We’ve all been there – a match where something’s gone wrong, or you end up frustrated with your teammates. But I doubt you’ve ever had the power to get someone banned over a gameplay disagreement, and it seems one Valve employee was unable to restrain themselves from doing so, as Firewatch co-creator Sean Vanaman has now apologised for giving out an unwarranted manual ban.
The situation began when Dota 2 player minijuanjohndoe posted on Reddit claiming they’d been sent to low priority – essentially a temporary matchmaking penalty – simply for suggesting a tactic the Valve employee didn’t like (via Dot Esports). “So can employees just send you to low priority for telling the team to let mid tower go and he just thinks its a bad idea?,” minijuanjohndoe asked, having discovered he’d been bickering with a Valve employee during their argument over tactics. minijuanjohndoe provided an image of their behaviour score to prove their innocence, and later gave the name of the player who had given them the penalty – Vanaman.
“The team looked into this case, and concluded the user clearly did not deserve the ban,” Vanaman said in response to the post. “Even if the user did deserve a ban however, we all think it’s clear that manually banning users is not a good idea because of how hard it is to be objective in Dota games that you are in. My mistake in this case being a sterling example. As employees, we should have no special privilege when playing Dota.”
Vanaman went on to add that as a result of this incident, Valve employees would no longer have the power to issue manual bans. “That has been the team’s informal policy in the past, but it has clearly failed in this case,” Vanaman said. “It won’t remain informal going forward – manual bans like this won’t be allowed anymore altogether. And sincere apologies to user u/minijuanjohndoe.”
Normally when a Dota 2 player wants to report someone else, they must use the automated report system, which can give miscreants a communications ban or land them in low priority queue if they accumulate several bad reports. Vanaman’s manual ban was an abuse of his position as a Valve employee, but at least he’s owned up to his behaviour – and steps have been taken to ensure this won’t happen again in future. “MO-BAd”, as they say.