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Dota began as a user-made modification for Warcraft 3 and has grown into one of the most played online games in the world. Following in the tradition of Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, Team Fortress, Portal, and Alien Swarm, Dota 2 is the result of Valve hiring the community developers who built the mod and giving them the chance to finally build a full product out of their idea with the help of a professional team of developers and artists at Valve.

As for the gameplay, it’s a little hard to describe. The camera is set in the traditional RTS perspective, but it wouldn’t be fair to call Dota an RTS. And while each hero starts at level 1, and many times hits the level cap of 25, it wouldn’t be fair to call it an RPG.

Lots of people have tried to assign various genre names to Dota, but we think Action RTS is probably the most descriptive. And while we don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out what genre the game is inventing, we can’t stop playing it internally!

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Today's update focuses on improving the matchmaking experience with the restoration of Solo Queue, the addition of Phone Linking, and multiple other adjustments.

Quality matchmaking is a core component of an enjoyable Dota session, and today's changes work to address several issues that can affect the player experience when queuing for a game.

LINKED PHONE NUMBER

The first major change is that players must register a unique phone number to their account in order to queue for Ranked matches.

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.

There will be a two-week grace period from today during which players have time to register a number, but starting on May 4th, accounts without a registered number will no longer be eligible for Ranked play. 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. Online services that provide phone numbers are not allowed.

SOLO QUEUE

With the return of the Solo Queue, solo players who enter Ranked Matchmaking can now choose to be matched only with other solo players. Any player who selects this option will be placed into matches where all ten players are queuing solo.

PARTY CHANGES

Starting today, if a player's Solo MMR is higher than their Party MMR, queuing in a party will result in the matchmaker assigning a higher MMR to that player. Effectively, these players will search for a match as if their MMR were halfway between the Solo and Party MMR values.

While the current Party MMR number generally reflects the likelihood that you’ll win a given match correctly, we’ve found that when a Solo MMR is dramatically higher than a Party MMR, the match becomes extremely volatile, resulting in an unpleasant and uncompetitive experience for both teams.

Simply having an even chance to win over the long run does not necessarily correlate to having competitive matches, but this change will make it so the matchmaker is able to take into account both the party teamwork skill component and the individual capability of the players on both teams. With both teams having this same mechanic applied to them, the chance for each team to win over a large sample will still be the same as before, but with reduced volatility on a per-match basis.

MATCHMAKING BEHAVIOR

This update also includes several changes intended to remove undesirable behavior from the matchmaking pool.

First, being marked for low-priority matches now results in a duration-based ban from the Ranked queue, in addition to the current game-count-based low priority requirement. The ban will start at a low threshold of a few hours, and increase up to four days for players who are very frequently in low priority.

Next, it should go without saying that while the wide variety of playstyles that Dota players bring to a given match will always be welcome, intentionally ruining games for other players is never condoned. To help address concerns in this area, we've also added better detection for clear cases of intentional feeding, and will be applying stricter punishments to those who violate this rule.

Finally, we’ve also added detection for users that are botting, and with this update have issued a permanent ban to a large number of recently-detected bot accounts. This should help resolve several areas in which these bot accounts have a negative effect on the experience of the Dota community.

REGIONAL CHANGES

Ranked Matchmaking will no longer be available in South Africa, India, and Dubai. We will update these servers as the unranked populations in these regions grow to the critical mass needed to be able to support splitting the user base into Ranked and Unranked queues.

While there are some players that used these servers for Ranked, the low populations made them prime targets for various Ranked Matchmaking abuses. For the time being, players in these regions will need to join Ranked Matchmaking queues in one of the other nearby supported servers.
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