DOTA 2 is a pretty big deal if you haven’t heard, especially in the ranked and professional scene. While DOTA 2 might have fewer users than some of the bigger MOBAs, like League of Legends or Heroes of the Storm, a passionate user-base ensures that their yearly pots at the world championship tournaments are higher than any other eSport in history, making millionaires of winners and losers alike. So you can understand why playing ranked is such a tempting prospect… and why developer Valve feels they need to protect it from the plethora of scams that currently plague the mode.
So a recent update to DOTA 2 brings us some rather dramatic changes to how ranked works, in an effort to curb “smurfing” (or high-skilled players crushing foes on low-level accounts) and upgrade general security.
The biggest change will require users to attach a unique phone number to their account, that cannot be used with another account until it’s been removed from the first account and remains unattached for three months. If you use an online service that provides free numbers, you’re likely set to face a ban, or worse.
Another fairly large change is removing Ranked Matchmaking from South Africa, India, and Dubai. The reasoning behind this particular change is simple: since server populations are so low, they were being exploited a great number of ways. Fortunately, what few honest players were actually there can still do ranked on nearby, supported servers.
Finally, Solo Queue for ranked is back, allowing people to get as far as their skill can take them with no help from friends. You can also ensure that you only ever get paired with other solo queue players, so you don’t get stomped by a well-organized team of friends.
I’d say these sound good, and certainly better than simply doing nothing and letting people run wild on ranked servers. That said, it also looks like a pain, and some of the most stringent restrictions I’ve seen a game make on the ranked servers. And I’m sure there is no shortage of people who’ll raise a fuss about it, too.
But smurfs are annoying and people claiming they’re a smurf “just goofing around” is even worse, so taking away that excuse justifies just about anything.