What does Smurfing mean?

The Gaming Terminology: Smurfing

Smurfing, also known as “reverse boosting” or “de-ranking,” is a term used in gaming to describe the act of playing on an alternative account with a lower level or rank than the player’s main account. It is a common practice in competitive games and is done for various reasons, such as playing with friends or participating in activities no longer possible on the main account.

Smurfing has been a part of gaming culture for years, and its origins can be traced back to the game of Warcraft 2 in the late 1990s. Players would create new accounts with the name “Papa Smurf” and other variations, hence the term “smurfing.”

Since then, smurfing has become increasingly popular, especially in games like League of Legends, Dota 2, and Overwatch. The practice has both positive and negative aspects, and there are arguments for and against it.

Why Do Players Smurf?

There are various reasons why players choose to smurf, including:

Playing with Friends: One of the most common reasons for smurfing is to play with friends who are of lower skill level or rank. Many games have restrictions on who can play together, especially in competitive modes, so smurfing allows players to bypass those restrictions and enjoy the game with friends.

Re-learning the Game: Smurfing can also be a way for experienced players to re-learn the game or try out new strategies without being judged by their peers. They can do this by playing against lower-skilled opponents and experimenting with new tactics.

Higher Win Rates: Smurfing can also be a way for players to increase their win rates by playing against lower-skilled opponents. This is especially useful for players who are trying to climb the ladder in competitive modes and want to boost their statistics.

The Negative Side of Smurfing

While smurfing has its advantages, it also has a negative impact on the gaming community. The following are some of the reasons why:

Unfair Advantage: Smurfing can give players an unfair advantage over lower-skilled opponents, making the game less enjoyable for them. It also creates an uneven playing field, as the smurf player is likely to dominate the match.

Disrupting the Matchmaking System: Smurfing can disrupt the matchmaking system, making it difficult for players to find fair and balanced matches. This can lead to frustration and lower player retention rates.

Toxic Behavior: Smurfing can also lead to toxic behavior, as some players may use their smurf account to engage in trolling or other negative activities.


In conclusion, smurfing is a practice that has both positive and negative aspects. While it can be a way for players to enjoy the game with friends or re-learn the game without judgment, it can also be an unfair advantage for higher-skilled players and disrupt the matchmaking system. Therefore, it is important for game developers to find a balance between accommodating smurfing and ensuring fair and enjoyable gameplay for all players

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