An Overwatch 2 dev is begging players to stop smurfing.
Smurfing, if you didn't already know, is the act of creating a new account in an online game to get in some easy matches against lower-ranked competition. It's also something competitive players love doing - taking a new account from 'unranked' or the equivalent to the top tier of a competitive online game to prove their skill.
One Overwatch 2 developer really hates this. "To be clear: please don't do that," lead meta designer Scott Mercer said in a recent stream of smurfing (thanks, PC Gamer (opens in new tab). ) "The situation we don't want is like, 'Hi, I'm a new player to Overwatch,' and we totally misevaluate your skill and you lose a bunch of games because we think you're way better than you are," Mercer continued.
It's easy to see Mercer's point - if Overwatch 2's developers come down hard on smurfers, they risk catching genuinely new players in the crossfire, punishing them by accident. This would theoretically put newcomers off Overwatch 2 entirely if they already know they're in for a tough time before they even begin the game.
Smurfers also put off newcomers to online games, if the newcomers know there's smurfers there from the beginning. No one's going to want to pick up an online game for the first time if there's potentially professional-level players waiting in the wings waiting to beat the stuffing out of them as soon as they begin.
One measure the Overwatch 2 devs have taken to prevent smurfing is reducing the number of matches to calibrate new players. Here's hoping this method really is paying off dividends for the dev team at Blizzard, and making their lives a lot less painful as a result.
Overwatch 2 is also punishing friends of cheaters now, so be warned if your allies are known to use an exploit or two.