Oh hai there, nice to meet you. I'm chu8, a long time follower, an enthusiast, and a competitive player of MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) genre. I peaked at 2400 Elo in season 1, currently sitting around 2100+ Elo. Many of my stream viewers ask the same question, "How can I get out of Elo hell?". Well, I wish I could just straight up tell you, but it ain't that easy. There are many questions we must answer first, what is Elo hell? Am I really in Elo hell? Does Elo hell even exist? Where am I? etc. Now I am not going to be explaining much about "How to get out Elo hell", but more on helping you understand what it is. But before I go into the real thing, I feel that a lot of people do not know me well, and it would help for me to introduce myself to add some credibility to my post. You can skip through prelude and introduction altogether, if you want to get to the point right away.
Prelude : The History of all Dota-like Games
To give you a brief history of the MOBA genre, it goes as far back as when Starcraft was one of the most popular games in the world. A truly amazing game, not just saying that cause I'm a Korean gamer and I breath in Starcraft like a fish in water, but also because it gave birth to the mother of all MOBA, Aeon of Strife. As most popular custom maps do, AoS eventually inspired some of the more enthusiastic nerds in Warcraft 3 to create similar maps. Among them, a map stood out, calling itself Defense of the Ancients (DotA). But it was not until Warcraft 3 released an expansion set called Frozen Throne, that a truly truly outrageous gem presented itself to the world, a predecessor to DotA, called DotA Allstars. A game that got so popular, that it just simply replaced its daddy, now widely accepted as what we now call, DotA.
This game spread to the world like a virus, oh spread it did. Everyone who's ever liked gaming at the time, became a DotA junkie. It grew strong, refined on every patch. It almost seemed indestructible. But it had one weakness... one that inevitably stood in its way to a complete domination of a gaming era. The game - was - just - a - custom - map. The limitations on its game engine, the limitations on its profitability, and the limitations of potential sponsorship simply by not being a standalone game, were too much for this game to reach the height it once deserved. Then came a slew of games that attempted to carry on the legacy that is DotA. Heroes of Newerth, Realm of the Titans, Demigods, ... and League of Legends. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is how LoL came to be.
Introduction : The History of Me, Myself, and I
Why the history lesson, you may ask. It was a necessary step to the next topic, 'where I stand in all this'. Well, I've always liked playing games from childhood, DotA was no exception. While it was never my intention to get so deeply involved in competitive gaming, my desire to reach the top, and my innate competitive nature eventually got me there. In the 4 years of my DotA career, I've participated in countless online/offline tournaments, witnessed great teams rise and fall, and shared the same experience with the absolute best players. Then I took a break, a rather long one, for a personal reason. It was almost as though I've finally quit gaming... until I was introduced to poker.
And oh boy, was I in for a ride. Poker ain't no joke. It's the ultimate form of gaming, in my opinion, a game that is extremely hard to beat but if you managed to beat it at highest difficulty, the rewards are unreal. It is also a game of patience, a game of perseverance, requiring much of your time invested in grinding low steak games, where you will do nothing but making the same systematic decisions for hours and hours. Not to mention the gruesome experience of riding swings. Oh nothing like 10 Buy-in Downswings that'll make you wanna punch your monitor. While I was learning poker, I found out that its not all that fun when you try to do it professionally.
So I found HoN, Heroes of Newerth. HoN in its beta days was.. simply amazing. An almost direct copy of DotA, a game which I still have a little shrine in my room to worship it daily, with a game engine that improved almost EVERYTHING that DotA could not due to its limitations. It did not take long for me to form a team with like-minded DotA players who's came over to HoN, and started...well, stomping. We were levels above other teams, there was no competition. It was like bringing guns to a sword fight! And we did so by having absolutely no practice, absolutely no game discussions, just plain, straight forward, playing the game together. There were no teams we feared, rarely any tournaments we did not win, we were unstoppabru. But such arrogance, comes with a price... our domination had an expiry date. It was too late when we realized this, until many of my teammates left the scene, knowing that our casual mindset would eventually get the best of us.
Then I tried League of Legends. And it was like a whole new world. Though it lacked many of the features to fulfill my desires from DotA/HoN, it had so many interesting hero designs, enough to get me hooked. Lux and her hysteric laughter after disintegrating poor teemos with laser, Maokai and its pseudo-burst-damage-tanky-AP-mid-carry-bruiser playstyle I've invented, Ezreal and her flat-chested goodness, Twisted Fate and his mini-games of "dodge the cards", and many more. Though we grew a love and hate relationship, this kinky chick knew how to push and pull. There were many times I switched back and forth between HoN and LoL, but which game I currently play is irrelevant. What I'm about to tell you is a compilation of my knowledge gathered throughout my gaming career, to help you understand what Elo Hell really is.
Understanding Elo Hell
The first step to solving a problem, is to identify the problem. 'Elo hell' is a problem to many players out there, and it is crucial that you understand what it is.
1. You never belong to a specific Elo. You belong to an Elo range, such as 1200-1400, instead of a flat 1300. This is a 5vs5 game, and a single player cannot control the environment the same way he/she would in a 1vs1 setting. This creates variance - the statistical measure of how your results will be dispersed.
2. You can have a very narrow Elo range such as 1300-1400, you can also have a very wide Elo range such as 1200-1600. It will never be so narrow that a player will always have a specific Elo, and it will never be so wide that a player will jump between 1200 and 2000 constantly.
3. This variance is determined by many things, mechanical skill, knowledge in itemization, reflex, lane matchups, team comps, physical and mental condition, tilt control, internet connection, the weather, number of socks you have, etc.
4. And this variance determines your Elo range, and it is Elo range that creates Elo hell. Elo Hell is the bottom of your Elo range, the same range that you belong in the first place.
Yes, if you think you are in Elo hell, you probably belong in it. There are exceptions of course, but very few.
"But I always do good, it's my teammates that suck!" - It is natural that you will compare "your best" to the seemingly noob teammates that you have. It is very likely that you will remember only your good plays, and think highly of yourself than your average performance, whereas if you go through a game with somebody who performed extremely poorly, you will immediately tag him as a noob and assume that is how he normally plays. So in comparison, it seems like you are a thousand Elo ahead of your teammates!
Let's put it this way. Say you have 70% win ratio as Graves, but 40% as Caitlyn. You usually do well as Graves, but not so much as Caitlyn. How would a random solo Q player that you've never played with before, view you as a player, when you play Graves? Not too shabby. But what if another random solo Q player watches you play one of your bad games as Caitlyn? Yet another nubsie pubsie.
What about this scenario? You just came home from a party, all wasted, but in a mood for a game of LoL. Turn your PC, somehow manage to login, and stupidity kicks in, search for ranked game, picks rumble and go top. BAM! Don't even remember what happened after, you simply turn off the game while mumbling, "Hurrrrrr derp fun fun, I bed now.", while your teammates are left mind-boggled, flaming and blaming endlessly to unleash their anger towards what they've just witnessed, possibly the worst, most worthless, game throwing, rage inducing yordle in the universe.
How about this. You are just playing a ranked game of LoL like any other day, everything seems to be going smoothly, picked your best champion, game started. Decent CS, 5 minutes in. Then suddenly, you hear your favorite ringtone from your iPhone. 'Never gonna give you up~ Never gonna let you down~~Never gonna' Pick it up, it's your girlfriend. Yap. She just wouldn't shut up! You are completely distracted, don't react to ganks, give up easy kills, pretty much end up feeding nonstop. Your teammates are blaming you, but you have no peace of mind to even look at the chat. What do they think of you? Some troll living in a cave, only to que ranked whenever they do, to make their games miserable. Elo hell!
Point is, you don't always play your A game. So do other players.
"But I always get tards on my team. Why can't I have normal (as in, not stupid) games all the time?" - You occasionally get into games where all your teammates are playing good and the game ends smoothly at around 20 minute mark. This is not your average game of solo Q. This is the IDEAL solo Q game which happens like once per 10 games. Your average solo Q game consists of, at the very least, one player who fits one or more of following characteristics : noob, rager, foreigner, troll, drunk/high, IQ of a donkey, etc.
Also, what about yourself? Do you ever have a bad game? If you say no to this, I will personally visit your household and smack you in the head, because you are clearly delusional. Even I get games where I play so bad, that I'm a huge part of why the team lost. It happens! It's just that we are all too full of ourselves to remember these games, but rather just forget they ever happened and move on. How convenient. The fact remains, that you too, are a part of the result, whether it be a win or loss, however big or small.
So Elo hell, is the bottom of your Elo range where you "feel" that you are better than most players, and it will always be there for you. So really, you have two options from here.
1. Try to "ride" the high end of your Elo range by playing ONLY your best champs,
2. Get better as a player and shift your Elo range upwards, so the quality of your Elo hell increases, whenever you get stuck down there.
Or, you can make a third option for yourself if you constantly find yourself in Elo hell and games are unenjoyable,
3. Screw ranked games and just play normal games with your friends that you like to play with, do whatever you want and try to have fun!
That's poker, folks.
Thanks for reading, you may or may not agree with my view on Elo hell, but if you enjoyed it, you may also enjoy my stream!