Valve has shed a little light on Dota 2's mysterious player reporting system, and apparently it's been rather effective. 60% of players who've been abusive enough for Valve to temporarily revoke their communication privileges actually see the error of their ways, or at least pretend they do, and don't go on to get banned again. Taming awful e-people, one muting at a time.
Valve's obsessive stat-tracking and analysis revealed that losing lots of Dota 2 didn't particularly lead to people quitting, but playing with loudmouth jerkfaces did, a blog post explains. So Valve set about fixing this, and in late April started disabling communication for peoples who were reported enough for unpleasantness.
The system looks at repeated reports over time, so players can't be 'banned' if one team simply decides to gang up on them and unfairly force a muting. If you're muted, you probably earned it.
Valve explains that while, yes, technically all players can personally mute communication from others, this "doesn't provide strong feedback to the speaker" and its data had suggested unpleasant players could be "rehabilitated" if they knew what was going on.
"Our data shows this is working exactly as we hoped – many players banned eventually reach a ban free communication style, and the percentage of players being reported for communication bans is dropping over time," Valve says. Riot Games has found similar results getting the community to self-police through the 'Tribunal' in its own Dote 'em up League of Legends.
Valve claims that "negative communication interactions" have dropped 35% since introducing muting, and accordingly reports have dropped 30% too. Supposedly, 60% of those muted (and less than 1% of the active player base has been punished) have pulled themselves together and not been banned again.
With basic verbal and textual communication coming under control, it'll be interesting to see how Valve handles the far pricklier problems of players intentionally ruining games, either by griefing or throwing the round and 'feeding'. Only recently it launched the Overwatch scheme for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which lets distinguished folk watch replays of reported players and judge their behaviour, and one imagines we may see such a thing in Dota 2 one day too.