Dota 2 is a game of skill and information. Players are often required to strategize around the data available to them, and an Overwolf extension has been helping Dota players by becoming their third eye.
Users of the extension get to see their enemies’ most-played heroes when they load into a match, allowing them to ban their opponents’ best-performing picks. While this may sound like an ideal scenario, the short end of the stick means some players rarely get to play their favorite heroes.
The extension has been a hot topic of debate within the community, with some players thinking it’s a cheat, while others disagree.
The main reason some users believe the program is justified is that it uses publicly available data. If a player shares their statistics with third-party tools, the extension will have access to it. Players can perform the same tasks the extension does manually, but it would take them 10 minutes to do so while the program serves all the information in a matter of seconds.
Players who would like to keep their data away from such tools are often advised to adjust their privacy settings, but that may not even be functioning correctly in light of recent reports. Some tracking tools have been identified to ignore Dota 2’s privacy settings, and the extensions in question can continue to work even if a player turns off public match data sharing.
Using publicly available data puts the extension into a gray area. More so than the data itself, it’s the availability of the extension that can make it look like a “cheat.” For everyone who uses the extension, there can be a player wondering why their favorite niche hero is getting banned every game. The program itself is free and available to everyone, but not all Dota 2 players keep up with the trends and the community.
Such cases can lead to frustration and impact the overall game quality for players who don’t use the extension or don’t know about it.
Valve has yet to release an official statement regarding the stance of these extensions and programs, but its main competitor League of Legends, also walked down the same path with OP.GG and similar websites. League players used to be able to copy and paste the names in their lobbies to these sources to find out the most played heroes of their opponents, and Riot Games solved the problem by an API tweak that prevented these services from accessing pre-game data.