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Elo Hell & You

ShiftingTheSand

ShiftingTheSand

Wed 25th Oct 2017 - 2:11pm

"Elo hell or whatever you wanna name it is famous for being heinous" - Sky Williams IDGAF Parody.

Sky puts the concept of elo hell perfectly. It is a cruel and unforgiving part of many competitive video games, but the question lingers, what is elo hell? And why is it treated as such a horrible place? If you ask any player what it is, the majority will tell you it's the elo they're in or any elo below them. However there's a much deeper definition of the phrase. Elo hell is simply a community coined term used mainly in League of Legends because of how the ranked system works. It can be difficult to climb at times so to excuse mistakes and to point blame towards other players on your team can make you feel much better about your own play. 

Many players would much rather criticise someone else and assume they played a game perfectly, rather than admit fault. Elo hell is a fancy term for being in the elo that you belong. I understand this may frustrate some people, but let me try and simplify it even further. Let's say you're in Silver 3, good job! Now let's say your match history looks something like this:

A constant stream of Win-Loss-Win-Loss, some players would just think they were being unlucky every other game and that they were stuck in elo hell. However this shows that you are the rank you deserve to be, if you're below the rank you belong, you'll win far more than you lose, and the same goes for if you're above the rank you deserve, you'll lose more than you win. However when you're at the rank you deserve you'll find that your wins and losses tend to even out and you'll hover around the same division until you improve. This is why a lot of players get frustrated at elo hell, they take one loss and rather than try to improve so they can climb, they quickly jump on the idea that the whole game was played flawlessly by them and their team is at fault.

It's very easy to just say that someone's ego gets in the way of their thinking so they are unable to admit fault. But it can get a little more complex than that. With quite recent psychology, there is a much better explanation of what is going on. In 1999, a pair of scientists called David Dunning and Justin Kruger ran a series of tests on undergraduate students and their ability to self-assess their own intellectual skills in a variety of fields as well as also testing how well the students could take on constructive criticism. In layman's terms what they found is that a majority of people not only have massive difficulty in realising their own faults and mistakes, but those people also overestimate how good they are at a certain task. For example, if you were to ask a Silver 5 jungler how good they were at the jungle role, there is a high chance that they would say they deserve to be at a higher rank. They would be quick to call out their team's mistakes rather than looking at their own mistakes first. Their mind simply won't let them take the criticism on board and would much rather jump to excuses and try to give reason that they are better than the rank they are.

Leadershipiq.com ran a study on 10,000 people asking, “How Do You React To Constructive Criticism?” and what they found is that 39% of employees in a business can handle constructive criticism by thinking about it logically and breaking it down to learn from it. This doesn't mean the other 69% all had massive issues taking constructive criticism, however it does mean they couldn't take on board constructive criticism as well as other people in the study could. 

So, what does this mean in League of Legends terms? It's not like you have a Challenger player in all of your games giving you helpful and calm constructive criticism. This is true, it's not all the time that some kindly tells you what you're doing wrong and giving tips on how to improve. However, there will be some people that at least offer a different perspective on something that you're doing and you can take that on board in a constructive way. Even if someone is extremely mad at you, swearing about how badly you're playing, mixed in with all of that might be some criticism you can take on board and potentially learn from. Evidently, when it comes to climbing the solo queue ladder, so long as you're committed, the only thing that is stopping you from reaching whatever rank you want to reach is yourself and your willingness to take on criticism and accept fault.

There you have it, elo hell does exist, just not in the way you thought. Elo hell just means you're at the division you belong and if you take that the right way, you can start to climb immediately. Armed with this new knowledge, I know you'll go out on the rift and start making a difference to how you play and handle critique from your peers! Best of luck climbing the ladder today.

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