ELO Hell is not real and you need to stop kidding yourself

Over the course of playing ranked Dota 2, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about ELO Hell. For those of you which don’t know, ELO Hell is a term coined from League of Legends which basically means that you get to a point, at a sufficiently low enough ranking, such that you can’t improve because your teammates will lose the game, regardless of how good you are. When you read that, does it not sound like a little bit of an excuse?

People blame ELO Hell for their perceived “poor” ranking and claim that they’d really be much higher if they just got out of the rut they are in. I’m going to guess now that people who say this sort of thing are also the kinds of people who flame, feed, abandon games if they’re not enjoying it or simply refuse to play if a certain hero is picked, either on their side or on the enemies, and that can happen for various reasons. Recently I played with someone who picked Mirana and told me not to pick Sniper. She didn’t give a reason, but I assume it’s because he got nerfed a bit in the last patch and just wanted me to play one of the heroes of the moment. It irked me, especially since I carried hard going 18/4/9 and getting a Rampage (pentakill) to boot. This is the main thing I see in games because I’ve gotten past the rank where people frequently leave or flame for no reason, but flamers will come back as I get past the 3000-3500 MMR mark, so I’ve heard, as they think they should be pros because they’re in the “high skill” bracket of ranking.

But now I’ve gone off track. Yesterday I linked Swiftending’s ELO Hell Experiment and it gave me the idea to do this, because, like everyone, I have lost games because of my teammates. Not often, and certainly not so often now that I play at an “above average level,” but there was a point where I was learning a lot each game where I felt it happened a lot. I had the basics under my belt and was giving carrying and offlaning the occasional go while mostly playing support. I was starting to learn the advanced mechanics, mainly things like how to build characters and how to position yourself in lane or for a gank, and because I had done a lot of research I would try and test these things out. Of course, my teammates, who were also at this stage, probably didn’t know the same amount, so we’d miss opportunities and this would culminate in us losing the game. It’s frustrating, but, looking back, it’s par for the course. MOBAs are games that require a big investment of time and one could argue that your first ‘x’ hundred hours are a tutorial to prepare you for the major leagues. It varies from person to person, how much time it takes to learn the advanced mechanics for the heroes you play, and to learn about how every hero works (I don’t think you can consider yourself to be really good unless you’ve played around 90% of the heroes yourself, even if only for one game) Moreover, you can’t expect everyone you play with to be the same skill level.

This also works the other way, because I have played terribly during a game and, out of spite, my team have won because of one or two players. It’s incredible when this happens because it feels like it comes out of nowhere. It’s worth saying, also, that I feel that this happens more at the level I am at than it used to, though it is still rare. Even so it signals, if anything, I’m playing at a higher skill level than I should. But what am I trying to say with all this?

Well, overall I am trying to say that ELO Hell is not a real thing, but more a state of mind, and an indication of your skill. If you think you are in ELO Hell then, no offense, but you’re probably not very good. If you are on a losing streak but you blame it on your teammates, while they are still the same ranking as the enemy and as you, then you’re the only common denominator there. If you think you’re there then, what you really need to do, is go away and practice, and maybe do a little self reflection. If you blame you think your teammates are bad, but they’re at the same skill level as you, then what does that say about you?

Aui_2000 also said, in his pub mentality video, that you have to ask yourself “is anyone really that bad at dota?” If you have a team member that’s having a hard time last-hitting in lane then, more than likely, they know and they’re trying to get better, but they’re also trying their best right now. You telling them they’re rubbish helps no one and, also more than likely, if you put them in an empty lane with nothing but the creep-waves, the tier 1 towers and a Quelling Blade, they’d probably do fine.

Finally, to refer to Swiftending’s experiment earlier, it shows that MMR, at least in Dota 2, is a fairly good indicator of how goo you are. He was, circa 2013, a roughly 5.5k-6k player. He was given an account with 2900 MMR and, in 144 games, he got it up to 5400 MMR, which was his lowest rank that he had on his main account. That’s a win-rate of over 85% with, as he states, 16 of the 22 losses he get being suffered in the 4500-5400 range. I’m not comparing myself to him but, when I calibrated my MMR, I was disappointed to only have 1950, but I have a 78% win-rate in ranked games and my MMR is 2.5k now, and I hope it keeps improving. The win-rate that I have, I hope, is an indicator of where I should be. The reason I got there is because I practiced. I knew I was/could be better than 1950 MMR and I devoted a lot of time to playing unranked matches to play all the heroes and learn the advanced mechanics that I didn’t when I calibrated my MMR around Christmas. I think, after calibration, there was a good 3 month period where I didn’t play any ranked matches and recently my internet has not been high enough for me to want to risk my MMR being hurt by lag. Everyone, when they see a numerical score they got, thinks that they could have beaten it but, the truth is, you need to put in some work before you do.

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