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What Is Smurfing in Gaming?

Smurfing is a topic that myself and a lot of gamers know about, and it’s as disappointing and as frustrating as an experience for anyone.

And no, we’re not talking about the beloved blue characters from the 80’s. We’re talking about a whole new different level of toxic gaming culture.

What Is Smurfing in Gaming?

Smurf Cartoons What Is Smurfing In Gaming

Smurfing is an activity done in competitive games and multiplayer games. This is when a high-level player or a professional player even makes a new account and pretends to be someone of low level skill, only to decimate the entire ranked environment.

To put it simply, imagine Lebron James disguising himself as a college basketball athlete. He’ll put on a wig, maybe a fake beard, or hide the tattoos even. He’ll make sure that people won’t recognize him. By the time the game starts, he obliterates the opposing team single-handedly.

You’re probably thinking that the example is an exaggeration and might never happen in real life. That’s highly unlikely, to be honest, but in many online games, smurf accounts are easily made and you’ll see a lot of Lebron James’ running around in fake mustaches and a wig running around a video game.

Why Do Gamers Hate Smurfing?

For the average player, smurfing might not actually be a big deal because who’s to say who’s smurfing, right? You’re probably just going against another player in the same rank as you but who’s a lot more skilled than you.

What are the odds, right?

There is a fair point to be assumed here and that is no one knows which one’s an alternate account and which one’s the main account held by a single player.

In competitive games such as League of Legends, Dota 2, and Fortnite, lower skilled players parading around the lower ranks of the competitive scene are a common sight. It’s normal for these players to make mistakes because they don’t spend as much time playing the game as someone who’s devoting 18 hours a day to ranking up.

But when a supposedly new player is displaying insane levels of skills in a ranked match, you’re probably thinking he’s gifted or that he’s a prodigy. But deep down, you have a gut feeling telling you that this player is hiding something.

Smurfing ruins the integrity of competitive gaming because you’re having high leveled players gatekeeping lower ranks. These smurfs will ruin the entire gaming experience because they’ll troll and they’ll be toxic all throughout.

When Did Smurfing Start?

The origins of Smurfing can be traced back to the time of Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, where two Warcraft II players named Geoff “Shlongor” Frazier and Greg “Warp” Boyko were involved.

During those days, online games didn’t have online capabilities, so gamers used a program named Kali to create multiplayer lobbies.

Rather than wait for Warcraft II to match them with different opponents, players would just find lobbies with other gamers already in them. Frazier and Boyko were two of the most elite players in the game back then, and because they were easily recognized, their opponents would immediately quit or just kick them out of the lobby.

Both players had the idea of just making an alternate account with different names so that they won’t be recognized. The duo named themselves PapaSmurf and Smurfette (Fraizer and Boyko, respectively).

Now, Warcraft II didn’t actually have any saved replay features, so fans would just take screenshots as a way to brag about their achievements. This is how both Fraizer and Boyko chronicled their smurfing adventure.

The practice spread throughout the online game scene and more players have begun creating alternate accounts. Whether it’s to hide the player’s actual rank or to just troll around, these are just a few reasons on why gamers hate the action.

Smurfing And Beyond

Fast forward to the modern gaming present, video games are not without smurf accounts. Video game developers can only do so much to punish these players who want to spam alternate accounts and just be toxic until caught.

Free games such as League of Legends and Dota 2 are susceptible to these smurf accounts, but you also have subscription-based games like World of Warcraft who also have smurfs running around.

For games such as League of Legends and Dota 2, their ranked environment is toxic to the brim, and not just caused by smurf accounts either. You also have normal players trying to ruin the gaming experience of other players without smurfing.

Back then, smurfing was just a way to hide your true identity, but nowadays, the point of smurfing is to create unfair situations in game. Smurfs ruin the integrity of any competitive matchup or matchmaking systems as long as they are around.

Why Do People Even Smurf In Video Games?

There are a few reasons why people waste so much time into making a fresh account, and only one reason why smurfing is considered as good or harmless.

The main reason why a skilled player would go into smurfing is to buff up their ego. They get tired of playing against other players of similar skill level, so they decide to entertain themselves by being one of many suspected smurfs running around a ranked game.

This is obviously terrible thing and reason to smurf around because you’re ruining the gaming experience of other players. You’re not using your main account and go against other skilled players, but instead, you’re one of many video game smurfs teamed up with a legitimate video game team.

There are also ethical smurfs found in a few games here and there, and these are not the trolling types. Some people create a smurf account to teach their friends about the game and expose them to lower ranked players without intentionally playing their main account.

On the other hand, you also have people making a smurf account in other games to educate or create tutorials. These high skill players will make a video on how to get started with a particular game so their lower skilled friends can play and get a good headstart.

Ranked Ready Accounts In The Market?

If you want to know how bad smurfing is, there are providers out there that sell smurf accounts that are already ready to go for ranked games. These people create accounts, get them leveled enough to play ranked games, and then move on to another one.

Account sellers like these are difficult to trace because players who purchase these accounts will simply change their names and all that to make it look like it’s a real account.

Wrap Up

Smurfing is bad for the gaming community, be it in League of Legends, CS: Global Offensive, Dota 2, or other game. A smurf ruins matches and the overall gaming experience of new players.

James Stephenson

james stephenson profile picJames is a gaming and tech enthusiast. He has been playing computer games since the Commodore 64 days in the 80s. He has worked as a Broadcast Engineer with BBC News and knows a thing or two about building, fixing, and playing with PCs.