The topic of smurfing has consistently been a dividing issue for League of Legends (LoL) gamers. The practice involves creating a secondary account to play the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game.
Basically, you’re smurfing if you’re using an alternate account with a lower rank to play with other players who are not in the same tier as you. Smurfing has also become an entire industry where individuals or companies such as Unranked LoL Accounts sell smurf accounts to players who can’t invest time in ranking their profiles.
“Smurf” and “smurfing” were reportedly coined in 1996 when two professional players have mastered the game so much that they had to create unrecognizable accounts since only a few people wanted to play with them. They ended up going with “Smurfette” and “Papa Smurf” as account names and the moniker stuck to the practice.
There are two primary types of smurf accounts:
- Low-Level Smurfs – This type pertains to players who are just looking for more fun and less competitive games. Their primary accounts typically aren’t in the highest ranks.
- Elo Smurfs – This one, on the other hand, are high-ranked players who want to disguise their actual skills and levels. A few gamers in this category have sinister motives, and they just want to undermine other people’s gaming experience.
Riot at Riot?
A significant portion of LoL players practice smurfing. Riot has even dedicated a page in its support blog to address the issue.
The company has confirmed that they aren’t proactively removing smurfs from the game. However, they are also taking new measures to protect Clash, their competitive team-based tournament system, and ensure that teams in lower levels aren’t unfairly pitted against opponents who are out to game the system.
One suggested method of addressing the issue of smurfing is by allowing people to buy level 30 accounts. It seems reasonable and straightforward enough, but Riot may have already thought about this easy fix and saw potential vulnerabilities that will lead to an even worse gameplay experience for players that’s why they haven’t considered rolling out this feature.
Other Reasons for Smurfing
While some people may see this practice as unethical, most players who smurf have less-than-menacing motives for smurfing using unranked accounts. Here are some reasons why they do it:
- Have Innocent Fun
Highly-competitive games can be taxing on a player, especially during clashes when your heart gets pumping hard and you get an adrenaline rush. Sometimes, though, being too focused on the win for fear of being demoted to a lower tier can take the fun out of playing.
Some people choose to register a smurf account where they don’t have to worry about their rank. With this, they can just play the game for the sake of it and not invest too much effort in ensuring top-notch gameplay.
There are times when you just want to use video games as an escape or a tool to unwind, so it shouldn’t be something that stresses you out.
- Play with Friends
The ranking feature of MOBA games like League of Legends makes it difficult for friends who aren’t in the same tier to play with each other. That’s why some people opt to create or use secondary accounts with a lower rank to be able to team up with their pals who are in the lower levels.
Video games are best played with friends who share the same interests. You can use LoL as a way to socialize and reach out to your pals. Plus, you’ll end up with a load of inside jokes, which can strengthen your relationship.
- Practice New Strategies
Some players use secondary accounts as a practice ground of sorts. With this, they have the freedom to learn how to use new characters like Xayah and Rakan or employ different strategies and team compositions, as well as go through various game modes without fear of the ranking system during an unfortunate case of a losing streak.
There won’t be any impact at all on their primary accounts. Plus, it’s a way to make sure that they’re ready to use a particular champion when playing with those who are in the same high-ranking tier.
It doesn’t appear as if smurfing will be stopped anytime soon. The practice had its roots on good, old-fashioned fun when two LoL masters had to create alternate, unknown accounts to be able to play with others who were scared of their prowess.
Nowadays, most gamers who use smurf accounts are doing it to enjoy the game either alone or with friends. It also allows them to learn the ropes of a new character and utilize novel strategies, as well as team compositions.