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What is Smurfing in online games?

I understand that a Smurf account is a less-used account owned by a player with a much better account, but I don't understand why you'd want to have one in League of Legends... It's not like other games where you can use a Smurf as a Mule to hold your less-important items. What is the point of an accomplished 1400~ elo player having a Smurf account?

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marked as duplicate by StrixVaria, John the Green, Nick T, murgatroid99, Ben Brocka Apr 5 '12 at 0:56

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Not sure this was a dupe. The title certainly matched the dupe, but this was more about why one would smurf in LoL, versus what smurfing means. –  Sterno Apr 5 '12 at 0:58
    
Upon further reading, the close reason as dupe is not actually correct. It should still be closed, because it is not constructive, but it is not actually a dupe. :( –  StrixVaria Apr 5 '12 at 0:59
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What is a smurf account != Why smurf in game X –  3ventic Dec 26 '13 at 23:11

4 Answers 4

up vote 13 down vote accepted

High-ranked players (generally around level 30) will use smurf accounts for a few different reasons, some reasonable, others less-so:

  • Playing with less-skilled friends, or with friends who are new to the game. The high elo player doesn't want to instantly drag that person up against the type of opponents that they typically face, so they create a new account and play at a lower level.

  • Spending time with a new champion (or champions). This is less-true of very high elo players, but some players do want to spend time learning how a different kind of champion works. They will create a smurf account and exclusively play a single champion in a low-pressure environment. This is far less popular now, of course, with the Coop vs. AI games being available.

  • Pub-stomping is also, unfortunately, a reason someone might want a smurf. Some people like the utter domination that comes with being so much more skilled at the game. This practice is often frowned upon, but does still happen.

  • Pro players sometimes create smurfs to mask their identity. If you watch their streams, you'll notice they're constantly receiving friend requests, etc. And sometimes they just don't want to deal with it. This reprieve is usually short-lived.

  • As user22193 pointed out in another answer, another reason to create a smurf is if you change server realms. For instance, Team Solomid was high-ranked on the NA servers, but created EU-W accounts and had to get their accounts up to level 30 and their Elos back to a stable position near the top of the ladder.

  • M2tM: Smurf accounts can be played on if you decide to dodge a ranked game before it starts. If people in a ranked game lobby are making you nervous about your win chance and you close the game you are unable to queue for another game for at least 30 minutes. Your smurf will be available to play on, however. *This is now 5 minutes for the first dodge, then it ramps up.

There are other potential reasons (that should just be edited into this answer), but those are the primary causes for smurfing in League of Legends.

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It's a different account, a secondary account where you can try new things or just practice more until you become good enough to get up your elo.

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There is one other reason for a smurf-like account being created. With all the different servers League of Legends is being played, if you want to play on a different server, then you ultimately have to create a new account. This happened a few months ago when North American team, Team SoloMid, moved to the gaming house and decided to all create EU West accounts. The end result is you had 5 of the best players in the world creating lvl 1 summoners in EU West and generally destroying the competition in Normal games until they finally reached Summoner level 30.

On the Less-skilled friends, it is simply the game is more fun when you win. So if you want your friend to play with you, you want to do what you can to let your friend win that first game, and one way to do so is to lower the competition of who you face by being on a lower level account.

On the second point, I am guilty of this. My first summoners (main) I played most tank and tanky support. Since then, the metagame changed, and I had no experience playing carries. In fact, I lacked the runes and champions that qualify as carries, so I decided to create a new summoner (smurf) to only buy things for carries and focus purely on that style of play.

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Many people have smurf accounts that they used to gain level 10's for freind recruitment awards.

However, professional players often have smurfs they use in this scenario:

Top rated players (ie: 2400 elo) will sit on their rank until they're either passed or about to hit the 3-week elo decay, at that point one of their friends who is similarly rated will log into their smurf who will be about 1600-1800 elo, and duo queue. They can then stomp the opposing team and keep their elo up without risking decay. Other high elo players will often create smurfs to play with their low elo friends.

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