouraged.
A number of users on Valve’s Steam forums have also reported that they have received 5-year bans for smurfing.
According to SteamCharts, Dota 2 averaged over 440 thousand concurrent players, peaking at over 729 thousand, over the last 30 days. The 17 thousand accounts Valve has essentially disabled would put a significant dent in those figures, but if it’s for the sake of a better matchmaking environment, then all is well.