It's the final few minutes of a tense game and it's coming down to the wire. You've been picking up the slack all match, nerves now shot, and it's up to your team to pull their weight. They miss an easy shot, and it's game over, you lose.
Welcome to Elo hell.
A hotly debated topic in gaming, Elo hell is a concept all competitive players will consider at one point or another. But is Elo hell a real thing, or is it a figment of active minds looking for excuses? If Elo hell is real, how do you break free? Let's take a look...
Elo hell in gaming refers to being stuck in a position or rank in competitive games where players consider games to be frustrating, and losses to be out of their control. Elo hell is about not enjoying your time, and feeling you should be winning more often.
For some of us, Elo hell is the way we look at most of our losses. Others might rank higher than us while never seriously asking what is Elo hell in the first place. A big part of Elo hell revolves around perspective, and in this, the existence of Elo hell can be in question, and not everyone starts from the same level of understanding or appreciation.
As we have all seen, there are players out there who are, to put it diplomatically, not very skilled, but who speak very loudly. These players are all too happy to blame Elo hell for their losses, regardless of their personal performance. On the other hand, it's also possible for skilled players to do extremely well individually, and yet lose 15 matches in a row because of the team that couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. To them, this is also Elo hell.
Then we have players who see suffering through the real or imagined poor performance of the rest of their team as an inevitable part of any game. Sink or swim, Elo hell isn't how they think of their losses, it's just business as usual.
The Elo in Elo hell doesn't stand for anything, it's not actually an acronym. The term comes from chess and a master Hungarian-American player named Arpad Elo. He devised a rating system for chess, and video games borrowed the term Elo as shorthand for their matchmaking systems.
If you're a believer of Elo hell, either through a run of bad luck or any other reason, there are unfortunately only two real ways to escape. One way is to get lucky. The other is to find others to play and coordinate with who are at your skill level.
Even if others don't possess your mechanical skills, good teamwork and situational awareness can make all the difference. If all this still doesn't work, then you might have to ask yourself: Are you stuck in Elo hell, or are you a demon who belongs here?