Rushing to the goal in Rainmaker (3-2, Carbon Roller Deco)

16th May 2017 – 7.00 am

Okay, some stuff happens in this battle, but I'm less interested in that than the results. We have a level 18 inkling go 11-2 with a Splattershot Jr, when the rest of the team doesn't get more than 3 splats. That can only be a smurf, an experienced player starting again with a new inkling. I want to talk about the effect of smurfing.

My general understanding of smurfing is to see how quickly you can get back to your previous ranking, which is normally S+, either just out of general curiosity, to make a change from the norm, or to stream the quick progress. The low level and relatively high ranking is normally a giveaway for a smurf, and I'm seeing more and more of them lately.

The ranking system, however, is not in place as a measure of your skill. That is a contingent thing. The ranking system is in place to help match similarly skilled players against each other, which is made more transparent by showing every player's rank.

The ranking system breaks down when players start new inklings, because the skill of the player, built up over an extended period of time gaining experience specific to the game, is not also reset. What we have in this battle is literally an S+ player in our A- battle.

The results of this discrepancy in skill are marked and obvious. Sure, we won, and gained ranking points, but what I thought was a good battle for the team was nothing of the sort. We were carried. And the other team gets stomped by a player who is objectively better than them, and would never be in a matched battle with them under normal conditions.

Neither side wins. I would argue the smurf doesn't win either. I've been in a battle with newbies, and it wasn't fun for me, and it sure wasn't fun for them. And the smurf has to play dozens of battles before getting close to the rank where they start to be challenged. That's a lot of players the smurf is frustrating on their way back to the top.

Encountering the occasional smurf is irritating but tolerable. But when you start encountering them in what feels like every other battle, it can get very annoying, particularly when I am trying to improve and know I need the practice. The ranking system is meant to help me with this, but smurfs break the ranking system.

Maybe the smurfs don't really notice their effect on the other players. But it can be obvious. And, for me, when I'm already struggling with trying to improve and occasional latency issues, a smurf is yet another frustration, one that could actually be fixed with a bit of consideration.

But we won the battle, I suppose. Woomy.

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