Valve has come bearing great news for ranked Dota games. Many players have expressed frustration with matchmaking – getting smurfs, toxic teammates, getting premade groups in your team and/or the enemy team even in solo queue.

Valve has added mechanics to improve matchmaking in Dota. Image from Dota2 Blog

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) was the first to introduce Prime Matchmaking, which involved a separate competitive queue for players who verify their accounts with their phone numbers. While this obviously can be circumvented, it definitely made my experience in competitive matchmaking much better. Of course it makes sense for Valve to follow suit for Dota. Here’s what they’ve introduced this patch:

  • Phone Number Linking
    Each account can be linked to a phone number. Each phone number can only have one account tied to it. This prevents people from using smurfs in ranked matches. From 4th May onwards, you MUST have a linked phone number to play ranked games.
  • Solo Matchmaking
    Is now actually SOLO if you choose the setting. This means when you choose to, all 10 players in the game will have queued solo – unlike previously where you could be queued with premade groups (which I honestly do not like because they have separate ratings for solo and party)
  • Stricter Punishment for Player Behavior
    Getting low priority now puts players on a time ban from ranked queues. Additionally, they claim to improve detection for intentional feeding, and will hand out stricter punishment for those caught. Last – they’ve added detection to botting as well. I’ve personally not have encountered them but I believe there are bot matches that are used to artificially create high MMR accounts for sale, which is definitely an issue.
  • Regional Matchmaking Changes
    Ranked queues in South Africa, India and Dubai have been disabled for the time being due to a low number of players. These regions having low populations created an opportunity for MMR abuse, so this is partially to address those issues as well.

Overall, these changes by Valve should make your solo queue experience better. It’s quite refreshing to see all these updates for Dota, and we’re seeing the game evolve and become better with each patch.