What is – Smurfing

Posted by John Jackson September 23, 2019 in ADVICE

For those of you not already immersed in gaming culture I imagine your first thought when you hear the word ‘Smurfing’ would be little blue people with tiny white hats. These particular Smurfs are not the ones I’m here to talk about, though they do hold a significance here that’ll I get to soon enough, so let’s get into it. To smurf in the gaming world is to create a secondary or alternate account with the intention to play against players below your actual skill level in a competitive game. This would be the equivalent of Lionel Messi coming to play football for your towns team under a different name just so that he could get loads of wins and enjoy himself, much to the detriment of your opponents.

Okay so let’s jump into the origins of smurfing and figure out why this act has been paired with little blue people with the aforementioned tiny white hats! The very first case of Smurfing actually documented could be found in a game called ‘Warcraft 2’ back in 1996. Two players by the names Geoff ‘Shlongor’ Fraizer & Greg ‘Warp’ Boyko had become notorious for beating their opponents mercilessly in online matches, so much so that the majority of players began to not play against them at all, leaving them at a loss. In order to combat this and get back to their fun they created alternate accounts with the names ‘Papasmurf’ & ‘Smurfette’ allowing them to once again play against unsuspecting players.

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Now that we know the origin, let’s talk about the overall view of smurfing within the community. The debate on smurfing has been raging for a long time now with many people claiming that this act is very destructive and ultimately ruins the fun for other players whilst the other side claims that it’s all a bit of fun and if it was really that bad wouldn’t games ban it? This here is the crux of the issue. Something like this is notoriously hard to restrict and thus far it remains ‘Legal’ in many if not all online competitive gaming. I feel it’s important to note though that many of the companies involved in publishing these games have publicly stated that they do not endorse or otherwise condone Smurfing, they are just unable to combat it effectively.

Thanks for reading and may you be blessed with no smurfs for eternity!

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John Jackson
John Jackson, also known as SlayerJohn, leads Esports Wales with passion and vision. As a seasoned esports enthusiast, John's leadership drives innovation and growth within Wales' gaming community. Follow his journey and insights on X(Twitter) @JohnJackson750 and connect on LinkedIn John Jackson.