Glossary - Elo Hell

Elo hell, otherwise called MMR hell is a common term used in video gaming, especially in multiplayer online games and MOBAs that are competitive in nature. It simply denotes sections poor match quality of the matchmaking ranking spectrum where there is poor team coordination between players. Though there may be several factors that determine Elo hell, the fore mentioned the main factor. Due to these factors, skilled players may find it very challenging to pass Elo hell into a higher level of the match. Players tend to find it more challenging to win games under Elo hell conditions. However, they’ve been many debates about its existence in games and some use the term illusion to describe it. Saying it an illusion resulting from cognitive bias. 

Brief History

The term was first introduced on the Arpad Elo’s rating system. This rating system was first used for chess games and then its use spread to video games too. The first gaming community to use the Elo rating system was the League of Legends community. From there, its use spread to other video games as well. With time, the flaw in this system of matching making becomes very clear. Because relatively unskilled players with inflated ratings would be automatically matched to very skilled players. Which led to the loss of matches due to an imbalance in skills. At high Elo, the average quality of all players improves. At low Elo, a highly skilled player should find no difficulty in rising in rank. However, in the case of an Elo Hell, no matter the level of skills a player possesses, they simply cannot rise to pass their current level. 


In the League of Legends game, the Elo Hell can be observed between the 1300 and 1500 range. It is important to note that there are other instances apart from real-time strategy games where this phenomenon is also observed. A good example is the matchmaking app called Tinder, in which a variant of the Elo rating system is used.