Valve has condemned the "damaging" use of racist insults by Dota 2 pros and warned teams that they need to dish out "strong punishments" to any future offenders.
It follows two incidents of Dota 2 pros using racist taunts against Chinese teams. The first, as noted on ResetEra, involved Filipino player Andrei "skem" Ong. His team compLexity Gaming said they had issued skem with a "formal reprimand, as well as a maximum fine" for the "inappropriate comment", which was made earlier this month.
Following another pro using the same racial taunt a few days later—this time Carlo “Kuku” Palad of TNC Pro Team—Dota 2 was review bombed on Steam, with most of the negative reviews citing the lack of proper punishment for both skem and Kuku. On November 7 and 8 combined, the game received nearly 4,000 negative reviews.
On Friday, Chinese pro player and coach Xu "BurNIng" Zhilei shared an email about the incidents that appeared to be from Valve's Erik Johnson. In the email exchange, translated by Reddit user WhoIsEarthshaker, Johnson said the pro players' comments were "very offensive and inappropriate", and that Valve would step in if a pro player that made racist comments was not punished by their team. It would also be contacting TNC regarding Kuku's comments, he said.
He did not respond directly to BurNing's call for "clear rules" governing punishments for racist launguage.
Valve did, however, write a post on the Dota 2 blog yesterday in which it said that racist language between pro players "is really damaging to the entire Dota community.
"It pits fans against each other, belittles and demeans entire groups and makes them feel like they are not as important. Going forward, we expect all teams who participate in our tournaments to hold its players accountable, and be prepared to follow up with strong punishments when players represent Dota and its community poorly."
Valve did not clarify what would happen if teams did not dish out "strong punishments" for racist abuse, or say what it thought constituted a strong punishment. It continued:
"We’ve always had an approach of letting the players be themselves, and to express themselves freely. That’s how it’s always been for a long time. However, we also expect pro players to understand that they represent the Dota community regardless of where they are. Words carry a lot of meaning.
"Some people may not agree or understand why certain words are harmful, but it doesn’t make it any less so to those on the receiving end. The language used by multiple players over the last week has caused many of our fans a lot of pain and is not behavior that we condone."
You can read Valve's full statement here.