Blizzard Explains Why Overwatch Smurfing Is Fine

By   /   Apr 13, 2017

The community continues to point out the rise of Overwatch smurfing, as well as the many problems associated with the troubling trend.

Smurfs are basically high-level players who create new accounts for various reasons. This can be because their main account got banned, they want a secondary account as backup, or are simply interested in a fresh start.

The reset of the internal matchmaking means that smurfs are bound to be matched against newcomers or those fairly placed in the lower rungs of the ladder. Naturally, there is a large difference in terms of skill and smurfs progress by stomping low-level opponents who are unfortunate enough to be matched in such games.

However, Blizzard is not at all bothered by the problems of Overwatch smurfing. Responding to a thread on the official forums, game director Jeff Kaplan quoted an example to explain why there is no reason for the developer to take bold steps against such players.

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. I know there is a very bad perception of Smurfing. But the reality is, skilled players are moved rapidly out of lower skill situations.

In that light, Blizzard does not consider smurfing to be cheating in Overwatch. However, it does hold stern rules against Boosting. Highly skilled players smurfing on other accounts to help increase their ranking is punishable in the eyes of the company.

“There is nothing about Boosting that is acceptable and we want you to know that we are taking great efforts to minimize the impact on “fair” players,” said the developer.

In January, a similar thread prompted Kaplan to explain that Overwatch features an impressive robust matchmaking system. It is designed to quickly and accurately decipher the actual skill-level of a player and determine whether they are smurfing or not. If so, they get placed in longer queue times.

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