Paying for Safety - Valve Rolls Out "Avoid Player" Feature for Premium Battle Pass

… In this year’s Dota 2 “Battle Pass” — a premium subscription that usually offers cosmetics and other optional curiosities to the game — Valve bundled one of the most important features it has ever created. Players who buy the Battle Pass can now use an “experimental” Avoid Player feature, which is supposed to keep toxic players away from you. Here’s a different way to say it: Valve is now charging players a minimum of $9.99 to avoid harassers.

Hopefully, this feature will be improved and made open to the public as soon as possible. But knowing Valve, that doesn’t seem particularly likely.

I’m just kind of glad I don’t have to put up with the DotA 2 community anymore.

i feel like im supposed to come with a snarky “haha its Valve what did we expect” but honestly im taken aback at how openly terrible this is? in the past with their, uh, hands off approach to moderation there was at least this veneer of faith for the idea that players will sort themselves out. but it feels hard to read this as anything but an acknowledgment of what we’ve kind of known for a while now, that all that was meaningless from the jump.

here’s hoping that this doesn’t become a norm for other games.

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“But, what if… we monetized the rot?”

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Didn’t Overwatch have this exact system before they removed it because people just used it to “avoid” everyone who beat them? Still shitty that it’s cost gated, mind, just that it seems more like people are paying for a different privilage also.

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Yeah, they canned it because it was distorting queue times and very few people used it to avoid behaviors rather than “I don’t want to play against widowmaker”. In one case a very high ranking player was basically confined to stomping on people at a much lower ELO because everyone at his rank avoided him.

I think this is a complex issue. It honestly seems more sensible to me to attach this to reporting rather than make it its own feature? Like, if I report someone for calling me slurs and wishing death upon me, and that report is processed correctly… why not just keep me out of queues with that person for a while?

I guess this is the goal of Low Priority, but it doesn’t actually get many people to stop being insufferable. Low Priority is just a slap on the wrist for more people or at least that was my experience back when I used to play DotA.

Here’s an idea, I’ll play against shitty people who can’t talk to me but I don’t want those shitty people on my team.

Just let me blacklist a user and never put them on my team. They have Steam IDs for a reason and they themselves do not seem to know how to use it.

Is Dota2 in such a dire state that if I blacklisted every terrible human I came across that used slurs or was just out right hostile I would have no one to play with? Are they worried Nazis won’t have anyone to play with or something?

Honestly it sounds like with a proper system in place shitty people would eventually be funneled into their own little buckets full of other terrible people and I’m not exactly seeing the downside.

Reminds me of how GTA V would silently move cheaters into cheater only lobbies.


Edit: does this mean if you block someone on Steam they can still be put into your party? What’s the point of having a centralized system with a block user function if that also doesn’t apply to the games???

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It is my understanding that DotA already does this to some extent. It will funnel people with bad behavior scores into games together.

At least I have friends who continue to play a lot of DotA who told me so, and my understanding was that their games improved somewhat a year or two back for this reason.

Matchmaking does figure in your behavior score as one of the factors. I get the impulse behind this but it can also trap you in a horrible vortex of ruined games with no way to get out because players with low behavior scores aren’t that likely to commend you for good behavior. Still better than Valve’s baseline community management, which is pretty much nonexistent.

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So after a lot of responses here, I’ve become kind of pessimistic about the prospect of any ability to both supply players access to avoid the toxicity constant in these kinds of games, but also stop people from abusing these systems. I mean, the only real answer is intense moderation, which companies like Valve and Blizzard can afford, but smaller companies can’t.

Do y’all see any solutions to this? Like, any systemic solution that can be applied?

More punishment for players who behave badly is probably harder to game than rewards for good behavior, but it requires a lot more work with little apparent benefit on the developer/publisher side. I think a lot of these games rely on whales for their profitability, so the devs don’t feel a lot of need to maximize the number of players by making the games more welcoming. Especially so in games like Dota and League where the barrier to entry (i.e. learning the game) is already so ridiculously high.

Which is a long way of saying I don’t really have any systemic solutions, either.