Valve is looking to cut down on the prevalence of Dota 2 smurfing by adding an account verification requirement, your phone number. Smurfing is when an experienced player uses a secondary account to play against lower skilled players.
Starting next month, Dota 2 players will need a unique and valid phone number associated with their account to take part in the game’s ranked matchmaking system.
In a Matchmaking Update on the Dota 2 website, Valve says that “online services that provide phone numbers are not allowed,” so using things like Google Voice or Skype to get a phone number won’t work. There will also be a two-week grace period to get set up but starting on the 4th May, you’ll need your phone number attached to your account.
Also, if you think adding your number to multiple accounts will work by getting set up and then switching, Valve has thought of that too:
If a phone number is removed from an account after registration, a new number can be added, but there will be a three-month waiting period before the removed number can be registered on a new account. This is to prevent using the same number on multiple accounts.
This whole extra step of verification is to make smurfing a pain to set up that ideally, most players won’t bother. That is Valve’s goal in all of this, to make it just enough of a hassle that it will just fizzle out.
Players using multiple accounts create a negative matchmaking experience at all skill brackets, so our goal is to add just enough friction to this process that the number of players doing this will be noticeably reduced. Having more players using their primary accounts will have a positive effect on both Ranked and Unranked Matchmaking.
Dota 2 is available now for Mac, PC and SteamOS.