League of Legends: The Existance of (ELO) Hell
Though I’ve been playing League of Legends for about a year now, I got a late start in the ranked scene. Through a series of unfortunate events, I found myself at an abysmally low 1k ELO (the rating system for ranked games- the average player is seated somewhere around 1200-1300) after losing multiple hundreds of points over Dreamhack weekend.
Instead of admitting defeat and waiting for season two to start, I decided to make an experiment out of this bad luck. I started a Tumblr account and began to chronicle what is not-so-affectionately referred to by the League of Legends player base as “ELO Hell”. If you’re not a League of Legends player or aren’t familiar with ranked games, ELO Hell refers to low ranked players who feel like they’re stuck in their rating because of other, bad players. These bad players make it impossible for those stuck to advance.
But how much of this was actually true? I don’t pretend to be a pro League of Legends player, but I do consider myself as being good at the game. And so I began the painful crawl out of this supposed ELO Hell.
So does it exist? Is there really a way to make it to the maximum summoner level 30 without understanding how to play League of Legends? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding YES. There really are people out there who are this bad. I’ve come across players who bought more than one pair of boots because they thought the movement speed stacked. I’ve played with someone who told me to ban Karthus because, “No one plays him. You don’t learn how to play against champs if you ban them!”
But can these horrid League of Legends players really keep you from reaching your ELO potential? Yes and no. And I’ll tell you why.
1) Who you play matters. If you’re playing a tanky DPS like Irelia, or a carry like Annie, you are able to hold more weight on a team than playing a support like Soraka. I love support champions and play them often, but I try to stay away from playing them in solo queue when possible. A support is only as good as the people they are supporting are smart. If you’re bottom lane as Janna, and your Ashe is derping around in the bushes after the enemy jungler was pinged headed down river, there is only so much you can do to keep your carry from getting dominated. This does NOT mean you should pick Vayne after someone on your team locked in Ashe. But if you only know how to play supports, I’d suggest expanding your playable champion base.
2) If you surrender, you’ll always lose. Even if your team is losing by 5 towers and 30 kills, stick it out. Far too many games are surrendered at 20 minutes when there is still plenty of game left to play. It’s easy for a team to develop a negative attitude when your mid carry is feeding 6 kills in lane. But maybe your team is better than theirs late game. Stick it out, farm as much as you can, and play out the game. I’ve won dozens of games that I didn’t think were winnable because of a well timed Baron kill or one good team fight. You’re going to end up with baddies at any ELO. Learn to deal with them instead of giving up. Which brings me to my next point.
3) Some people are just bad. More often than not, you won’t be lucky enough to get four other players who are stellar at the game. Learn to work with and around these uneducated League of Legends players than against them. I have played more games than I can count with players who don’t know how to farm properly in a lane. I do my best to give them the advice they need to make them better. It’s up to them to make use of it. Instead of trolling them for not knowing, try to explain what they’re doing wrong. Whether they take your advice is up to them. But wouldn’t you appreciate not having to explain to someone how to farm a lane because someone else had already done it, and that player listened? If more people were helpful instead of trolling their teammates, the player skill would increase all around.
4) You can’t raise your rating when you only know one champion. What if your champion is banned? Or taken by the other team? If you’re sitting in champion select and someone says, “I can only play AP Ashe.” Yeah, it sucks. But if they’re a super duper AP Ashe, it’s worth having to pick around their shortcomings if it leads to a win.
5) The problem might be you. Yeah, no one wants to hear it. But sometimes it’s just a fact. Take a look at your own performance. Are you overextending your lane and leaving yourself open for ganks? Are you getting caught alone? Chasing a low HP enemy when the rest of their team is on their way? Tower diving a Tryndamere with his ult up? Look at yourself before blaming others.
ELO Hell exists if you aren’t adaptable. There are loads of horrible players out there playing League of Legends. But if you want to raise your ELO to see that silver or gold or (maybe one day, platinum) rating, you need to not be one of them. A good attitude and versatility go a long way.