ESL Changes Rules in the Wake of Valve’s Crackdown on Smurfs

➤ ESL’s Policy Update in Response to Valve’s Crackdown on Smurfs

ESL has made significant changes to its policies in light of the recent surge in smurf accounts and the corresponding bans within the competitive Dota 2 scene. The latest version of the EPT Rulebook (v2.5 17/01/24) reflects these changes and solidifies ESL’s alignment with the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) and Valve’s Anti-Cheat (VAC) system decisions.

The updated ESL rules emphasize that any bans issued by the ESIC will be mirrored in ESL tournaments. However, there is a nuanced approach to VAC bans in Dota 2. While bans tied to activities outside competitive play may be waived by ESL, contingent on the player’s future conduct on a new account, ESL reserves the right to uphold bans for up to two years when the reasons behind a VAC ban are unclear.

Dota 2 streamer Janne “Gorgc” Stefanovski has expressed cautious understanding of ESL’s autonomy in making these decisions. He emphasized the importance of careful consideration when lifting bans, particularly concerning players previously implicated in match-fixing scandals.

In a notable incident, Yaroslav “Limitless” Parhsin, and nine others were involved in a match-fixing scandal and account-sharing scandal at the Dota 2 Champions League Season 15 and were banned indefinitely by Valve on 19th December 2022. Despite this, ESL announced that Limitless would be allowed to participate in ESL-organized tournaments starting in December 2024, sparking controversy within the Dota 2 professional community.

✔️ What is a smurf account in esports?
A smurf account in esports refers to a secondary account created by a player who already has a primary account. Smurfing is often associated with unfair practices and can impact the integrity of competitive play.

✔️ What is the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC)?
The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) is a non-profit organization that focuses on esports integrity, including the prevention of cheating, match-fixing, and other unethical behaviors in esports competitions.

✔️ What is Valve’s Anti-Cheat (VAC) system?
Valve’s Anti-Cheat (VAC) system is a software technology used to detect cheats or modifications in multiplayer video games developed by Valve Corporation, which is widely utilized in games like Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

➤ Conclusion
ESL’s policy changes in response to Valve’s crackdown on smurfs and bans reflect the organization’s commitment to upholding integrity in competitive esports. The introduction of nuanced approaches to handling VAC bans while considering the impact on players previously involved in scandals highlights the complexity of balancing fair play and rehabilitation within the esports community. These changes mark a significant shift in ESL’s approach to maintaining competitive integrity and will likely influence other organizations in their decisions regarding similar issues in the future.

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