Valve Combats Smurfing by Gifting Players ‘Toxic Lump of Coal’ Surprise during Frostivus


Valve Gifts Mason a Perma Ban With New Frostivus Update

Valve Combats Smurfing by Gifting Players ‘Toxic Lump of Coal’ Surprise

Dorjee Palzang
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Frostivus arrived in Dota 2 on 15th December and with it, another wave of bans were dished out in the form of gifts.
Dota 2 streamer mason was one of the many who were permabanned by the "Highly Toxic Lump of Coal" surprise from Valve.

With the release of Patch 7.35, the Dota 2 community was greeted with a special Frostivus gift. While some players received sets and items that they appreciated, some players received warnings and bans disguised in the form of “Toxic Lump of Coal” and “Highly Toxic Lump of Coal,” respectively. 

The Toxic Lump of Coal issued a formal warning to the players and stressed the imminent ban on continued suspicious activity. However, those who were the recipients of the “Highly Toxic Lump of Coal” gift from Valve were issued a permanent ban. 

One such permanent ban has caught the community's attention and the player’s reaction has been doing the rounds on social media. Mason "mason" Venne, a prominent Dota 2 Twitch streamer and ex-professional player, recently shocked his viewers on Twitch by getting banned live for having an account associated with smurfs.

mason Gets Emotional Over Permaban by Valve

On 15th December 2023, Patch 7.35 bore gifts to the Dota 2 players for the Frostivus event. Unsure of what the Frostivus Gift was mason decided to open it on livestream but was greeted by the “Highly Toxic Lump of Coal” surprise. 

The description of the item read, “Your Dota account has been permanently banned for Smurfing or other violations of the Steam Terms of Service.

mason, unsure of whether or not it was a prank, tried to queue for a game but was unable to. To add fuel to the fire, mason also received a barrage of taunts in-game and was banned till 18th January 2038. Shortly after the ban, mason got emotional and started crying on stream. He later took to Reddit to appeal the ban decision and wrote a long heartfelt message for Valve to reconsider the ban.

Mason explained his situation and claimed that he had not been a part of any activity related to smurfing or so. But he took responsibility for buying a behavior score boost and explained, “The booster did about 1 day/10~ games or so and I believe I received a 200 communication score. I went from 6k~ to 6.2k~.

He justified his decision to buy a behavior booster pack. He added,  “I just wanted to play good games again and be able to talk to my teammates so we could do the most we could to win. I'm not trying to justify it, absolutely not, I'm just trying to show you what went on in my mind.

While this seems to be a hard situation for mason, some of the members of the esports community lauded Valve for pulling this off. Esports journalist Richard Lewis reacted to mason’s permaban and tweeted, “This might be the funniest thing I've ever seen relating to Dota. Well played Valve.

Likewise, Dota 2 personality Jake "SirActionSlacks" Kanner wrote, "After watching the Mason clip I have decided to not open my frostivus gift gl out there."

Valve Gets the Last Laugh

Wykrhm Reddy, a known personality in the Dota 2 community, took to Twitter to educate the community regarding the “ban wave” in the form of the Frostivus gift. In a post, he explained there was no discrepancy and the ban hammer would fall regardless of a pro player or a regular player, “If you've been naughty this year... there's some news... whether you are a regular player or a pro player... “

Earlier in September 2023, over 90,000 accounts that were associated with smurfing were banned. Adding more context, Valve, in its recent blog, said, “Since then, we've continued to invest in player behavior monitoring, on both the manual and automatic analysis fronts. Over the last few weeks, we've engaged in an even more aggressive ban wave, including many tens of thousands of smurf account bans today alone.

Valve made it clear that punishments will be handed out for smurfing, ruining games, intentional feeding, and behavior score penalties. In serious cases as masons’, players could get their main accounts permabanned.

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Dorjee is an avid Dota enthusiast, he has been playing the game since it was just a map in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne back in 2009, he transitioned to Dota 2 in 2014 and can't stop playing ever since!

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