The former team members of Newbee, a Dota 2 squad, have been officially banned from Valve and Perfect World events globally.
Valve Finalizes Ban of Former Newbee Squad
Dota 2, a fantasy battle arena game developed by Valve, has concluded one of its biggest match-fixing scandals on the highest tier of Dota 2. The former roster of Newbee, a professional team that has won The International in 2014 and finished as a runner-up in 2017, has been officially banned from all Valve professional events.
The players were previously suspended from participating in any ImbaTV and Chinese Dota 2 Professional Association events, which are two of the most significant organizations in competitive Dota 2.
Members Xu “Moogy” Han, Yin “Aq” Rui, Wen “Wizard” Lipeng, Yan “Waixi” Chao, and TI2 champion Zeng “Faith” Hongda have all been handed life bans from Perfect World and Valve events, effectively ending their careers.
Newbee has cooperated with the investigation and said in May 2020 that it had related all available information about potential match-fixing by its former members to the relevant authorities.
While some players have dropped out after the news first surfaced since May, Aq, Waixi and Wizard had kept on playing with a new team, Ink Ice, ever since they were forced out of Newbee in August, in the fallout of the investigation.
In the past, game integrity has not been much of an issue to esports betting fans, but this has now changed, with esports attracting multi-million prize pools.
Lack of Communication and Suspicions
Suspending players from these major events means that they won’t be able to participate in the Dota Pro Circuit, touted as the most significant professional series for any competitively-minded Dota 2 player.
Suspicions started circulating in February 2020 when Newbee was playing against Avengerls, another Dota 2 team, in the StarLadder ImbaTV Minor. After a series of misfortunate plays that professional casters explained as “something shady going on,” allegations of intentional match-fixing were levied and sustained against Newbee.
Newbee tried to defend itself, arguing that internal communication had been strained due to the pandemic. ImbaTV and CDA saw fit to ban the team’s manager at the time. It’s possible for Newbee to have been worried about their professional status as players, prompting the team to make desperate decisions.
As in sports, match-fixing in esports often comes down to financial desperation, and on some occasions, greed and impertinence. However, stilting game results intentional may have very serious personal and financial implications.
Australia treats such match-fixing instances as criminal offences, with perpetrators facing prison sentences. China and the rest of the world are still not entirely caught up. For starters,