ELO Hell does not exist, but I'd like to propose a change to deal with it anyway.
Now hold up, before you start freaking out and derailing the thread with your rehashed asinine arguments, hear me out:
ELO Hell is commonly defined as a place where good players cannot carry themselves out of around 1000-1200 ELO because of bad players, leavers, trolls, etc. This is not the case. A good player will, in time, slowly carry him or herself out. It's more like an ELO Purgatory where you're stuck waiting around interminably rather than an inescapable Hell.
I am in what is considered ELO Hell, but slowly climbing out. I was bad when I started, but after a lot of practice, reading guides, and watching guys like Dyrus, Scarra, and Oddone stream, I've gotten a lot better, my ELO has gotten a lot better, and both my rating and I continue to improve.
When I say slowly, however, I mean slowly. Disgustingly slowly. For someone who only has one or two hours to play it might really seem impossible.
While sometimes you'll go on winning streaks and it will seem like there are a glut of decent players on their way up, most of the time you will end up playing four or five games just to go up 15 points in ELO, if you're lucky. It's five steps forward, four steps back. Sometimes the only way to avoid outright quitting is to remind yourself that at least you're on the way up, however long it takes, while the window-licking rager XxXD4Rk_Pr1Nc3_G0KUXxX is on his way down.
The reason for this is that fresh level 30's are dumped into the 1000-1200 elo range. In roughly every other game, you will encounter trolls, leaver(s), ragers, absolute children, and people who simply do not understand the very basics of play.
This is why the myth of elo hell exists. Competent players can claw their way out, but it takes a lot of strategic queue dodging, duo-queueing to hedge your bets, and the ability to play well above everyone else on either team. Chance weighs extremely heavily in having a game that isn't total trash and this is simply not fun.
So now that we've identified the problem, what's the remedy? Here are a few of my ideas:
-I think that an ELO loss for a game where your team has one or more permanent and early (~25 minutes or less) leavers should be halved for each leaver. While it is possible to carry a 4v5 (or even, rarely, a 3v5), this takes much more skill in terms of both game mechanics and morale management than your apparent ELO would suggest. This would still help in a situation where the other team has a leaver as well. Sometimes both teams will have leavers, making it a 4v4; this does not, however, mean that the game is on even terms. Some roles are more critical than others and some players are better than others. Having your baller ADC's Internet cut out because he's 12 years old and his mom needed to use the Internet to buy some wrinkle insurance or check on her Republican singles website or whatever sucks. It doesn't really suck too much less, however, when the other team's special ed AD karma support/roamer/initiator decides he's tired of playing for the day halfway through a match and goes to take a nap.
-Fresh 30's who are playing their probationary ranked games should be lumped together rather than dumped into mainstream ranked games. (edit: One poster pointed out that this may already be the case, however the number of games in this "new player island" may not be enough. When you lolking someone during champ select to see what you'll be working with and they have 30 ranked games, what goes through your head?)
-Those players new to ranked should start with ELOs in a range lower than 1000-1200. Why? Fresh 30's almost always sink like rocks when they start in the 1000 to 1200 ELO range, and fresh 30's love to get in on some of that ~mysterious ranked action~ that they've been denied for weeks while grinding out levels. In order to avoid just moving the range of "ELO Hell" down a few notches, however:
-These new players should be classed based on a sample size larger than five games. Why use a laughably small sample size of games to determine an individual's starting ELO, only to turn around and force competent players, or even good players, to fight through a geometrically larger sample size? The ranges of 0-1000 would provide a large amount of wiggle room to class these new players making it far less likely that a smart player who practiced for months in normals before playing a single ranked game would get shafted and stuck in the short bus range.
I haven't run the numbers, but I have experienced how people play at various ELOs. In my experience, people at 700-800 ELO mostly play better than people between 1000 and 1200 ELO.
There may be no ELO Hell, but the system is certainly horribly broken for those of us on our way up through what is considered ELO Hell. The game should be fun and competitive, and it ends up being neither of these things when you encounter people with less than 30 ranked games under their belt instalocking four melee carries, raging because you're giving gentle advice, or not level 2 tower diving with them, etc.
With a few simple changes to how fresh level 30's are handled I think the system could be reworked into something that's actually fun and competitive. Riot has consistently told us that their goal is to make the game fun, so why hold off on reworking the most grueling, grindy, unfun part of the game?
In the end, most of us don't care about some number. It's about having fun and improving our skill. The way ELO currently works gets in the way of that.
What do you guys think? Yes? No? Any other ideas? Do you think I'm right or wrong in that there is a problem regarding the ELO grind and how it gets in the way of having fun? Why or why not?