Valve has said it will "not tolerate racist language between pro players in any form" after two separate incidents directed at Chinese teams during professional DOTA 2 matches.
Andrei "skem" Ong from Complexity Gaming was formally reprimanded by his team -- receiving the maximum fine -- for a racist comment he made towards Chinese team Royal Never Give Up during the DreamLeague tournament earlier this month.
Just days later, Carlo "Kuku" Palad from TNC Pro Team used the same slur during another match, which resulted in thousands of Chinese players review-bombing DOTA 2 on Steam after Valve failed to take action against either player.
We have been made aware of an inappropriate comment by one of our players in todayâ€™s #coLDota#DreamLeague match. Complexity Gaming does not condone intolerance of any kind and the player will receive a formal reprimand, as well as a maximum fine.— Complexity Gaming (@compLexity) November 1, 2018
With DOTA 2 receiving over 6,000 negative reviews since November 7, Valve has issued a statement addressing "damaging" behaviour which "pits fans against each other" and "belittles and demeans entire groups".
Valve claims to have spent the "past few days" talking with pro players and community leaders about the problem.
Despite offering strong words against racism, it placed the onus on teams to hold players accountable and be "prepared to follow up with strong punishments".
"We've always had an approach of letting the players be themselves, and to express themselves freely," said Valve's DOTA team in a blog post. "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."