The Overwatch 2 builders defined the fixed battle they must struggle for honest matchmaking in a stream at the moment, and mentioned one of many hardest issues to unravel are gamers who smurf.
“To be clear: please do not try this,” lead meta designer Scott Mercer mentioned of gamers who make contemporary accounts to see how briskly they’ll climb the aggressive ladder or to dunk on new gamers, in any other case referred to as smurfing.
Mercer and senior software program engineer Morgan Maddren mentioned smurfing ruins matchmaking for brand spanking new gamers as a result of the system was made to count on gradual ability enchancment. Overwatch 2’s swap to free-to-play from the primary game introduced in tons of contemporary accounts, and the brand new matchmaking system was rigorously constructed to deal with that.
“The state of affairs we do not need is like, ‘Hello, I am a brand new participant to Overwatch,’ and we completely misevaluate your ability and also you lose a bunch of video games as a result of we expect you are means higher than you’re,” Mercer mentioned.
The crew needed to construct methods to anticipate new gamers, returning gamers, and gamers who simply need to stomp on individuals who aren’t pretty much as good as them. With little data to go off of for contemporary accounts, the matchmaker has to foretell how expert you’re as rapidly as attainable, and smurfs derail that.
“One factor that is just like the bane of my existence is when individuals do unranked to GM, like they make a contemporary account and play to GM,” Maddren mentioned.
Late in Overwatch 1’s life, “Unranked to GM (Grandmaster, the game’s highest rank)” challenges grew to become common amongst influencers, and it is carried over into the sequel. Some individuals do it for academic functions and others do it to obliterate low-skill gamers for enjoyable.
Each approaches upend a reasonably fragile system, in keeping with the builders. When a smurf tears by video games, all the different new gamers have their invisible ability ranking, or MMR, thrown off. Not solely is it a depressing expertise to get outplayed by somebody means higher than you, however the matchmaker has to readjust for what is basically a fluke match, which requires you to play much more to hit an correct rank.
Maddren mentioned they’ve decreased the variety of matches to calibrate new gamers “by fairly a bit,” to deal with smurfs, however mentioned it nonetheless causes unfair video games earlier than that occurs.
Like with Valorant, I assume Overwatch 2 builders cannot converse to precisely how they fight smurfing to keep away from gamers gaming the system. It is an issue that has plagued aggressive video games for so long as ranked modes have been a factor. And it is why Overwatch 2 requires new accounts to have a cellphone quantity connected and for them to win 50 unranked video games earlier than moving into ranked. But it surely’s additionally why an entire black marketplace for buying ranked prepared Overwatch 2 accounts exists.
There’s solely a lot Blizzard can do with out including too many obstacles for actual new gamers, so the battle in opposition to smurfs continues.