Over the years, we’ve seen a variety of inventive strategies for removing bad players from video games, but Valve’s latest attempt may be the funniest yet.
Valve is on the offensive, cracking down on Dota 2 smurf accounts in a “bloodbath” it has dubbed. Valve is sending a surprise gift to Dota 2 smurf accounts, including those belonging to professional players of the company’s massively popular MOBA, as part of that and the newly published Frostivus 2023 update.
What naive recipients of the in-game gift, which is misleadingly described as a “seasonal reward,” don’t realize is that it contains a “highly toxic” lump of coal, which results in a lifetime ban. That’s exactly what happened to Dota 2 pro and streamer Mason “mason” Venne, who was stunned to see his account banned after unwrapping the Valve gift in a video that has since gone viral.
Mason shouts, “What?!” as he realizes what has happened. “I was banned?” What? What if I never opened it at all? “Are they for real?”
Mason confirmed and apologized in a follow-up post on the Dota 2 subreddit for employing a behavior score farmer to improve his in-game behavior score (Valve uses a behavior score system in an attempt to promote positive behavior and communication in Dota 2, which has a reputation for toxicity).
Mason has now asked Valve to lift his ban. “I completely understand what I did was wrong, and I know it’s a hard ask, but I’m asking for leniency,” he told reporters. “I have never done anything like this in my 13 years of playing Dota 2, and when I realized it felt wrong and was the wrong way to go about things, I stopped it; unfortunately, you can’t undo a mistake.” I’m requesting a second chance because I will never do anything like this again and have never done so before. There are no excuses; it was born of irritation, but just because we feel irritated and unhappy in our situation at times does not give us the right to break the laws.”
It’s unknown whether Valve will lift the ban, but it’s evident that the corporation is tough on Dota 2 players who abuse the rules. Valve explained its position in a blog post, saying it had some “bad news” for Dota 2 players on its “naughty list”… “because this year is gonna be a bloodbath.”