Smurf Account Meaning: What is a Smurf in LoL? | RiftFeed
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Smurf Account Meaning: What is a Smurf in League of Legends?

Guides 02-03-2024 13:00

We take a look at the term smurf. What does it mean and how can you identify a smurf?

The smurfs I know are little creatures, so does that mean Amumu is a smurf? | © Riot Games

Have you ever come across the term "smurf" in relation to League of Legends or another game and wondered what it actually means? Well, don't worry, we're here to provide you with all the information about what lies behind this mysterious term.

League of Legends: What is a Smurf?

Cosmic Paladin Nunu
Who plays Nunu on a smurf account? | © Riot Games

In the context of League of Legends, a smurf is a player who creates a secondary account to either compete against weaker players or to hide their own skill level. Such a secondary account is often referred to as a "smurf account."

The act of playing on a smurf account is called "smurfing." This refers to the action of intentionally playing at a lower level than one's own skill would allow. It's basically a form of "undercover playing."

Where Does the Term "Smurf" in Gaming Come From?

Immortal Journey Shyvana
A smurf Shyvana player.... | © Riot Games

"Smurfs" are most well-known as cartoon characters created by the Belgian comics' writer Peyo. But what do the little blue creatures have to do with online gaming? In fact, this term doesn't directly come from the comic characters but most likely from Warcraft II.

The real-time strategy game developed by Blizzard was released in 1996, and at that time, online gaming was still in its infancy. However, even back then, there were players who stood at the top of the food chain. In this case, it was Geoff "Shlongor" Frazier and Greg "Warp" Boyko.

Shlongor and Warp kept beating up opponents in the matchmaking system, and at some point, people immediately left the matchmaker when seeing their names. Eventually, they decided to create secondary accounts. The names of these accounts? "PapaSmurf" and "Smurfette." And thus, the smurf account was born!

Why Do People Play with Smurf Accounts?

There are various reasons why players use smurf accounts. Some want to compete against weaker players to boost their ego and have easier games. Others use smurf accounts to play with friends who are at lower skill levels. There are also professional players who want to hide their identity to practice undisturbed or try out new tactics.

Sentinel Vayne
Smurf account and a Vayne main? Keep clear of those people! | © Riot Games

The Effects of Smurfing

Smurfing can have both positive and negative effects. On one hand, players facing smurfs at lower levels may feel frustrated as they have to play against superior opponents. This can ruin the gaming experience and lead to an imbalance. On the other hand, smurfs can also serve as a learning opportunity if seen as a chance to play against better players and learn from them.

However, in League of Legends, smurfs have a fairly bad reputation. This is not necessarily because of smurfing itself, but rather because many smurfs exhibit incredibly toxic behavior.

Dealing with Smurf Accounts

Cosmic Matriarch Bel
Smurf accounts are so annoying. | © Riot Games

Riot Games has taken measures to address smurfing. The matchmaking system tries to assign players based on their skill level to prevent unfair games. However, completely eliminating smurfs is a challenge as some players can always create new accounts.

It's important to note that creating smurf accounts is against the terms of service in most games. If a player is caught, it can result in penalties, including the banning of both the main and smurf accounts.

In conclusion, is smurfing inherently good or bad? It depends. Overall, the negative aspects tend to outweigh the positive ones because, regardless of whether a smurf is toxic or not, they disrupt the relative balance in a match. However, it's understandable if someone wants to play with friends, even if the skill gap is significant.

Lasse Lindner

Playing League of Legends since 2015, Lasse covers everything from patch notes to esports news for Riftfeed. He might be a little biased because TSM is his favorite team, but he tries his best to stay neutral.

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