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Dispelling Common Elo Myths

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Yangley

Senior Member

09-05-2011

This is a repost from the NA forums. All credit goes to Mathmage the creator of the tread.
http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=1191825


The Elo system is not a complicated beast. In fact, as I point out later, it's one of the simpler rating systems. Despite that, you find all manner of fascinating misconceptions running about the forums. I hope to do something about that. So here's a list. I won't claim it's complete--humans are ingenious in their ability to misunderstand basic concepts in new and interesting ways. But these are by far the most common mistakes people make, and will maybe make less often after reading this thread.

Readers are welcome to make their own additions, of course. I will compile those in the second post.

"Riot doesn't use the Elo system, Zileas said they heavily modified it for use in team games."


He did. They did. It's still the Elo system. It's easy to see what sorts of modifications have been made (e.g. duo queue inflation, teamwide average Elo, lengthy probationary period of 80 games or so, newbie island), and they're mostly in the matchmaking side of the system. Elo remains largely the same, though there isn't quite the same zeal for maintaining an average Elo in chess as there is in LoL.

"I'm +20 W/L with worse Elo than XXX player with a -20 W/L, Elo is a broken system."


THINGS THAT ARE NOT THE SAME:
-W/L ratio
-Elo rating

For the most part, people who have higher Elo ratings with worse W/L records didn't just luck into it, they played against better players. Your ability to stomp all over 1000 Elo games does not prove that you're better than the guy who went 50/50 at 1500 Elo. Yes, there are exceptions like BigFatMissy getting carried by Chauster, but I'd still bet she's better than you.

"I hate how the system tries to keep me at a 50/50 W/L record, whenever I go on a streak I get uncarriable feeders on my team."

Elo does not try to give you a 50% win rate. It tries to give you a 50% chance of winning your next match, based on your current Elo. Obviously, this gives you a 50% win rate only if your current Elo is your true Elo. There is no mechanism in the Elo system that says "okay, this guy's been winning too much, let's hit him with a double troll whammy!"

But what about those 10-win streaks where you get paired with a double leaver duo queue or whatever? Well, look at what you just said. You just got 10 games without getting trolled. In Ranked solo queue. I'd say you're about due. Have some perspective.

"Even Hotshot couldn't carry four feeders all the time at 1200 Elo, therefore Elo Hell exists!"

To rise in Elo, you don't have to carry every game including the ones in which you get four feeders or two leavers or whatever. You just have to win more than you lose. Contra your perception, you're not always the one getting bad teammates. If you are more skilled, it will show.

"The Law of Large Numbers says you'll get closer to your true Elo over time, so Elo Hell doesn't exist!"

The Law of Large Numbers doesn't say any such thing. If Elo were based on that, the system would be broken. Elo functions precisely because the likelihood of your winning the next match is based on your performance in previous matches (translation: lower Elo = higher chance of winning and vice versa). LLN addresses a series of independent events (like coin flips) where the probability of your next heads does not depend on how many heads you've gotten so far.

Now, that doesn't mean the Law of Large Numbers teaches us nothing about the Elo system at all. For example, if you look at how good your teammates are compared to your opponents, LLN implies that over time you'll find that your teammates are about as good as your opponents. You won't consistently get the worse team or the better team.

To put it another way: Over time, the only wild card is you. Only you can change your Elo in the long run. The question that spurs the Elo Hell debate is how long the 'long run' takes.

"All the problems with Elo are caused by newbies starting at 1200 and ruining games for the rest of us. They should work their way up from zero."

It's always amusing to see established 1200 players groaning that they're obviously so much better than new players because they're 1200 Elo after 1000 games played or whatever. That said, starting new players off at the average Elo provides the best experience for the new players. The large initial Elo changes minimize new players' impact on the 1200 introduction point and surrounding brackets, because it takes so few games to get out of those brackets.

"These large Elo adjustments at the beginning make it too **** easy to luck into Elo Hell because you get leavers/feeders/trolls in your placement matches."

Small Elo adjustments in the beginning would make everyone's experience miserable because everyone would be crammed together even closer to 1200. The large adjustments persist (to a degree) through your first 80 matches or so--at least, that was my experience--so you have plenty of opportunity to make up a few early troll games. And let's be honest--the most common reason for this complaint is that people started playing Ranked before they were ready, tanked their Elo, and now that they finally know how to play the game they're trying to grind their way up.

"1200 Elo is better than 75% of Ranked players, Zileas said so. Deflation has thrown the average Elo way out of whack, and that's the problem with the system."

Zileas said that 1200 Elo is better than 75% of all players, Ranked and Unranked. The reason is that people who play Ranked tend to be better than people who don't. Is the average exactly 1200? No, but it's not 1000 either. Probably closer to 1150. Also remember that a massive part of that deflation comes from inactive accounts falling to 1400 from whatever Elo they were at--and that's false deflation, because it comes from accounts that aren't being used, so the deflation is isolated to those accounts, and doesn't affect the general population.

"Elo was created for 1v1 games like chess, therefore it's unsuitable for a 5v5 game like LoL"

I'll tell you what's unsuitable for a 5v5 game: solo queue. One man queuing with four randoms against 5 randoms, and you want the system to tell you how skilled you are? Elo makes the best of a bad situation, and it's no less suitable in this case than in the 1v1 case. It won't sort people as quickly in solo queue as it does in 1v1 situations, but no system can do that.

"Elo is used in team games like football and baseball, so it's suitable for LoL."

There's an important difference: Elo is used in team games...to rate teams. In this way the system is reduced to a bunch of 1v1s even though there are 20 people on the field. In LoL, however, Elo is used to rate individuals. This is fraught with randomness and peril, and leads to much higher variance in Elo after any given number of games. It still works--the above argument still applies--but not nearly as well. This is one reason why I advocate for the premade ladders to rate teams, rather than players.

"Elo is the best system there is, and I challenge you to find a better one."

Bayesian rating systems are one example of a superior system. They track both your rating and the uncertainty in your rating; this allows them to more carefully adjust your post-game Elo. The TrueSkill rating Microsoft uses for games like Halo is a Bayesian system.

Another system, much more pie-in-the-sky but potentially even better, would be a Win Probability Added system. This is a sabermetric technique baseball analysts use to attempt to quantify how each individual play changed the team's chance of success. People talk about simplistic ways to weight Elo changes like KDA or towers downed or gold earned--well, this system would actually be able to measure personal performance in a team game.

So why do we have Elo if it's not the best system available? Simplicity. Elo is easy to implement, maintain, and understand. It's reasonably effective with minimal time investment. Bayesian systems are moderately more effective for much more effort and statistical know-how. And WPA is an infinite time sink that can be constantly worked on for marginal improvements--at the low end we have simplistic systems based on KDA and gold and towers and the like, and at the high end we could track every ability used, every step taken, every last little detail of the match...if someone invested the time to quantify all that. LoL is much more complicated to analyze than baseball because there are no at-bats, and thus no real way to conduct turn-by-turn 'state' analysis.

Even the current system can be improved in some simple ways, however. For example, one small but useful innovation would be to temporarily increase Elo adjustments following a long period not playing Ranked. This accurately models the increased uncertainty about your skill level--you might have not played at all and become terribly rusty, or you might have practiced your ass off and gotten much better. It allows people who tanked their Elo initially, because they started when they weren't ready, or got trolled in their placement matches, to get a jump start moving up the ladder. The same for people who let inactive accounts slide to 1400. And it removes the incentive for such players to smurf another account to 30 and try for better luck in their early matches--by the time they do that, their old account will have just as volatile an Elo.

"Bigfatjiji has X smurfs in top 25, therefore Elo Hell doesn't exist!"
Quote:
Originally Posted by die4769
I have another myth for you: "This 2000 ranked player made a smurf and carried himself up to 2000 elo again, elo hell doesn't exist"

A 2000 ranked player is a lot better than a player who belongs in, say 1400 elo, they have skills that a 1400 elo player wouldn't be able to use, like being able to get his team to follow him in an effective manner. That's a poor, poor argument.
Nobody questions that the best players can carry up the ladder. If you belong at the top, you'll get there. The issue is the difficulty of climbing when you only belong a couple rungs higher. The farther you are from your true Elo, the more influence you have on the game--but how close do you get before your influence becomes negligible? Bigfatjiji can't answer that.

"Elo would be so much better if it measured stats like KDA, CS, Towers, Gold Earned, and the like. It would reward people for their individual performance."
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnicornFan91
singed splitpushes bot.
he manages to get 3 people to go stop him.
team gets baron and pushes 2 top turrets.
singed dies from 3 people.
singed played a major part of allowing his team to secure 2 towers and baron, yet he gets nothing out of your proposed fix.

in a game like league, there are too many factors to apply such a system
Stats only tell a small part of the story behind any game. They vary from champion to champion, from build to build, from role to role; and many of the key elements that lead to victory have no statistical recognition whatever. The clamor for personal stats as an element of Elo is a symptom of the "Me first" mentality in solo queue, and nothing more.


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nikelrah

Senior Member

09-05-2011

very nice post.
The problem really is SoloQ ,but I heard that season2 is gonna rate teams instead of individual players.sounds very nice


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BEEFBAZOOKA

Senior Member

09-05-2011

One of the largest flaws presented by this information is that the ELO system does not have any fixed algorithms for adjusting your solo queue ELO and due to the nature of the individual rating within a 5v5 team it is not accurate of the individuals performance.

This is why ELO Hell does in fact exist. Skilled players that move up through the ranks create order from entrapy within the established rating spectrum, leaving a void at the lower end of the rating spectrum in which the game is more decided by chance and negative factors (trolls, feeders, flamers and unskilled players) as opposed to active teamwork and positive factors (solid team comp, effective meta game, team work, favour of strong champions).

As a result a no mans land is effectively formed between the two bipolar ends of the rating spectrum (I call this the gate to ELO Hell or Heaven... which path will you chose O_O) the games played within this rating bracket (I found it to be 1500-1600 before climbing) will be the most decisive of your potential rating in the future due to the difference in players that exist at either end.

However in the 1500-1600 bracket I also find that these games are the most fair, as you are just as likely to be carried by someone as opposed to being trolled by someone, meaning that your individual performance is more inclined to have a massive impact on the end result of the game. So if you find yourself at the gate to ELO Hell on the 1500 border after weeks of searching, take some energy drinks and work hard at winning the game and you will ascend the darkness.

The biggest flaw that I find with the ELO system overall, is that if unskilled players feed in games then they have a greater impact on the end result then a skilled player who does not feed can, making it somewhat unfair and hard to regulate.


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geo 8D

Member

09-05-2011

"The biggest flaw that I find with the ELO system overall, is that if unskilled players feed in games then they have a greater impact on the end result then a skilled player who does not feed can, making it somewhat unfair and hard to regulate."

this 1000%.

speaking as someone who who has been trolled in his last 10 games (not even kidding, people last picking 2 AP carrys when we need jungle and AD spring to mind), dropped from 1360 back to 1250 in 2 days, I can safely say elo hell exists, as the OP says, not for people at elo way below their skill, but people 200-300 below their true elo.

we've all seen the top players get trolled down 400+ elo (wetdream anyone, was 23xx, dropped to 18xx due to trolls and retards), it's alot more annoying when it's actually happening to you.

half the battle is convincing people at 1200 elo that they should pick the hero they want because theres no room for it in the team comp, for example, my last game first 3 picks: morg mid, irelia top and leesin(myself) jungle. the 4th pick goes "WE NEED MORE AP", so picks brand, the 5th pick goes "WE NEED A TANK" so picks rammus and takes the solo lane off irelia, leaving bot lane as brand and irelia.

you'd think situations like this are uncommon, thats where you're wrong, i think theoddone summed it up well, "if you arent picking something that's op, then you better be f^cking good at what you do pick". too often people arent.


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geo 8D

Member

09-05-2011

a swift update, the next game i played, the guy who has first pick goes "I PLAY ONLY KAT MID", and bans malzahar and cassio.

and people say elo hell doesn't exist. lol.


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Wolves of Chaos

Recruiter

09-05-2011

Quote:

Elo was created for 1v1 games like chess, therefore it's unsuitable for a 5v5 game like LoL"

I'll tell you what's unsuitable for a 5v5 game: solo queue. One man queuing with four randoms against 5 randoms, and you want the system to tell you how skilled you are? Elo makes the best of a bad situation, and it's no less suitable in this case than in the 1v1 case. It won't sort people as quickly in solo queue as it does in 1v1 situations, but no system can do that.


Simply the truth. Solo Queue should be removed from the game. Its totaly random, because of the randoms in your team (you are one of them).

Elo hell exists in solo queue ONLY.


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EnjoyLuck

Member

09-05-2011

Elo hell does't exsist bad people do like me trolling you 24/7.


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Wolves of Chaos

Recruiter

09-05-2011

You can't troll in a 5 Premade, because you are not part of it.

IMO this tread should be red!


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rumbalaka

Senior Member

09-05-2011

nice post


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CD82

Senior Member

09-05-2011

Quote:
Wolves of Chaos:
Simply the truth. Solo Queue should be removed from the game. Its totaly random, because of the randoms in your team (you are one of them).

Elo hell exists in solo queue ONLY.


I agree with this, but (and it's a big but) what happens if ranked is only premade 5-5 and premade 3-3? This won't stop randoms in these games since people will simply meet in the client chatroom ("looking for premade team / looking for one more player&quot and form completey random premade teams, effectively introducing solo queue in strictly premade games.

A possible solution could be to let you tick several boxes before entering solo queue, like if you want to play jungler, mid, solo top, tank, AD or whatever, which are taken into account by the matchmaking system. At least team compositions without jungler or five guys screaming "me solo top" could be avoided this way. Also only make champions in ranked available with which the player has played 5-10 normal games (doesn't need to own the champs, just has to have a decent number of matches with them), this would remove "first time xy lol".

Using ELO for rating a whole team (and treating that team as one entity) only works, if it's always the same or nearly the same team. Still in the end every players receives an individual rating, meaning player X has (random number) ELO when playing premade 5-5. However it should rather list which ELO you have with which team.


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