Valve bans 46 pro Dota 2 players in China for 'interference with fair competition'
Among the banned players were those from Knights, a team accused of cheating during the Dota Pro Circuit's Chinese regional league.
Dota 2 developer Valve Software alongside Perfect World, its publishing partner in China, handed bans to 46 professional players competing in the Chinese regional league of the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) for foul play and "interference with fair competition".
The bans were announced by Perfect World on Thursday (9 March) on its official Weibo account, forbidding the players from participating in any event organised by Valve and Perfect World, which includes the DPC.
Among the list of banned players, 21 were handed permanent bans, 13 received two-year bans, and 12 were given one-year bans.
The list of permabanned players include Luo "eGo" Bin, Vincent "AlaCrity" Hiew, Su "Flyby" Lei, Chong “FelixCiaoBa” Wei Lun, Xiao "XCJ" Chaojian, Wong "mks" Sim An, Xu "mmm" Ziyang, Yang "Yp" Yuepeng, Zhan "guoguo" Yaoyang, Kim "Unknown-" Jit Pin, Yu "BANG" Lepeng, Sun "Dev1ce" Yinhan, Shen "Xyz" Chao, and Cui "贝贝" Zijian, among others.
Many of these players participated in the Winter Tour regional league for China in January and February for teams such as Knights, EHOME, Dawn Gaming, Team Mystique, LBZS, and Team Flow.
Previous run-ins for some players
In mid-January, Knights was accused of using vision hacks to cheat in professional games in what is believed to be the incident that sparked the investigations that led to the bans.
The roster of Knights included Chinese players eGo, Flyby, and XCJ as well as Malaysian players AlaCrity and FelixCiaoBa. While the investigations were still ongoing, Knights finished third in Division I of the Chinese regional league and qualified for the recently-concluded Lima Major.
However, the team was by far the worst-performing squad in the tournament, bombing out of the Lima Major Group Stage with a 1-13 record.
After the conclusion of the Lima Major, Knights dropped a majority of its old roster and rebranded into Antarctic Penguins. However, all of its new players were included in the ban list.
XCJ and mmm were among those that received permabans. Yang "Ms" Yongjie and Lin "Son Goku" Shiyang received one-year bans while Somsak "Nevermine" Chanthavisouk was handed a one-year ban.
It is unclear what will happen to Antarctic Penguins' spot in the upcoming Spring Tour regional league for China following the bans.
"Perfect World Esports and Valve jointly decided to suspend the following players interference with fair competition. During the suspension period, they will be strictly prohibited from participating in all Dota 2 events hosted by Valve and Perfect World Esports," a machine translation of the statement by Valve and Perfect World read.
This wave of bans targeting professional players follows an earlier wave in February where Valve banned over 40,000 Dota 2 accounts that used third-party software in order to cheat in the game.
During that ban wave, Valve declared that "cheaters will never be welcome in Dota" and made it clear that even professional players were not exempt from punishment.
"Dota is a game best enjoyed when played on an even field, where victories are earned by skill and tenacity. 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. As before, we will continue to detect and remove these exploits as they come, and continue to ban users who cheat," said Valve.
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