12% of the Dota 2 matches have cheaters

12% of the Dota 2 matches have cheaters

GosuAI developed a Dota 2 anti-cheat algorithm. It can detect if a player is using cheats based on their behaviour and the actions they perform on the map.

Note: Not official data from Valve. We hope that they will reach out to the community and share more info on the issue.

According to GosuAI, there is at least one cheater in 12% of our games.

The GosuAI algorithm is based on machine learning and currently isn’t able to detect all kind of cheats. They analyzed approximately 200k matches played by about 1 million unique players, and learned to spot cheaters who use zoomout, autostop of creeps, and items auto drop.

To detect cheating we extracted mouse movements and all the actions player perform on a map from replays. To analyse player behavior we aggregate several statistics like the distance between the mouse position on a screen and the place where the player’s real action was registered.

Then we use machine learning technique called anomaly detection: the algorithm learns from a sample of “pure” matches (manually checked by our Dota 2 experts for the absence of cheating) and then able to detect “suspicious” deviations from the norm.
— GosuAI

Cheats detected

Camera hack. The most popular cheat, used in 12.24% of the matches. With it the player can look quickly at distant places on the map, gaining a vision awareness advantage. Note that the hack won't detect ultra-wide monitor users as cheaters.

Automatic creep blocking. Only 0.1% of the player base uses it. A perfect creep blocking at the start of the match can give you an enormous boost, particularly in the mid lane.

Automatic items dropping. Used by at least 0.035% players. For example, dropping and picking back the Arcane Boots while using the Soul Ring gives you 75 extra mana.

Image: Valve

Image: Valve

The anti-cheat is still not perfect and according to the devs it has around 3% of false positives.

To classify cheating behavior and estimate the accuracy of our detection we asked our experts to review random “suspicious” matches manually and make a strong decision — whether there was cheating or not? Statisticians call this technique an acceptance sampling.

According to our current estimates, the detector has less than 3% of false positives (situations when the system erroneously blames player for cheating).

An ideal algorithm is hard to build because of the large number of unique situations. We offer our deepest apologies if your play will fall into those erroneous 3%.

If it will, let us know by sending a feedback through “This is wrong” button. As mentioned before, our algorithm learns on the labeled replays. So, the more feedback you will send — the more accurate our anti-cheat will be.
— GosuAI

Test the anti-cheat

If you want to test the presence of cheaters in your games, you can do it using their service.

Add their bot to your friend list in the Steam Client so it will be able to gather your last matches data. Afterwards, they will send you a summary of your games played in the last seven days, which will inform if and how many cheaters the algorithm found in your matches.

Note that as long as you have the bot in the friend list, it will continue collecting data and sending you reports.

Recently, RuHub analyst Yaroslav Vladimirovich "NS" Kuznetsov showed the community all the cheats available in Dota, hoping to raise the public awareness on the issue.

If the numbers indicated by GosuAI are correct, the problem is already widespread. Dota 2 is a very competitive game, so the existence of so many cheaters could undermine its popularity and lead to a big loss of players.


Header image (Transmuted Armaments loading screen): Valve

Vincenzo is an esports writer with five years of experience. Former head editor for Natus Vincere, he has produced content for DreamHack, FACEIT, DOTAFire, 2P, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.