Rainbow Six: Siege is one of the fastest growing multiplayer games, and has been ever since it was released. All thanks to a dedicated developer team that is constantly changing and evolving the game in better ways, and to a die-hard fan base of players who consistently support the game in various ways. In a recent interview with Game Director Leroy Athanassoff from the Six Invitational 2020, he suggested the game may become free-to-play in the future, but the problem of ‘Smurfing’ is preventing the transition.
Smurfing?? What the hell is that? If you’re like me then that word means nothing to you except remind you of that weird 90’s craze where everybody went nuts over little blue people in white underpants and hats. But if you’re an avid multiplayer gamer - especially in the competitive multiplayer scene - you’ve probably heard of it, or at the very least experienced it when playing in ranked matches.
Smurfing is when high-ranking players create new accounts in order to reset their skill level and play against lower-ranking players. They’re essentially taking advantage of underleveled and underexperienced players and getting ‘sick’ killstreaks with ‘dope’ strategies, except almost everybody universally hates it. Valve, Epic and Blizzard have tried to crack down on Smurfing in DOTA 2, Fortnite and Overwatch respectively, but the problem still persists to this day.
Blizzard doesn’t necessarily ban players for multiple accounts, but purposely losing ranked matches or boosting your skill level with higher-skilled players is a bannable offense. And Dota 2 requires you to invest 100 hours into the game and link a unique phone number in order to even play ranked modes. All of these rules are implemented to discourage players from Smurfing, but, as with many things, if people want to do things they will find a way to do them anyway.
Siege tried to mitigate the problem by introducing a 2-factor authentication system in order to play the ranked mode, but the developers are looking into more ways to discourage players from smurfing. In ranked, your skill-level is determined by a system called MMR, this system takes your win rate into account as you climb the ranked ladder and match with/against players of the same skill level. Now, the developers are looking into using more details to take into account than just the win rate when matching players on their skill level.
What do you think? Have you ever experienced smurfing? What could the developer team do to try and prevent smurfing? And are you excited for a free-to-play version of Siege? Let us know what you think!