Smurfs and Cheaters

They are just running rampant in this game now. I’ve been supporting OW for almost 6 years at this point, and honestly I don’t know if I can justify buying the sequel if Blizzard doesn’t take significant action against these problem players.

It’s not hard to implement a system to mitigate smurfs, and it’s not hard to give us a system that actually identifies and punishes players using hacks and scripts. So I really hope there are plans to improve this for the sequel. Until I hear something that confirms this, I won’t be spending any more money here.


The problems you specify here are not unique to Overwatch but are common issues across all major online team-competitive titles. Yes it is hard to identify and implement measures to prevent disruptive players such as those who would throw games to keep their rank low or those who want to use third-party software to cheat. This is because players who look to disrupt games try to find ways to work around rules and guidelines like the Blizzard In-Game Code of Conduct. Cheat developers work around known detection methods and improve their software. Blizzard has a comprehensive hacks and risks team that works to constantly fight those efforts. If you see these activities in other players, report them. Note, reporting players because they are on a new account regardless of how good they are is not against the rules.

I do know Blizzard sees the feedback regarding disruptive players in Overwatch and they have recently said there will be new features and steps of action to help prevent and correct such behavior. I understand your frustration, but I do ask that if you see anything that breaks the in-game code of conduct, please report it.


I haven’t had ONE game tonight without at least two of them on the enemy team. I’ve been able to win one game tonight, every other game a roll or one I just left before it started.

It’s beyond ridiculous that they handed the game over to the cheaters and washed their hands of all of it. There’s no integrity to it and it’s definitely lost almost all fun at this point.


Seems kind of disingenuous to say Overwatch’s preponderance of smurfs and cheaters as something normal. It’s not.

Normal is seeing smurfs here or there, cheaters rarely. Normal is every now and then cheaters get a bit common, then the anti-cheat gets updated and the satisfying ban wave begins. Normal is, if you buy an account to cheat on, you expect it to be banned within a few weeks if not a few hours, if not within seconds.

In Overwatch, half your team is smurfs at least. Nobody even tries to deny it. “What rank is your main” is the Overwatch equivalent of chatting about the weather. In Overwatch, you run into the same blatantly obvious wallhacker you ran into last month.

I’m sorry dude, but this is not normal, except for on dead games.


hackers i would agree with but peoples “perception” of smurfs is something i doubt. i mean if there are so many “PERCIEVED” smurfs as people make out to be then that means there are TONS of high rank players that make alt accounts. while i agree that maybe a lot of potential platinum or diamond players have alt accounts that feed on metal ranks i doubt that there are TONS of master or gm players that do the same. not saying they dont its just that its more rare then plat-diamond smurfs

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I don’t want to say the presence of players who throw or cheat is to be excused because they are not. I don’t like using the terms smurfs because it really is misinterpreted by the community way too much. I choose to play Overwatch with a mindset of wanting to get better regardless of the skills of my teammates or opponents. I know this means not every match will be a win I can earn, but it’s really not worth stressing out about your opponents beyond the match you played them in.

Can you name me one game that does this perfectly? I think the one game that handles cheating reasonably quickly is Valorant, but even then they struggle to identify the latest and newest aimbots for days if not weeks.

I do acknowledge that some players are working to disrupt the fair play experience of others, and I also know that Blizzard is aware of it too. I also know they are working to identify the core underlying issues that incentives disruptive play and will work to put a stop to it. Again, based on everything we have seen from the devs post in the last few months, it does sound like significant changes are coming soon. Regardless, even when Overwatch 2 come and we do see new player social features that help encourage positive and honest play, I fully expect the struggle against bad actors to continue.


It really would be as simple as rewarding large SR gains for ‘overperformance’ on a given hero in any rank and less SR reduction for losses.

On top of that, simply track and internally flag players that have wildly fluctuating primary stats for rapid SR adjustments, e.g.

A Cassidy doesn’t go from 70%+ primary accuracy 5 games in a row to a string of 10 games they’re lucky to hit 30%+ primary accuracy… :thinking:

Blizzard needs to stop pretending identifying players intentionally lowering their stats is hard to identify and/or add systems to detect it mid-game (rather than relying on completed match stats where the player can even them out)… :wink:


I didn’t say there’s a GM/T500 smurf in every match. But, yeah, uh, most high rank players I know have diamond accounts at the very least–though admittedly not all of them are, like, doing it with the intent to stomp on lower ranks (a lot of it is stuff like; avoiding long queue times, playing with lower ranked friends, bucking meta slavery) it does, neverthless, become smurfing when they inevitably, on a whim, decide to try hard on an account that’s a solid 900SR below their main.

And let’s not dismiss diamond or plat smurfs. Remember that the majority of the playerbase is gold and below, so, perfectly susceptible to getting dunked on by a diamond McCree.

Mind, I’m not in the business of trying to judge peoples’ skill and divine their true rank in the middle of a match. I just talk to people. It’s not like this is any kind of secret. Just seems like most of the time when it comes up, people tell me they have accounts in lower ranks.

Yeah, match quality is for schmucks. We should just do away with matchmaking entirely and throw Little Timmy into the ring with Muhammed Ali. He’ll die, but that’s okay, because he has the mindset of wanting to get better.

Can you quote me the point where anyone, in this whole entire thread, said the solution had to be perfect? What are you even trying to argue here? We’re saying Blizzard needs to do better, not that they need to do perfect.


Blizzard does need to do better yes and they (like all game studios) will always work to find ways to stop cheaters and throwers, but your previous reply asking it to be possible for cheats to be banned within hours or seconds is something that does not necessarily happen unless you try using a known cheat by the system. Yeah known cheats quickly get identified and the account banned rather fast, its the problem is how cheats evolve. The same goes for disruptive behavior like throwing games.

This is how I feel. Some players just think this is boot licking. They can’t wrap their minds around the fact that despite disliking/hating smurfing and cheating, you don’t sit there and internalize it as deeply as they do.

I’d like to think I have put a whole lot of effort into identifying core issues with Overwatch and I have worked where I can to pass on critical, constructive feedback to Blizzard where I can, when I can. I am a player just like all of you, and while the green text does imply I have a strong relationship with Blizzard and many of the company’s team members, I will still voice my opinions but do so constructively.

I do a lot of research into the problems too. Most notably, the Fair Play Alliance is a HUGE resource that helps me better understand issues that affect Overwatch and many other online games. So often what I say is about setting realistic expectations, but also sympathize with player’s concerns with Overwatch. We all want a more fun, fairer game and there will always be steps to get there.


Yeah, then what is it? Some IP ban thing people like to bring up? How do you prove someone isn’t actually new (I know there’s like 1 in 5000 these days, but still)? And, of course, they won’t be telling people to not buy their product.

Or how about those whou would throw just QP games? Do those not matter? I know it’s subjective what is “throwing”, but if I see someone emoting in spawn, just walking around shooting walls, jumping off the map or walking up to the enemy team and spamming “hello”, I think that qualifies. I’m still yet to see proof it does anything, but will describe that exact situation in the report window.

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Two options, though I’m sure there are more:

  1. Require a unique phone number per account, with authentication.
  2. An account management system, specifically to cater to the alt/smurf community, that builds incentives to drive away toxic players.

Per #2 - I’ve probably posted this at least 20 times in the past couple years, but essentially allowing main accounts to spawn “child” accounts that can act as the current-day alt accounts do. They’re priced cheaper than buying the game new, and have incentives such as no minimum rank requirement needed to play comp. It also connects all your accounts, so if there’s a substantial drop in rank or other iffy behavior, the system can identify bad actors and punish all accounts accordingly, not just the one smurf account amongst many.


guys blizz wants the money, more accounts = more money

its been like this since season 1

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I know this is the goal that everyone in the community and on the dev team share and I appreciate the work you put in to help achieve it. However it does feel like our concerns are at best being ignored, and at worst being used against us to say that we’re wrong and should deal with it.

I think one of the biggest issues is how different Overwatch is to most competitive games on the market. Because of the way matches are designed, each team is wholly dependent on every member to pull their weight; a single player above or below the average of the lobby can have a dramatic impact on the outcome. This allows one bad actor, either by smurfing, throwing, etc. to curtail the enjoyment of the other 11 players in the match.

That dynamic doesn’t exist in many other games, so comparing Overwatch’s regulatory systems to those of other games is an apples-to-oranges scenario. Because of how interdependent Overwatch’s team mechanics are, this game should truly be the leader in the industry with how it handles toxicity and game instability. Unfortunately it’s far from that, so asking for a commitment to significantly upgrade not only the technical solution, but also how the dev team thinks about smurfing and cheating, is completely warranted and necessary.


I rarely see smurfs. I see lots of low level accounts but they are normally playing at the right level for the game. Tonight I got a genji smurf on the other team. Very obvious. Level 11 and destroying everyone and almost never dying. I suggested to chat that it was a smurf and if they agreed they should report. They just didn’t care. I asked if they thought it was a smurf and they said they did but it didn’t matter, even on my team. At the end one of their team said everyone should report me.

So smurfing may be a problem but trying to report or get smurfs reported could get you banned!! It seems a smurf is ok if they are on your team.

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I think this is one of the big reasons why the gameplay ruleset is going to 5v5. According to Game Director Aaron Keller from last year’s OW 2 PVP Livestream that the change is going to enable each player to have a larger individual impact in the match. Now if this can translate into winning 4v5 situations, I am not entirely sure.

Player social and behavioral control systems should never be the same across multiple games, however there are attributes from other games that can be reasonably compared to making any given game better. You are right that each of you should be asking for better systems to control disruptive play, and more importantly, more changes are coming soon. Please understand though, that it is important to look at problems from various viewpoints. This is why I don’t concentrate on the term “smurfing”, instead, I feel it is important to look for those who deliberately throw games for whatever reason.

In your case, a level 11 player likely does not have their hidden MMR for quick play fully established yet, not to mention this is in a quick play match where matchmaking is going to be much more wider already. Again if that player is trying their best, that is not a reason to report.

I had seem the same player a couple of days ago. They have not gone up in MMR level and have gone up about 5 levels. There is no way they should be playing at that level still. When I create an alt account I am playing at the right skill level by about level 5 or 6. By level 11 they would definitely be at the right level if they weren’t throwing some of their games to stay lower. Perhaps they were partnered with another player I guess is an option though who was a lower MMR. Shame that is not shown.

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to fix the smurfs problem is only , no more level 25 to play in comp , better get two or three stars in portrait to play comp mode