“Elo Hell” actually is a little bit real due to performance metrics

I agree with the advice that you shouldn't worry too much about SR, focus on your mistakes, keep improving, etc. That's all good stuff and is generally true. My win rate is north of 60% and I have been climbing slowly but surely.

But there's legitimate issues with the Overwatch SR system, especially around the 1500-2300 range.

The game defaults new accounts to somewhere around 2250 as your hidden MMR. It will do minor adjusting to this during your first 25 levels as it evaluates you in QP and Arcade games, but it doesn't adjust much. You'll notice most T500+ streamers doing unranked to GM still end up in a regular Gold SR lobby for their first placement match, so clearly the game hasn't really adjusted them upwards yet. Your account seems to just start Comp as ~2300ish.

So what ends up happening to people playing in this 1500-2300 is that they encounter a lot of fairly fresh accounts that are out of place…generally these are not smurf accounts, but are people falling down to the SR they belong. Overwatch gave them a shot at mid-Gold, and they probably won some of their placement matches too, but now they are slowly (or quickly) dropping to their real SR.

You also tend to encounter a lot of leavers because some people in this SR range just truly don't care.

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This is a big problem. It causes a lot of extremely imbalanced games.

"But Paddy, the enemy team has a slightly higher chance to get weak players or leavers as you do, it all balances out eventually!"

You're 100% right…IF it weren't for the hidden performance metrics that influence how much SR is given for wins and taken for losses.

And this is the real problem. When the enemy team gets more saddled by the weak players dropping to their real SR…we roll them. Sometimes we roll them pretty hard. When my team gets saddled by weak players…we get rolled. Sometimes pretty badly depending on what roles our chosen ones have queued for.

According to the hidden metrics when we steamroll the red team (or they have a leaver), my performance is pretty "meh" based on whatever measurements the game uses. I generally only get 18-22 SR for those wins. I didn't have to really do that much, I never got a chance to output much damage or healing per minute, never had to save my team from rough ults, never had to clutch with my own ult.

When we get steamrolled by the red team (or we have a leaver), my performance is once again very "meh" to the stat tracker. I generally lose 26-32 SR for those. I couldn't do much cause we got stuffed all match, can't heal people who die instantly, can't really deal any damage to their team cause our tanks are mostly dead, only get an ult every minute or two and it barely does anything. You know how it goes.

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So lots of games are awarding me 18-22 SR, and lots of games are yoinking 26-32 SR.

Now luckily these games are NOT the majority, and the rest of the time I'm winning/losing a very predictable 22-26 SR per match.

But I absolutely wanted to make people aware that NO a 55% win rate is not necessarily enough to actually climb, and that NO the game does not eventually average out in your favor when bad players are being randomly assigned to teams. It slowly bleeds you of SR from these games.

If all of your games were lopsided, you would literally need a 57-60% win rate just to maintain your current SR.

Honestly I think the metrics adjustment mechanic needs to go at this stage of the game, and they need to heavily re-think the default account MMR (or heavily affect it based on your first 25 levels). Weak players shouldn't be doing placement games in mid-Gold and falling to their natural SR from there. Strong players also shouldn't be doing placement games in mid-Gold.

They should keep SR acceleration metrics in place, but if you're at a spot in the ladder where you're 45-55% winrate, every game should just be a simple 25 SR transaction and that's it. Minor adjustments if the lobby is much higher or lower than you, nothing more.

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Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.


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