Why Stinger’s breach of Valve’s rules is problematic

It doesn’t happen very often but when it does, it hurts. Not just the player who got banned, but... Radu M. | 19. January 2024

It doesn’t happen very often but when it does, it hurts. Not just the player who got banned, but his team, fans, and the integrity of the game.

A few days ago, one of the most successful Dota 2 players in South America, known as Steven “StingeR” Vargas, got banned while competing in the DreamLeague S22 qualifiers. The reason? Account sharing. But how did Valve find out about it?

Why StingeR messed up

The reason is, as is often the case, Reddit. Someone posted a complaint on r/DotA2, saying that a player (or rather, a former player) from Mad Kings was boosting StingeR’s account. That player was the team’s carry and he is well-known in South America as David “Parker” Chote. His MMR is above 11.000 and what he did shows that not everyone takes Valve’s rules seriously.

In Dota 2, you’re not supposed to share your account with someone else and gain 1000, 500, or even 100 MMR by getting boosted. The rules of the game state that such practices are absolutely forbidden because they ruin its integrity and also the fun of other players.

There’s nothing worse than competing against players who are supposed to play at a much higher level. By comparison, imagine entering an MMA match at your natural category and having to fight someone who is 40 kg heavier. That’s simply not fair.

One thing to keep in mind here is that StingeR did not get banned during his team’s qualification match for cheating. Instead, he got banned for breaking a more general rule and disregarding it when he should have known perfectly well that Valve has been trying really hard to eliminate smurfing.

The player’s ban came in game 2 of the lower bracket match against Thunder Awaken. In the end, Thunder ended up getting eliminated as well after losing to Invaders. The winner of the tournament was Heroic.

It’s doubtful that Mad Kings could have won the event after losing 2-0 against White Dragons in the first match of the upper bracket, and then losing the first map against Thunder in the lower bracket. So Valve probably applied the ban intentionally during an official match, just to make a statement.

The management of the team responded to the situation by immediately dropping the entire roster. What’s even worse for StingeR, other than the fact that his reputation is now in shambles, is that he’ll have to create a new account and grind for months or even a year to get back to his former MMR.

Header: ESL, DreamLeague