Does anyone have an idea on how to fix Smurfing?

Keep in mind that many of the ideas being thrown out here may hinder smurfing, but any sort of SR anchor has a flip side. You’ll be locking boosted players into a higher SR where they don’t belong, so people just need to buy a boost once (or once per season) and will sit at their rank ruining games for as long as they want.

The proper solution is a combination of machine learning and bans. By manually identifying enough smurfs and feeding in the data, machine learning can be used to identify players who are alternating between sabotaging and carrying games, by looking for factors unique to this behavior. Hire enough people to monitor smurf reports and feed enough data to a machine learning algorithm, and you can automatically detect this behavior in a short enough time period to make it a relative non-issue.

Nothing will guarantee you never face a smurf, but if someone only gets 20-30 games out of a smurf account they’re going to hesitate to keep buying new games and leveling to 25 to cheat the system. Right now, they’re getting hundreds or even thousands of games before anything happens.


Isn’t that already the case? I see so many boosted players ruining games and it doesn’t seem like they drop really.
I can look past many little mistakes but big ones that cost you multiple team fights make me question their rank.
If I had to say a number I would say there is a 25% chance for one trash player on your team. Sometimes it’s your team often its both but there’s always is that one guy in the lobby.
Not a very competitive system if you ask me.


I can’t say I’ve been at a rank where I can conclusively agree or disagree; since I’ve peaked around 2750 I can discredit the bad players I see on the basis of poor placements. But, wouldn’t surprise me.

Just saying that many of the ideas presented in this thread would make it a much larger problem by directly preventing their drop.

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You say this every forum (related or not) If they reset MMR you’ll find yourself in bronze and/or crying about some other injustice the game is using to single YOU out…

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Imagine combining manual labor and machine learning in the same application :unamused:

Sub thought: Machine learning could possibly solve this but it’s not as simple as you think it is or Blizzard would have solved it already…

Edit: Smurfs in Silver/Gold/Plat already get matched against other players with similar performance stats. This isn’t as easily fixed when players purposely manipulate stats (Ex: throwing).

Determining an inconsistent player vs. a consistent player isn’t that simple…

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I didn’t say it was easy, I said it was the solution. Long term employee involvement isn’t sustainable because blizzard only cares about their bottom line. Any sort of SR anchor is a double-edged sword and will decrease game quality elsewhere.

Manual involvement when seeding the machine learning algorithms will help to ensure it is assessing quality data and reduce errors. It is not intended to be indefinite.

Smurfs getting matched against other players with similar performance stats is rigging, btw. If another way to deal with smurfs was implemented, maybe we could get fair matchmaking even past the removal of them.

Are you fine? This is going to destroy the game already that resetting mmr will destroy the game for at least 2 season.

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Incorrect, it’s like saying primary league teams shouldn’t play vs secondary league ones, which actually is the truth, they don’t. If a team ends at the top of their tier they can be promoted to the next one, and if a team ends up at the bottom of their tier they can be relegated to the tier bellow them.

Same thing happens on Overwatch, you can climb to the next rank but the ranks themselves have limitations so diamonds can’t queue together with silvers, and so on. So surely smurfs shouldn’t play at ranks they don’t belong in.


Apply SMS verification to all levels of competitive play. They already do this with top 500. But the issue with top 500 is these are typically high profile streamers who can afford to have multiple phone numbers.

But for the average competitive player, SMS verification works just fine. CS:GO does this and calls it… “prime verification”? They separate non-prime and prime players into separate queues so smurfs end up playing other smurfs.

So the technology is there. They just need to apply it to the queue system.

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  1. No.

  2. Also no. I have multiple accounts around the 4200 sr mark. Id like to play on all of them.

  3. I dont even know what youre trying to say here.

  4. Absolutely not. Ive hit 4500 SR before. With the new placements being capped at 3900 sr, this means id never reach my old sr.

  5. This doesnt make a lot of sense. Especially for players who may place higher than they belong, and them drop to the right sr. Its also been a long long time since Ive seen anyone drop 500+ sr in a season.

  6. Why? 50 “placement” matches? Decay is already gone, so this doesnt make sense.

  7. ???

Unfortunately, with your sr being around the 2000 mark, you dont understand how these changes would really affect people 3500+ sr. These changes dont fix the problem.

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Hey boss, funny that you mention that. Down in low elos I’m encountering approx 25% of games where people are just hard throwing. Literally afking. I play like 4 games a night, maybe even less. Odd how I’m starting to encounter this more and more.

No doubt they are throwing to either boost or sell accounts. And no doubt this contributes to what you are seeing up there. Just food for thought.

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That won’t solve smurfing because they will still have the alt account to Smurf. True they might have to spend a bit more time in their main to get it back to where it was but that doesn’t stop them from having a Smurf account and using it in your games. To stop Smurfing the game would need some kind of verification system (maybe a phone number) and when an account is made you have to put in your phone number and it can’t be used twice so unless you own multiple phones (not saying it doesn’t happen because some people do) that would reduce the number of smurfs. Just spit balling here but it’s a start


start brand new accounts at 0, not 2500.
reset everyone else to 2500 during placements.

The new people will climb up in short time.
the great people will climb up in no time.
The less good people will shortly stop playing against people way better than them.
Make placements actually matter.

The issue here is then you will have plats and actual GM’s together so they won’t even need to be on their Smurf, they will be in your games on their mains ruining the game for us until they climb to a point where we can play with them…then they hop on their smurfs…


Why would they need all of that? If they are able to consistently smurf means they either A. Buying low placed accounts. B. Threw to get down there.

Both can be identified based on patterns, location where they logged in on, etc.

I never said it was a perfect solution, but it would help reduce the number of smurfs because on console you can just create multiple accounts but if your phone number can only be linked to one then at least it makes so you can’t own multiple yourself. And on PC from what I understand you have to buy the game every time apparently. If someone sells you their account that’s a whole different story but would someone really sell you something if their phone number was attached to it? It means they could never play again until a) they get another phone (not saying it’s impossible/unlikely) or b) get the account back because their phone can only be tied to that account.

And to your second. That’s not Smurfing, that’s called throwing, there is a difference. If scenario a is put in place and phones can only be tied to one account then that means they would have to throw their main all the way down rather than have a Smurf account but then at that point they are ruining their own account and I doubt people would do that to their own mains (not saying it wouldn’t happen and not saying it’s a perfect solution but it’s a start)

And to this…what’s to say someone didn’t invite their friends over in a consistent basis to play overwatch? Its easier to make people choose one account by making them attach a phone number and having it tied to it forever rather than tracking IP’s and stuff because again…how do you know I don’t have my friends over every weekend?

Well, the thing is that too many people abuse it, and there’s no way to see the difference between the connection going down and you making it go down without installing a camera in your room.


I’m not implying that what you are suggesting is a perfect solution. Just the fact that people with new accounts isn’t necessarily the problem. If you play well in Quick Play to level up a new account, and then when you do your placements you’ll climb relatively fast.

I like your suggestion of forcing accounts to be tied with a phone number to do Competitive. That way if they are trying to sell the account it will create another obstacle. Time is money for a lot of people who sell or provide boosts. Make them jump through additional hurdles. I don’t like the idea of a singular account. Besides, many people have purchased alt accounts and leveled them up, bought skins, etc. You can’t exactly take those away at this point.

A smurf is more than capable of throwing to get to a low elo. I never said smurfing is throwing. Simply that if a smurf is consistently in a low elo he is then either throwing to stay low, or he is purchasing low elo accounts. Smurfs simply do not exist in low elos unless they are doing placements on a fresh account(and they will not stay there long) or they are actively abusing the system to be at a low ELO.


I agree with what you’re saying. I think people have to understand the idea is not necessarily to eliminate smurfs completely but to make smurfing much harder. Like any thing you can’t always eliminate idiotic/bad behaviour.

People who are trying to ‘engineer’ the perfect solution using technology have to understand people will always find ways around it. Instead we should focus on increasing the psychological barriers/workload. I could for example, buy a cheap tourist sim card or something but the effort of going to find and register multiple sim cards would outweigh trying to play the game.

I recall that Blizzard reported that Endorsement Levels have helped reduced toxicity in a game by 40%. I’d like to think a tool/system like this which targets players at a psychological level can be easier to implement than hard banning or technological solutions of AI watching your moves.

FYI one of my Bachelor degrees is in psychology and I have a background in marketing so I could be biased… :slight_smile:


No, it’s more like saying “FC barcelona should never play against my middle school soccer club”

There’s a difference between “competitive at different levels,” and “not competitive.” A diamond player throwing their hat into mid-bronze isn’t engaging in a competitive sport. he’s trolling.

he should be treated like any other abusive behavior in the game.