Apex Legends dev responds to smurfing request after SBMM overhaul

Fuse next to Caustic and Bloodhound in Apex LegendsRespawn Entertainment

Apex Legends’ Technical Director has responded to a player inquiry about smurfing in the aftermath of the battle royale’s new skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) system being revealed.

Skill-based matchmaking has long been a tense and fraught subject. While it has long since been established as part of Apex Legends, the devs have faced criticism for unbalanced matches across the duration of Season 15.

As a result, they promised improvements and, on January 17, unveiled in detail their new SBMM system, designed to “rapidly improve” the quality of multiplayer matches.

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Because of the way the two issues are semi-interlinked, some players wondered whether the new SBMM system would have an impact on ‘smurfing‘, which has also been a major problem in Apex Legends.

Responding to the inquiry, Respawn confirmed that it likely won’t have an impact and the two are “separate” issues the devs have to overcome.

Apex Legends smurfing update after SBMM update

Asked by one player whether it would “solve [or] help” the smurfing problems in Apex Legends, Samy Duc, the game’s Technical Director, said: “not really, it is a separate endeavour.”

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Although he did not delve into details, we do expect further improvements to Apex’s anti-smurf systems across 2023.

In a second tweet though, Duc did hint that it may help them identify “outliers” faster. In other words, players who are being placed into the wrong skill brackets may be identified and corrected faster than under the previous SBMM system.

He also highlighted one of the major issues with solving smurfing – that it’s naturally difficult to distinguish between those simply performing well and those deliberately using new or low-ranked accounts to ensure they are placed into rookie lobbies.

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Regardless, many praised the dev’s commitment to communication, as well as Respawn’s wider efforts to make Apex Legends Season 16 the most enjoyable and balanced yet.