Valve Moves Against Smurfs, Dota 2 Accounts Must Link Unique Phone Numbers

By   /   Apr 21, 2017

Valve is taking immediate steps to improve the matchmaking quality of Dota 2 by addressing several issues that affect the player’s experience.

Last night, the developer announced that everyone must register a unique and valid phone number to their accounts in order to play ranked games. The decision is solely based on stopping players from creating multiple accounts, which leads to a “negative matchmaking experience” at all skill brackets.

While the new change is commendable, Valve knows that a mandatory requirement of a phone number will not completely eliminate the lucrative business of accounts being boosted by smurfs. However, it will help in significantly reducing the number of smurfs affecting Dota 2 by forcing players to use their primary accounts.

Starting from today, the community has two weeks to register a phone number to their primary accounts. From May 4, Dota 2 will no longer allow anyone without a registered number to queue up for a ranked game. If a phone number is removed from an account after registration, a new number can be added, but there will be a three-month waiting period before the removed number can be registered on a new account. This is to prevent using the same number on multiple accounts.

In another major change to the matchmaking, solo players entering ranked queues will be able to choose to be matched against only other solo players. Queuing for ranked games as a group will now assign a higher Matchmaking Rating (MMR) to the players if one of them has a considerably high solo MMR than the rest.

Finally, Valve is removing ranked queues from South Africa, India, and Dubai. According to the developer, the population is far too less to ensure a stable and healthy ranked environment. As such, there is no reason to split the player-base. Those interested in playing ranked in the regions must head to other nearby supported servers.

Valve is not the only developer trying to improve its matchmaking by removing smurfs, cheaters, and toxic players. In February, Blizzard forced South Korean players to input their social security numbers in order to play Overwatch from local gaming cafes. The move allowed the developer to isolate and ban cheaters, while making sure that they can never return with another account.