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Elo Hell and You: Part 1 - The Impassable Barrier

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"Riot's rating system is broken, I can't get any higher because of all of these noob teammates keeping me down."
"I'm stuck in Elo hell because of all the trolls and afkers."
"No matter how hard I try, my teammates make me lose. I'm doing everything right, I ward, I call MIAs, etc but they're the ones making me lose."

Part 2 - Skills That Pay the Bills is now out.

The Impassable Barrier

What is Elo hell? It's that point in which no matter how hard you try, no matter how well you play, you can't get that win you deserve. But it's more than just that, some say its 800-1000 rating, most say its 1100-1300 rating and even still others still say its somewhere else. So how can Elo hell exist when those who talk about it can't even get a consensus on where it’s at? That is because it is not a definitive spot in the bracket but a barrier that is hard to cross.

Now I shall attempt to explain why this barrier exists and why it is so hard to cross it. For this explanation, lets begin with a generic player with a set skill level with an equivalent rating of X. This is all approximations to illustrate the point, values are not absolute.

  • At X - 500: This player can easily carry his team to victory most game regardless of his teammates.
    • The player is an NBA star vs pee wee basketball player.
  • At X - 300: This player can carry his team to victory usually, usually without much help.
    • The player is an NBA star vs a high school player.
  • At X - 100: This player can carry his team to victory with his teams help.
    • The player is an NBA star vs a college NCAA senior.
  • At X: This player reaches a win/loss ratio of about 50/50 and finds it hard to influence the game on his own. Assuming all other players are of equivalent skill level, he is 1/10th of the contributions for the outcome of the game.
    • Two NBA stars going head to head.
  • At X + 100: This player can still contribute but it is much harder to do so in a positive manner.
    • The player is a college NCAA senior vs an NBA star.
  • At X + 300: This player finds himself being outplayed. Hard to not feed.
    • The player is a high school player vs an NBA star.
  • At X + 500: Why bother try?
    • I think you get the point.

Texas Snyper Elo graph

Approximation of positive contribution by the given player.

Now try to remember, this isn't about 1v1 compared to 5v5 but individual input compared to total overall input and how it influences the outcome.

As you can see by my very fancy and scientific graphical representation, the farther away from his skill level he is the more influential he is to the game. At very low Elos, he can easily solo a win. At very high Elos, he feeds to a loss. The closer he gets to his actual skill level, the less influential he becomes within the game. He can be carried by good teammates if he’s slightly over his head and can carry bad teammates with minimal support. What this means is that if you are finding that you are incapable of swaying the outcome of the game on your own, you are probably pretty near your proper rating.

(Opinion)
Now why does this affect the people in the 800-1300ish range and nobody else? That is a very good question and here is why I believe it happens. I'll go out on a limb and say that those that are at low Elo ratings, lets say sub 600s, realize that they are not very good at the game and accept it. Those at higher Elo ratings, lets say 1600+, are generally accepted to be the better LoL players and have a better understanding of the game and therefore a better understanding of how and why they are where they are. They are the two ends of the bell curve and are therefore a smaller population than what comes next. The Average Joe Player is going to be at an Average Joe rating by definition. The problem arises when he doesn't believe that his Average Joe status is appropriate and believes that his skill level is above that of Average Joe. This is a problem because by evaluating himself and his own skills is going to bias his belief in his skills. Its a natural thing and is near impossible to avoid, people are biased. Instead of Average Joe looking at what he can do to improve and climb the ladder, he instead says "I'm better than this, I should be higher than where I'm at" and starts looking for excuses outside himself that are dragging him down. He doesn't look at his 50/50 win/loss ratio and see that he's where he belongs. He sees a 50/50 win/loss ratio and sees half of his games are losses because of his teammates. Instead of seeing that his influence is small compared to the game a whole because of equal skill levels across the board, he sees 4 teammates weighing him down. This blame somebody else because its not my fault mentality is Elo hell.

This concludes part 1 of my blogs about Elo Hell and You. Now I invite you to discuss any issue you have with anything I brought up here as well as some possible points of discussion I can bring up in part 2.

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