Dota 2 cheating case results in 21 lifetime bans, 46 bans in total
14 March 2023
Anti-cheating measures have rapidly become an essential part of competitive gaming and esports, and few companies know this as well as Valve. The studio’s flagship esports title Dota 2 was plagued by cheaters for years, which prompted them to create a so-called in-game honeypot, a piece of hidden code that lured cheaters into revealing their identities. The result? More than 40.000 cheaters were identified in one go, but that’s far from all. Besides handing out bans to all of these offenders, Valve has also announced 46 big bans following allegations of cheating during the Chinese regional Winter Tour of the DPC (Dota Pro Circuit) in January, including no less than 21 lifetime bans.
What exactly happened in China?
From January 5th, 2023, to February 4th, 2023, it was time for the Dota Pro Circuit China 2023 Tour 1: Division 1, a major online Chinese Dota 2 tournament that is organized by Perfect World and also serves as a qualifying tournament in preparation for The International, the biggest annual Dota 2 event of the year. The points acquired from DPC CN 2023: Tour 1 will determine which teams qualify for the Major Event and eventually, The International 2023. The Chinese event featured the best teams from around the world and a total prize pool worth $ 205.000 this year.
Unfortunately, this year was also marred by ongoing rumors of cheating, to such an extent that Perfect World and Valve conducted investigations. These revealed large-scale cheating throughout the tournament, especially by the entire Chinese team Knights, who grabbed a third place at the DPC China 2023: Tour 1. While specific findings of the investigations were not publicly disclosed, we do know that Knights was found guilty of using a vision hack, which allows players to see (and kill) players that should normally not be visible to them. In total, Valve served 46 big bans, including 21 lifetime bans, to all of the members on the Knights roster, as well as a range of other cheaters. Out of the remaining bans, 13 consist of two years and 12 of one year.
Unmasked at Lima Major
While rumors were going around about players at the DPC China 2023 cheating, it was Knights’ performance at the next major event that truly raised eyebrows. The Chinese team had already surprised many by finishing third in their regional qualifier and taking home $ 27.000 as well as a starting ticket for the Lima Major. Once the Major in Peru, which ran from February 22nd to March 5th, got underway though, the surprise only grew as Knights performed far below levels that had shown in their home country. They ended up bombing with a dismal 1-15 record, which only spurred Valve on to look into how the Chinese team had actually made it to Lima in the first place. Knights must have realized this as well, because soon after the Lima Major, the team was renamed and rebranded to “Antarctic Penguins” and dropped its old roster. It looks like it won’t change much for the organization though, as all of the players on the new roster are also included on Valve’s most recent ban list.