Walking right over the minefield sign
Valve confirms it has permanently banned over 40,000 accounts associated with a known cheat in Dota 2. And it did so by creating a trap laid specifically just to lure users of that specific cheat out.
In a blog entitled “Cheaters Will Never Be Welcome in Dota,” Valve outlines how exactly this came to be. The company doesn’t name the cheat or what it did, but does confirm that the software was able to access information used internally by the Dota 2 client that “wasn’t visible during normal gameplay.”
Though fixing the cheat was important, Valve also decided to remove those using the cheat from the active playerbase. So as soon as the studio understood the methodology behind the cheat, Valve issued a patch that created a honeypot. A section of game data inside the client would never be read during normal gameplay, but it could be read by the cheats.
As you might imagine, this cordoned-off area created a ledger of users who were using the exploit. Valve says it has “extremely high confidence” that every ban was “well-deserved.”
The ongoing fight with cheats
As Valve highlights, the tussle between developers and cheat-creators wages ever-on in the shadows. While some efforts get the spotlight, especially when they head to court, it’s fascinating to see behind the curtain a bit on how Valve identified and trapped a bunch of cheat-users.
“We expect that some players will continue to develop and use new exploits, to continue to try to gain unfair advantages at the expense of other players,” reads today’s blog. “As before, we will continue to detect and remove these exploits as they come, and continue to ban users who cheat.”
Right now, the Dota 2 Lima Major is taking place, and a new update is set to be unveiled on March 6. For those who decide to jump back in, they can do so knowing there are roughly 40,000 less cheaters in the pool.
Related: Dota 2 fans call out Lima Major organizers for subpar production quality on Dot Esports