The actual definition from Dictionary.com clearly states "Smurfing is gaming slang for when a highly skilled or ranked person plays under an alternate account against lower-level players". Calling someone a "smurf" because he or she purposely deranked a few games, even though the service record shows weeks worth of playing time, doesn't make any logical sense. Using a second smurf account with "malicious" intent is going to result in some lopsided Steaktacular's and some salty players. That's it.
I mean, this is patently false. People have called derankers "smurfs" consistently throughout Halo 5. The definition of "smurfing" has evolved beyond just using a second account into using a second account with "malicious" intent.
I'm conflating because they don't directly affect gameplay nor are they considered cheating. They're frowned upon at best.
You're conflating two things here.
Great players and teams will always rise to the top regardless if Smurf's and de-ranked accounts are involved. Losing by 20+ points to a professional HCS player is no different than losing to Smurf account with 0 gamerscore and 10 games on the service record. Smurf's/Alternate accounts do not directly affect gameplay. It's not worth getting upset about especially when there is literally nothing you can do. Getting angry about it does nothing but gratify the trolls behind the accounts.
You contradict your own argument. Yes they do change the way the game is played.
People are going to get frustrated regardless. Running into a smurf account trying to rank up is going to be no different than running into a seasoned veteran. The game is still going to be difficult. My point is that smurfs don't change the way the game is played. They're just people who are trying to troll others and/or need a confidence boost by playing against lower skilled players.
Creating an alternate gamertag isn't free. You have to go through and setup a brand new email, gamertag, Xbox Live subscription, and all that jazz in order to do so.You can create a new gamertag for free using the family account option which is how people are constantly able to make new smurfs. For the ranks, it actually wouldn't be bad if they didn't get reset, but they do which means people have to grind every season to get their rank back. It's not a couple games, but it's a daily occurrence with running into smurfs and that can lead to people getting frustrated.
A game full of golds or platinums is likely to be close and competitive.
Throw in a de-ranked onyx that goes 30-5 and suddenly said match is no longer competitive. Giving it's teammates potentially false wins and the opponents potentially false losses.
Someone who's smurfing and purposely deranking is immensely harmful to the matchmaking ecosystem.
Pistola playing on QuietFawn92385257 (everything here is made up, please don't add that account thinking it's his secondary) and playing the same way he plays as Pistola is fine and doesn't affect anything.
Playing on a second account just to play on a second account is fine. Playing on a second account to cheat the system and pretend you aren't an HCS pro is bad.
Smurfing: "gaming slang for when a highly skilled or ranked person plays under an alternate account against lower-level players." Pistola playing as QuietFawn would be considered smurfing and, as you said, doesn't affect anything. Just because he decides to make an alternate account and play in competitive/ranked matchmaking, doesn't make him a cheater. Smurfing and deranking haven't gone hand-in-hand since Halo 3 where you could go negative with XP to manipulate the matchmaking system into ranking you up quicker. I continue to stand by what I said, Smurf's/Alternate accounts do not directly affect gameplay. It's not considered cheating and it doesn't directly affect gameplay.
So yes, smurfs being malicious absolutely DO impact the matchmaking ecosystem. This has been proven repeatedly by Dr Menke so I'm not sure why you're claiming otherwise.
The whole premise of my argument is that smurfing doesn't directly affect gameplay. Yes, smurfing and derankers affect how players are matched but the gameplay will continue to stay the same. An example of something that directly affects gameplay is the Headless Spartans Mod/Hack that allows the player to run around without a head. Usually seen in SWAT because headshots are imperative to winning.
I don't really understand your argument here because you are literally proving my point. Even the Dictionary.com definition you posted aligns with what I'm saying.
YOU might feel that smurfs don't affect matchmaking and gameplay but luckily, that's just your opinion.
Once again, it has been proven repeatedly that smurfs (and derankers, even though those are usually one and the same), drastically affect matchmaking and the outcome of gameplay. I don't understand how you can't see that having a Champion caliber player in a Silver/Gold tier match is a massive issue that affects how the game is played and the outcome of the game. The gameplay DOES change because Champs play drastically different than Silvers.
If you're trying to argue literal semantics and say that it's still Halo 5, well, then yes, but that's not a great argument to make because by that logic, headless Spartans were still Halo 4. I played with/against many of those and the game still played the same.