How far can third-party software help you before being considered fraudulent?
Stratz+ is the free drafting software of Stratz, the famous Dota 2 index tracking service. Once installed for free on your computer, Stratz can scan your opponent’s profile and give you tips for defeating them. These apps only use public information that is accessible to any Dota 2 player, but it still creates an unfair advantage over players in general.
So is using this online Dota 2 app considered some kind of fraud? If not, what is considered cheating?
What can Startz+ help with?
The first user should know what Stratz+ can and cannot do.
The application connects directly to Dota 2 and scans information about players connected to the match. The App will check the opponent’s ID with their public Dota 2 play history. This information includes all picked heroes and the opponent’s playing record. The app uses that information to give you advice during the drafting phase.
Stratz+ cannot control your game directly or automatically make decisions for you. It can only give advice based on available data. Players have the right not to follow these tips, but they can have a positive impact on the outcome of a Dota 2 rank match. For example, it can recommend which heroes to ban and which heroes to pick based on the opponent’s data, as well as when the hero is strongest based on the draft.
Stratz+ clearly creates an unfair advantage, but is it cheating? All of the data Startz has is, in theory, accessible to anyone, but it is collected and aggregated in a way that is not normally possible for the user. No one can open Dotabuff and view each enemy’s data in just 20 seconds using hero bans.
Many similar applications have been around for quite some time in the esports world. Some argue that their existence is obvious to esports in the digital age. Valve probably won’t let pro players use such a tool at the Dota Pro Circuit, but Stratz+ is still perfectly acceptable for general players to use.
If Startz is not considered cheating, then what is considered a violation? Valve announced that input and reaction macros have been completely banned. We can say that anything that takes control from a player is considered cheating, but everything is up to the game developer’s discretion.
How to hide play history in Dota 2
If you think Stratz+ users have an unfair advantage, there is a way to avoid Stratz+ exploiting information. Stratz can only get play history from public Dota 2 profiles. If you change your profile to private, the app cannot use your data to give advice. Here’s how to avoid being exploited by Stratz+.
To change your Dota 2 profile to personal, open the game and go to the settings menu. Open the Social tab and look for the “Expose Public Match Data” entry. It is enabled by default but can be turned off by unchecking it. Note that other online stats tracking sites like Dotabuff and OpenDota will also not get your match history when changing your profile to personal.
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