Valve’s very own MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), DOTA 2, is set to release a new update in which players will be required to link a phone number to their accounts to participate in any ranked matches. The goal of this update is to curb the creation of multiple accounts by a single user who may manipulate the rankings to their advantage.
This technique, called ‘smurfing’, is not new amongst online games requiring accounts. Frequented by veteran players who pose as beginners, or by those who wish to get around being placed in the low priority matchmaking queue due to registered bad behaviour. By using multiple accounts, a negative matchmaking experience across all skill brackets is formed, leading to the decision by Valve to implement the new update on May 4th.
Valve has acknowledged that a linked phone number will not completely eliminate the issue, instead they have stated that “Our goal is to add just enough friction to this process that the number of players doing this will be noticeably reduced”. Those who wish to play non-ranked matches will not be required to link a phone number to their account.
Players who have already linked an existing phone number will be asked to verify the number once more after the update has gone live. The registered number may be changed on the profile but will then be ineligible for use for three months before it can be registered on another or new account.
And before you ask, all online services (Google Talk) and fake phone numbers have already been vetted out of the system for acceptance.
The update will also come with the return of Solo Queue, a queue that ensure all players within the match are going into the game solo. This mode allows people to compare themselves on an entirely individual level. To find out more about the update, read up about it on the Dota 2 blog.