Dota 2 artwork for the young Invoker Arkana

[Update]: Dota 2's Patch 7.29 has brought in a new hero called Dawnbreaker and major map changes.

After being criticized for years and years about how insanely difficult it is to get into Dota 2 as a new player, Valve has finally decided to do something about it! As a part of the latest update they have added a set of brand new tutorials and helpful learning tools, significantly improved bots and dynamic in-game tips, as well as community-orientated features like new player chat and even a coaching system you can trigger mid-match.

However, as awesome as all of these additions are, they all pale in comparison to the what is likely the greatest change Dota 2 has ever done - smurfing is now a bannable offense! In other words, creating accounts in order to intentionally play against lower rated players to farm easy wins is now strictly prohibited. This not only makes for a better new player experience, but is also going to improve the quality of matches throughout most ranks as the system will no longer have to desperately try to compensate for players that are obviously far better than their stated rank.

"We will primarily focus on new accounts created after today for which we have high confidence in their smurfing and game-ruining behavior," reads the developer update. "Moreover, we will also occasionally manually ban old pre-existing accounts that are clearly game-ruining."

"Furthermore, if you are found to be selling accounts, boosting or engaged in similar game ruining behaviors, your primary account may also be subject to a ban. To go along with this, we've recently increased our ban rate for boosters and purchased accounts. For cases where we don’t have extremely high confidence, but do have cause for smurf suspicion, those accounts are more likely to play with other suspected smurfs until we gain confidence to judge one way or the other."

So if everything ends up working as planned and the report system doesn't throw out too many false positives, this could herald another golden age for Dota 2. Whatever the case may be, it's certainly a solid step in the right direction, and hopefully the first of many such quality-of-life updates we'll get throughout the year.

Once the next one gets announced I'll make sure to let you know. Until then, you can read the full list of changes over at the Dota 2 website.

And just for good measure, I'll leave you with the trailer for the Dota 2 Netflix animated series. Enjoy!