League of Legends

League dev explains how Riot is solving Clash’s smurfing problem

by Andrew Amos
Riot Games

Share


The first few editions of League of Legends’ new organized tournament system, Clash, have been riddled with smurfs in lower-tiers, but Riot has assured players they are taking the issue “very seriously” and looking to implement better solutions.

Clash is now here to stay in League of Legends, with the in-game tournament system finally being pushed to its full launch at the start of Season 10. While the kinks have been ironed out regarding server crashes and connection issues, there’s one problem yet to be solved ⁠— smurfing.

Smurfing in Clash has been a big issue, with some players choosing to verify a low-level, low-ranked account to get placed into worse divisions. Given there are some substantial rewards on the line for Clash, tanking your play like this can pay dividends.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQ5B2cG_ndo

Advertisement

Riot have already introduced a number of solutions to “hinder smurfing,” although trying to keep every smurf out of Clash is an impossible task. After having a few test runs though, Riot are keeping an eye on just how bad the problem is, and are adding additional fixes.

“Smurfing in Clash is something we’re taking very seriously, but also something we know is very difficult to solve,” said League game designer Jon ‘IAmWalrus’ Moormann in a March 5 dev post.

“We’ve already done some things to hinder smurfing, like requiring SMS verification, making players place in a Ranked queue, and running smurf detection behind-the-scenes to try and make sure we have the best possible skill estimate for every player.

“But these measures aren’t catching 100% of smurfs, so we’re going to keep adding in more measures to make sure Clash stays fair.”

Riot Games
Players must verify their mobile number to play in Clash as part of Riot's anti-smurf measures.

While they didn’t go into specifics as to how they’re increasing measures to stop smurfing in Clash, they are looking at cracking down on the smurfs they do find with adequate punishments.

“There are approaches we can take when we can conclusively identify that an account is a smurf, such as banning the account from playing in Clash again and revoking the rewards earned by that player’s team," he said.

“We want to be very careful with those kinds of punishments, because punishing someone incorrectly would be awful, but we want to make sure that the teams winning Clash got there through fair play.”

Advertisement

These undisclosed changes are likely to be implemented in the upcoming Clash weekend on March 14 and 15. The in-game tournaments seem to be following a monthly schedule, although Riot hasn’t confirmed how frequently Clash will run in the future.

If you want to get involved in Clash, be sure to activate SMS verification on your account, find four other friends to play with, and jump in.