The banhammer is striking hard and fast in Dota 2 , with heavy-handed punishments being doled out for players who cheat, buy and sell accounts, or are toxic in the game. Some punishments are as severe as bans that last for over two decades. In the recent patch, most of which addresses updates to matchmaking, the issues relating to toxicity and smurfing came up.
First, Valve spoke about how this update includes ban waves going out for different groups of players. The first will be for exceptionally low behavior scores, which is to say, the most extreme of toxic players. Valve states that, “Users that reach this low level of behavior in the game are too big of a tax on the rest of the community and are not wanted.” The move should help curb toxic behavior by first outright removing the worst of the worst in the community and encouraging others to improve their own actions. While the game is free to play, such a ban would make any accumulated cosmetic items all but useless and can represent a large dollar value.
The second wave of bans will come for those who violate the Steam Service Agreement with regards to buying or selling Steam accounts. It is all too common a practice for a skilled player to create a new Steam account to play Dota 2, as both are free to access, with the end goal of selling that account to a player that wishes to be at a certain competitive rank without putting the work in or being able to reach it themselves.
Along the same lines, smurf accounts will also be dealt with if discovered. The act of smurfing is when an experienced, high-skilled player creates a new account so as to be matched against inexperienced players for easy wins. This can be used in conjunction with boosting, where a new player and a smurf play together, and both rise in rank by dominating the competition, creating a bad experience for players on the receiving end and falsely boosting up an account who would not have performed so well without the player on their smurf account.
Since smurfing is far more difficult to pinpoint, those accounts who are doing exceptionally well at low-levels of play will simply begin to gain rank faster with more aggressive shifts in Matchmaking Rating (MMR) to bring them in line with other players of similar levels of skill.
Some players have reported bans going until 2018, which the maximum period of time that developers can apply as a penalty.
While the idea is a step in the right direction, there is nothing stopping these players from creating additional Steam accounts. Original accounts are bound with an associated phone number, but this is not an impossible obstacle to bypass to create a new account. Hopefully the ban will be enough to remove most of the toxic player base, and at the very least it sends a strong message to players that such behavior is unwanted, and unacceptable.
Source: Dota 2 Blog