Is 'Smurfing' Cheating?

What is a Smurf Account?
A Smurf is a skilled player who creates a new account to circumvent the CSR system. The Smurf account will have a very low CSR despite being driven by a skilled player, and will therefore dominate all other regular players with the same CSR. Essentially, it’s when a highly-skilled player creates a new account (starting with low CSR) and just smashed people like crazy.

Why do people create Smurf Accounts?
They feel they are stuck at their current level so they create a new account where they dominate everyone in the hopes of powering through ranks and reaching a higher rank than previous. Either that, or they’re a self-entitled jerk who wants easy kills on low levelled players, ruining the matchmaking system in the process.

How to Spot a Smurf Account:

  • Is leagues better than everyone else in the current game.
  • Low Gamerscore.
  • Little to No campaign progression.
  • High CSR but very low SR (Spartan Rank.)This is not to say that everyone with this criteria is a smurf - but if all four are present, then the player has some explaining to do.

Is it “Cheating”?
Is using a “Smurf” account considered cheating, and are there any documented cases of punishment being given for this behaviour?

Personally I submit a report to Xbox for “Unsporting Behaviour” for every player I suspect of being a Smurfed account. The reason for this is because smurfing is circumventing the skill-based matchmaking system and causes much upset to the Halo community.

However, can we also report them for Cheating? Personally, I would argue that creating a second (or more) account to circumvent or “cheat” the system, is cheating.

I think using a smurf account to help boost players would be more in the cheating category, but just creating a second account and playing in the playlists isn’t cheating. They’ll eventually be matched against people around their skill level and Menke has been working on something so that happens sooner rather than later.

You might have a better argument towards someone who is just creating endless smurfs so they always stay in the placement matches. I know someone who does that in the BTB playlist because he’s just going for montage clips and it’s annoying.

> 2727626560040591;2:
> just creating a second account and playing in the playlists isn’t cheating.

Depends really.

IMO, If a player is genuinely creating a new Xbox Live account that they intend to be their new sole Xbox Live account then this is OK.

But if they’re creating a new ‘pure’ account just for Halo 5, and for all other purposes not using it as a regular Xbox Live account for gaming, then I’d label that a smurf.

I’ve always felt that Microsoft should maintain a “one account per gamer” rule for Xbox Live anyhow, specifically to stop this sort of circumvention or other matchmaking abuse.

They could just go back to making you pay for gold accounts, but they must’ve gotten rid of it for a good reason. I think a big question is how widespread of an issue is it? If it’s just a Halo issue, then I highly doubt they’re going to change anything.

> 2727626560040591;4:
> They could just go back to making you pay for gold accounts, but they must’ve gotten rid of it for a good reason. I think a big question is how widespread of an issue is it? If it’s just a Halo issue, then I highly doubt they’re going to change anything.

What do you mean “pay for Gold accounts”? You have to pay your XBox Live gold subscription but I’ve never heard of any other payment being required

You used to have to buy separate silver or gold accounts if you wanted to play on a second account before they made them free with the whole family account thing.

I don’t disagree that smurfing is reprehensible. That said, your definitions are not 100% accurate. It’s possible to have only one account and still throw your qualifiers to get an artificially low rank. Why bother going to the trouble of setting up a second account? Once you’ve hit Champion in any playlist then that will forever be your “highest rank attained” and who really cares what else their service record says? That guy is still a smurf. And the behavior is driven by more than just rank lock, but the “why” of it all is beside the point.

The problem with labeling this as cheating comes when you break it down into finer points. What about the people who have legitimately never played H5 before, but maybe played the older titles, or are CoD gods, are just plain good at shooters? They would fit your description. Also there are a lot of people who don’t bother with the campaign anymore - someone with little or no campaign progress is not necessarily a smurf. What about the guy who is a legit onyx/champ who goes into a social playlist (with their extremely relaxed skill-matching) and dominates there? That guy is playing the game exactly as the developer intended him to, no subterfuge, no false pretenses, but he’s still creating an artificially crappy experience for the less-skilled players he’s pitted against (or even for the less-skilled players on his own team, I would say). Why is it okay to do this in a social play list but not okay in ranked? Why is the rank somehow more important than the actual quality of the gaming experience? Why would 343 arbitrarily decide that blow outs are okay in social and warzone, and that “balanced” matches only matter in ranked?

And then, to cloud the waters further, there are players who are very inconsistent in the quality of their game play. Sometimes it’s about the inconsistency of your internet, sometimes it’s about the inconsistency of your girlfriend, sometimes it’s just what you ate for breakfast that day. But some people play like animals at one moment and then a week later can’t hit the broad side of a barn. Those people mess with the ranking system almost as much as a smurf. What they do may not be intentional, but it’s still problematic.

Quitting has become yet another very powerful tool for manipulating rank and causing the game to think you are something other than what you are, skill-wise. This is done by 343’s own design. Is it cheating if someone uses it to their advantage?

I’m sure I could think of other examples, but the point here isn’t who is cheating or who isn’t or to what degree - the point is that the system is too rigid and far too easily exploited. So many of the features of H5’s matchmaking were designed to prevent these behaviors, but they didn’t get rid of the game’s most vulnerable features, and the features they did change they did not change enough. This kind of garbage is as old as Halo 2 and I’m really beginning to think that there is nothing you can do to -Yoink–proof Halo. Sad but true.

It’s not cheating it’s another way of entertaining I only consider it cheating when you do that to boost another players

It is not against the Xbox Code of Conduct/Terms of Service to create and use multiple accounts. In that respect, it isn’t cheating, and shouldn’t be reported as such over Xbox Live.

It could be considered matchmaking manipulation in Halo 5, but that is a determination for 343i to make, not Xbox. They have separate disciplinary systems.

> 2533274842302174;8:
> It’s not cheating it’s another way of entertaining I only consider it cheating when you do that to boost another players

It’s only “entertaining” for the selfish idiot using the account; for everyone else in the game it absolutely sucks to have someone leagues ahead of you placed unfairly in your match.

If you’re creating a second account to purposely circumvent the matchmaking system then there’s no argument that you’re cheating; because you’re trying to “cheat” the system.

The hard part is detecting the difference between a Smurf account, and a genuine regular player.

> 2533274817408735;9:
> It is not against the Xbox Code of Conduct/Terms of Service to create and use multiple accounts. In that respect, it isn’t cheating, and shouldn’t be reported as such over Xbox Live.
>
> It could be considered matchmaking manipulation in Halo 5, but that is a determination for 343i to make, not Xbox. They have separate disciplinary systems.

it is exploiting game weaknesses therefore against code of conduct. exploitation is specifically mentioned under cheating on the xbox code of conduct.

making multiple account is fine and dandy but how you use it that determines whether or not it justifies reporting.

it legal to own a gun, but illegal to shoot someone right? same thing for owning multiple accounts.

I have multiple accounts. However, I created the extras for MCC, my primary account for that game (which is different than this one) has a level 50 so it takes a little longer to match up. Plus I like to keep separate gamertags for certain playlists to see individual stats better. (for example, I use one profile for just SWAT.) I will be honest tho, back when I ran an H5 company and we were grinding for the helmet, I definitely smurfed for first strikes and grenade kills. But with the helmet, now theres really no need to Smurf 5 anymore.

I think smurfing is a huge problem. If I was a brand new player to halo and got demolished by smurf accounts for a few games, I would just go return the game.

If the game allows you to do it its not cheating it could be considered manipulating the system

Like others have said it isn’t cheating. However deep down I feel as if it is wrong somehow.

It’s not cheating, but it falls into the morally unethical category, in my opinion. I’ve come across a great amount of people who have a terribly low gamerscore for the skill level they play at in Halo and their SR level is incredibly low too and those indicate to me that they’re smurfing.

I have no problem with alternate accounts. My problem lies with those who go to great lengths to rank them at low Bronze, then team with Onyx players to take advantage of CSR averaging in the match making algorithm.

FYI a Smurf account is just an alternate account. It doesn’t have to be a skilled player that uses it. In fact, I know someone who created a Smurf account because that person sucks and tried to pass off as a better player.

> 2533274848704527;18:
> FYI a Smurf account is just an alternate account. It doesn’t have to be a skilled player that uses it. In fact, I know someone who created a Smurf account because that person sucks and tried to pass off as a better player.

A smurf account is an additional account which a player uses specifically to circumvent skill-based matchmaking; usually, so that they are matched against players weaker than themselves.


Definition of cheating:"act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage."

Smurfs: - An account used to circumvent skill-based matchmaking; typically, so that the account owner is matched against players weaker than them - giving them an unfair advantage. - The practice is highly dishonest as it circumvents a system which is designed to fairly and honestly match you against similar-skilled players. - Smurfing has a negative impact on regular players, whose fun matches are often ruined by players trying to cheat the matchmaking system.How is this Not cheating? Whilst it’s not your typical cheating (Hacking, bug abuse, DoS attacks), the practice itself fits the definition of cheating quite clearly.

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