Need help? A guide to ELO and ways to improve your rating.
Hey everyone. I'll tell you my experiences with ELO and my outlook on how it works (and how it is generally planned to work, based on the system).
I'm 23 years old and a competitive gamer since I was about 14 years old, playing old korean MMO's and MMORTS's. To this day, I still play competitively in every game I play (which in this time's case is WoW Cataclysm). I'm a rank 1 gladiator in 3 seasons as a warrior.
It is true that this game has its imperfections which most of you will blame matchmaking. The ELO system is the most convenient and "simplistic" way to balance the spread of player skill. Does one's playstyle gaurentee an accurate reflection in ELO? Maybe, but not always. There is a reason that the players that some may idolize and top competitive gamers are always around the top ratings. In fact, most players that I've played with that are around the 1800's and above generally have the same ideas in mind in terms of what is good, what is bad, etc.
Your definition of good and bad can be very different. For example, I know some players say (within about 15 minutes of the game), "Man, the score is 13-6. That's really good. We must have a very strong team, let's just keep this up and don't ever let them catch up." But for most players in the top ratings, "It's 2-0, 15 minutes into the game. We are in extremely good position because our carries are pulling ahead in kills, plus denying lane time to the other team's carry which further puts them further behind in creep kills, and therefore puts a strain on the teams overall DPS output/TANK potential." In some situations, an early 2 kills means the end of the game. Believe it or not, most high level games have very very low kill/death stats early game.
In contrast, I've been in all kinds of Elo and played with all those tournament players. My friend, who is "good" but doesn't really think about the meta game concept, sunk himself into the 1026 rating. He then quit and gave me the account to play. I queue'd with one of my friends who was 1300 rated, and I would play my best carry every time. It wasn't even close. Even when one of my teamates were AFK or seemed like they didn't have a clue what they were doing, I would simply tell them (nicely and not condescendingly) what to do. I won 14 games in a row without losing and boosted my friend (the one that I queued with) into the 1550+ rating.
So, based on what I observe and countless games played, I will do my best to lay out descriptions of different level play and ways to improve. Maybe you could even find yourself in one of these spots.
1000-1200 rated: Players in this rating are generally lacking a level of skill that it requires to compete effectively. Whether it be the inability to read situations (such as knowing when a gank is coming your way and what to do), or even failure to realize the importance of accomplishing objectives (killing towers and the importance of doing so, possibly leaving your lane to help gank and push an adjacent lane, etc.), these are all very basic strategies. This is not limited to the ability of the player to effectively use all skills of their champions, or even summoner skill use.
1200-1475 rated: Players in this rating are generally efficient in their use of skills (laning and controlling their characters). Their ability to comprehend "ok this guy is missing and he might be coming to my lane" makes them less susceptible targets of feeding, as well as the basic idea of gameplay (getting the lizard/golem buff, killing baron/dragon, killing towers) makes the game run as the game is intended to be played. Players will make mistakes, probably run into towers to get kills (and getting killed), encourage the team to get together and push, etc. Some players in this rating are exceptional in which they may feel they do not belong in that particular rating, but later I will explain some possible reasons they stay in that rating.
1475-1825 rated: Players in this rating are GENERALLY experienced with some type of high level play. They understand that the team needs a jungle for double solo, ganking is important, getting dragon and forcing team fights is a common strategy, understanding that any action may be punishable (pushing a tower early game when the enemy player leaves the lane to help another), too many player kills early can throw off the game, wards are needed to prevent ganks and to catch players off guard, etc. Clever play is often seen in this bracket, players use their skills in creative ways to their advantage. They use just about every tool in their toolkit to help shape the outcome of any battle. They know the importance of fighting as 5 and how the little things in the game can become always change the game. Their knowledge of builds are sufficient to adapt to other team skills. A summary? Players are skilled, they know how to play.
1825+ rated: In high level play, it is all about the big picture. Players constantly asking (maybe not consciously, but by nature it is their thought process), "what will happen in 5-10 minutes if I do this?" It's about the BIG PICTURE. A carry gets first blood in a level 1 team fight 1:30 into the game. That's about 355 gold. Think about how many creeps you need to kill to match him now. What if he gets another kill? That's about 600 total. His gold per minute has then skyrocketed, and whoever he is going against will now feel pressured to keep up constantly. What if that team also gets Dragon? Especially if its not warded, the other team is then screwed. Now just imagine that alone, without the ganking and outlaning and possible pressure that the support may be putting on the enemy jungle. Dragon + 2 Kills + First blood, along with those 2 deaths being punished by time inactivity and the length it takes to walk back. Even if the score is 2-0, the carry now has 790 gold and a very big exp lead, in addition to his opponent being dead for at least 40ish seconds, and time running back for 2 deaths. Does that sound like a situation you would like to be in? In High level play, kills are hard to score and not the main focus in the match. It is about pressure and the big picture. Looking at how much cs the enemy jungler has to figure out when he is going to gank. Warding everywhere just to make sure your players don't get ganked and caught out of position. Knowing enemy playstyles to predict their actions. This is all a part of high level play. Players think down to the mechanical level.
So how can you improve?
There are some players that just get it naturally. That is just how their mind works.
For those of you who think you are capable of achieving a higher level of play must first believe that you can do it. Do you find yourself single handedly winning games but your teamates are the reasons for your losses? Are you getting lucky and getting carried every game?
The first thing that I bring up is in about 90% of players I've played with. When the game is lost, they just start blaming players, try going AFK, ***** about stupid ****. What you should do when you've lost, is ask what you could've done better. When someone else messes up, you should just try to let them know what you think that they may have done to do better. Collaborate. Help someone out. Even when you're helping, you could learn something you didn't know about a different champion or whatnot. When someone blames you maliciously, simply just ask what you could've done better. Have a good attitude about it. Sure people are *******s a lot in this game, but you'd be surprised that these *******s that "claim" they know what to do will actually tell you. Believe it or not, if you have a good attitude about learning, people will respect you and want to help you more. Oh and when I say ask, and offer advice, it applies to the other team as well. Ask in all chat.
2. Don't hesitate to ask for help. If you aren't sure, your teamates may know.
3. Make sure you are fulfilling your own role correctly before worrying about others. If you're playing a tank role, it is generally your job to support your team, buy wards for them, etc. Don't rely on others to do your job. Lead the way. Initiate those team fights. Do things that cause pressure - it is not always about scoring a kill right away. If you're playing a carry, play smart. A carry that is only able to do a little damage because of unfortunate positioning is better than a carry that decided to run in and die, then doing NO damage at all.
4. Adapt to your enemy. It's just like poker. This guy has been playing aggressively all game. He's a susceptible gank target. Let's try and catch him out of position. This guy has been playing defensively all game, anything I do will send him running back. Take advantage of that. Playstyles are generally very consistent - high level players will switch it up and make it a bit harder to read. Your skill is measured by your ability to adapt to your opponent.
5. Understand the importance of Dragon, Baron, Towers, 5v5 opposed to 4v5, Inhibitors, Neutral Buffs. If you can't list a number of reasons why each idea is extremely important, you need to start asking questions or even looking at forums.
6. Understand the importance of WARDS. Wards are not the cheapest thing in the world, but scoring a kill due to a ward giving you sight and catching a team off guard is WORTH IT. 100% of the time. Even using a ward to prevent enemy ganks. 75 gold to prevent a 255 gold gain for the other team? 150 Gold to kill an enemy ward and gain 25 gold from them, while giving yourself and putting offensive pressure due to the lack of baron/dragon sight, yes that is huge. This is a VERY big deal. If you are not in a habit of warding, you need to rethink your priorities.
7. Understand how jungling works. Play a jungler yourself so you know how it feels to have a buff denied from you. See what it's like to have to help your team pull off ganks. Watch for how your carry opens opportunities for you to gank by letting the lane push and forcing an overextension/zone technique. Understand how much CS a jungler usually has before ganking. These small things make a difference!
8. Talk to your team. You have a team, you have chat. Use it to your advantage. Communication is extremely important. Let people know when someones missing, what items you may be going for that might stack with another's, etc.
9. Play smart. Don't wander deep into a lane without tower coverage and 3 players missing from the map unless you have wards extended like 5 sights away. Don't take unnecessary risks. When you get a hero extremely low and he retreats behind a tower, don't chase after him if you risk dying or being ganked. It is already pretty big that you have forced him out of his lane to take about 8 seconds to tp back and then time spent running back, as well as forcing possible cooldowns that make him susceptible to ganking (communicate it to your teamates/jungler, "his ghost and flash are down") If your teamates are in trouble, make a decision to help them (assuming you have to spend 15 seconds running over there) otherwise try and push a tower to punish them for their decision to leave a lane unchecked. Every action can have a consequence, it is your job to take advantage of that.
10. When it is over, say GG. A good attitude prevents those ******s that have ****ty attitudes from wanting to ruin your games, to ACTUALLY RUIN YOUR GAMES. Don't give players a reason to just lose future games for you out of spite. It can even help, because I'll be honest, about 50% of complete *******s are actually good players, but it's too bad most of them are just so stubborn and up their own ass that they won't take time to try and improve, they blame everyone else. But nonetheless, they can be helpful, because they will actually tell you what you can do.
That's all I can really think of. If you have any questions, feel free to post here and hopefully we can have some collaboration here between players. Thanks!
Very interesting. Can't wait to read the rest.
It's unfortunate good posts like these aren't viewed as often as some trashy threads. It was a good read.
One of the best posts on here. If I may make a few personal experience additions (I'm assuming we're making a living document here :P)
Addendum to #8 - Talking negatively to your team at any point is rarely conductive to a good game. Unless a player has gone out of their way to negatively impact the team (stolen a buff without asking/saying, or going afk for no reason) it does nothing more than demoralize your own team. I've seen potentially good teams in the 1100s and 1200s ruined because one guy decided that he was too pro for that level and that he had to put everyone else down.
As was stated by DarkPsx, there's a reason why you are at the level you are at. If you're in the 1100s because you consider yourself "pro" but you always have a bunch of "noobs/nubs/kids/losers/whatever term you use for everyone else here" on your teams and you then proceed to put them down when they mess up, there's your reason - you are a jerk and you don't deserve to be in the higher ranks
Addendum to #9 - Raking in massive kills early on is tempting but trying to force them goes against smart play. Going after every chance for a kill will result in you being open as well. If the enemy is smart they will wait for you to make a mistake and over extend or go off on your own and basically outsmart you. Gear/level advantage are no match for a better strategy early on. Time and time again (again in the 1100-1400 bracket) I see players rush in for an attack on a weakened enemy only to die and wonder why I did not rush in with them. Sometimes, I will admit that I could have changed the tide, but other times I see that I was wise to not run in with him since it would have resulted in my death as well. Personally, I found my K/D improve drastically by playing it safe until we had momentum going. Once I freed myself from the mental shackle of "go for every hero kill when playing DPS" it resulted in far more wins and a more enjoyable game.
To sum up that addendum - There WILL be a second and third chance to get someone. Just because they recall with 1hp left, doesn't mean the end of the game. On the contrary, take the opportunity that them being a man down brings you. Maybe you can push a bit harder? Consider nabbing a buff or assisting in a dragon kill. Or pop back yourself for a quick heal and shopping trip. Just like a good RTS, sitting idle is BAD. Missing an opportunity for a hero kill might open up an opportunity to gain in the realm of minion kills, team gold, or towers left.
Again, really good post. Should almost be required reading for anyone playing ranked.
I am just getting ready for my exploration into ranked play and I have learned many more things to add to my arsenal and my meta game. Solid post I'd really enjoy more longer indepth threads like this. +1
How do you check your ELO? I just started ranked recently and i wouldn't be surprised if I don't have one yet, but I have no idea how to check it.
I'm glad people find this helpful. I personally think that communication is the biggest thing for new players wanting to compete - do you ever see those players in tournaments ever just sitting there quietly? Nah. Make a lively environment with your team when your queue pops. If you care about the game, there's a better chance your teamates will care too.
Also, encouraging your teamates won't hurt. Saying good job when they score a kill or getting a punished tower or whatever it might be, can really give some teams a morale boost. It can even further encourage players to play smarter instead of making risky decisions - knowing he has a team that is willing to make the best of the game and win. Use all these tools to your advantage - the entire game CAN be more than just gameplay, it incorporates team dynamic and synergy!
Thanks DarkPsx for extending more on the post.
There's a couple major problem with this.
it assumes you can carry. you must be able to carry to climb ranks. you can't be a good little team player and only support your carry(s).
Some champions just aren't meant to carry. and try as you might during champion select, you can't always get the role you're best suited too. IE: i am best with casters and support. but do poorly when it comes to DPS carries (unless they are pure pushers: Sivir) or tanking. I can jungle moderately well. but i do so much better as a mid it's better if i don't jungle, and take that spot on the team. anyone with a brain, can figure out what my problem is right here: casters are too easy to counter. even if i get fed, if my team doesn't pull through and push in some towers....well...GG. not to mention, if you are carrying, and your team is bad enough they are feeding, all the enemy has to do is build to counter you and...well..GG. you throw someone on guard duty, and i can't take towers with my sivir no mo'.
you buy treads and a banshee's i can't rape your face with my blanc in one combo no mo'
example: as blanc my role is to assasinate carry champs. i flank during a team fight and kill a carry. i almost always get fed at my current elo, so i can typically kill a carry with sigil => mimic and if it's a tank i'll have to => distortion => chain. => sigil. if they get a BV, i open with chain => sigil => mimic and distortion out. come back around to the front and help kill the remaining 4 champs or remain in flank position depending.
but that doesn't work when i kill a carry, and the rest of my team focuses the tank and gets murdered by the other 3 champs.
I remember one time, i initiated, killed two dps (one with q=>r (teemo). the other with e=>w=>q=>ignite (WW)) and promptly died to the other 3 champs. the rest of my team lost the resulting 4v3 against a malphite, (who used his ult on me to try to save WW, but missed me) morgana (also used her ult on me while i tried to run away. her stun is what killed me), and Olaf
the game favors 'complete' carries. champs who can take towers, kill champs, and initiate. that's why Ashe is one of the top carries. she can initiate witha stun, she's easy to play, she can murder champs, and push towers. she's an excellent all around champ. this is why MF is a top carry. her ult can initiate well, she can murder champs, and take towers.
in reality, your guide can be summerized into this:
1) learn to carry with a complete carry. needs to be able to both take towers and kill champs. (malphite, ashe, MF, xin, yi, rammus, etc)
2) don't be stingy: buy wards.
3) be map aware and concious of map objectives.
4) dont' be a ******.
5) talk to your team.
6) be construvtive with your criticism and not 'lol noob buy moar BV for AP'
7) know your champs (not just the ones you play)
If you think i'm full of **** then i challenge you to prove me wrong: go back down to 1k ELO and climb back up to 1500 using only these champs: DPS: Sivir; Support: Soraka/Sona; Tank: Taric/alistar; mage: Karthus/blanc; jungler: irelia.
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