A substantive new Dota 2 patch debuted late Thursday afternoon, just in time for an evening of MOBA action on the highest of holidays, and you’re probably not going to hear many complaints from players in Europe or the Americas. But the patch’s massive popularity in the West hasn’t insulated the Dota 2 team from criticism in other parts of the globe.
We’re not sure anyone was expecting changes like this so close to the Kiev Major, the second major Dota 2 tournament of the year and the final stop on the road to The International. 16 of the world’s top Dota squads will descend on Ukraine next weekend, ready to battle for the lion’s share of a $3 million prize pool. Valve usually waits for events of this caliber to conclude before publishing major patches for its ever-growing MOBA. But the nature of the Matchmaking Update, intended to improve the environment of toxicity we associate with ranked Dota (or any MOBA), gives the company a bit more flexibility than they’d have with a balance patch.
So what’s changing?
Here are the cliff notes:
Two major changes are coming to Ranked matchmaking: Strict Solo Queue and Linked Phone Numbers.
The first is pretty self-explanatory for longtime Dota players. If you don’t want to be paired with/against with existing parties, a new checkbox in the settings menu will guarantee that all your solo ranked games only feature other solo queuers.
Beginning May 4, anyone interested in ranked matchmaking must have a valid phone number linked to their Steam account. There will also be a three-month waiting period before that number can be registered to another account.
Getting sent to low-priority queue will also come with a temporary ranked matchmaking ban now. The first ban will be for a few hours but repeat offenders will eventually find themselves removed from the ranked matchmaking pool for four days. Valve says it also implemented new tools to better detect botting and intentional feeding.
Full details on the changes can be found on the Dota 2 blog. Over on reddit, the thread tied to Thursday’s announcement has already drawn more than 3000 comments. A similar thread of redditors thanking Valve also shot past the 500 mark. Almost all of the posts in both threads have been celebratory, joined by the occasional lamentation that Dota 2 players won’t have anything to complain about anymore. Some players even asked Valve to add the phone number requirement to Battle Cup registration. But not everyone is a fan of Valve’s newest policy.
Several users expressed concerns about their lack of phone and suddenly being “banned” from ranked play. Some seem resigned to switch to unranked matchmaking and/or hope Valve will implement a grandfather clause for experienced players. And some fans are irritated they’re being asked to add a new monthly bill to their lives to preserve access to the ranked matchmaking in a free-to-play game. But others say they’ll take this as a sign that it’s time to move on to greener pastures. And you can probably imagine how much sympathy the Dota 2 sub-reddit has shown for most of the people taking issue with the policy.
Head over to the Dota 2 blog for more on the changes implemented in the Matchmaking Update.