Smurfing – the activity of a high-skill player creating a new account to enter low-rank matches and decimate lesser-skilled players – is something that is an apparently rampant practice. Game director Jeff Kaplan has offered up an official response to Overwatch smurfing, and that response can be summed up as “Meh”.
In a thread on the game’s forums beseeching the devs to combat the practice, Kaplan has explained that the team is more concerned with “boosting”, a practice where a higher skilled player takes a low-skill friend through the Competitive ranks. According to Kaplan, smurfing is shortly handled by the game’s matchmaking ranking (MMR) system.
“A few weeks ago one of the Pro Overwatch players created a smurf account and was streaming from it. We were able to watch his MMR internally and compare it against his “main” account. Within 15 games, the MMR’s were equal.”
While he does agree that smurfing looks bad and that action will be taken should the problem become damaging to fair play, smurfing “isn’t really that big of an issue”.
While we can agree with the focus on boosting, we have to disagree that smurfing is somehow less important. If someone wants to repeatedly smurf lower skill players, all they have to do is throw a few matches to make sure their ranking stays low. While throwing a match is reportable, it might not be enough of a wall to discourage the practice, especially on what’s essentially a throwaway account.
In our view, new and underskilled players are just as important to care for as higher skilled ones. On the same coin, however, player agency should take precedence. It’s up to players to adapt and try to make themselves better players, smurfed or not.
Source: official forums