Smurfing means starting a new account in an online game so you can have an easy time as you’re matched against low-level players. It’s definitely a jerk move, but there’s some debate over whether or not it’s technically cheating. Well, now we have official word. Jeff ‘from the Overwatch team’ Kaplan says it’s not against the rules – as long as you play a certain way.
“Starting a new account is not against the rules,” Papa Jeff says. “Boosting or throwing is against the rules. If you start a new account and play normally, the matchmaker determines your skill level very quickly and matches you with similar players.”
That comes via the Battle.net forums. So as long as you’re playing on you’re own, legitimate account and not throwing games to stay in low ranks, you’re free to smurf all you want. Since you have to buy a new copy every time – at least on PC – I’m sure Blizzard doesn’t mind those efforts too much.
It’s probably appropriate that Blizzard has a laissez-faire approach to smurfing, since internet lore holds that the term came to online gaming with Warcraft II. Blizzard’s own old-school website says it’s “a slang term coined by Warp! and Shlonglor to mean good or famous players using fake names to hide from people then attempting to beat other players. It is only a ‘Smurf’ if those players win.”
Kaplan also recently discussed cross-platform Overwatch accounts on the boards, and how the team’s still trying to work out a solution for that tricky problem. More immediately, we now have the 1.28 patch with Busan to enjoy, finally letting us play the new map outside of test servers.