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Valve permanently bans over 40K Dota 2 cheaters

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Valve, the publisher behind the popular video game Dota 2, has announced that it has permanently banned over 40,000 accounts for exploiting third-party software.

The third-party cheat program was said to have given players access to hidden data within the Dota 2 client to give them advantages in matches.

Although Valve did not elaborate further on this information, there have been multiple reports of players being aware when they are within enemy ward vision.

Possessing such knowledge would give teams a significant edge on the field, allowing them to anticipate their opponents’ movements and reactions better.

In their latest official blog post, the Dota 2 team announced that after discovering how the cheats worked, Valve set a “honeypot” trap in a recent game patch to identify anyone trying to use third-party cheat software. Valve explained that “every ban was well-deserved.”

Valve told the public about the move via the Dota 2 website and social media, announcing on February 21 that it would be effective immediately. These bans are part of a larger attempt to clean up the game after discovering and fixing the underlying flaws that made cheating possible.

While 40,000 isn’t a large number for a game with a daily peak of approximately 600,000 players on Steam, it’s still significant. If these accounts belonged to active gamers, the player base would have decreased by over seven percent.

The publisher claimed that the fight against cheaters and cheat developers is typically conducted secretly but hoped to make this example public to clarify their stance.

Valve concluded its announcement by warning that no one will be immune to the ban. Anyone who runs any application that reads data from the Dota 2 client while playing the game will be permanently banned going forward.

The ban also extends to professional players. The publisher said they would prohibit pro players from participating in any Valve competitive events if they found that their accounts used cheating software.

At this time, it is unknown whether or not any professional player accounts have been banned. However, Tundra esports captain Wu “Sneyking” Jingjun said it would be “spicy” if it happened.

Rampant cheating

Since December 2022, the Dota community and several well-known players have come together to share information and try to get Valve’s attention on widespread cheating and hacking problems.

Four cheating software, the earliest of which dates back to 2020, were discovered to be fully functional in Dota 2, demonstrating how far behind Valve was in updating its anti-cheat technologies.

Even in the professional world, there were allegations of pro players using cheating software. In early January, the Knights, a team from China, was suspected of map hacking, and the community was left wondering how they managed to qualify for the Lima Major.

A caster noticed the team’s incredible precision in neutralizing wards and strange movements throughout the map. The host of the Chinese DPC, Perfect World, then conducted an inquiry on the claims and sent its findings to Valve.

After viewing the video summarizing the allegations, Sneyking felt that the evidence against Knights appeared to be “pretty damning.” Although Sneyking hadn’t watched all of their games, he concluded that they were de-warding and placing themselves in a way typical for teams with a Slark, a hero who can recognize wards.