How reflective is a player's elo of their overall skill level?

Hey, all. Can someone help me understand something about the rating system?

I just played a match in which someone tried to castle drop me with 5 unloomed villagers. Needless to say they didn’t get that castle up and ended up resigning after two attempts to finish it, but when I went to check my opponent’s rating I found they were rated higher than I have ever been rated in my entire time of playing AoE 2 DE (I have about 400 ranked games under my belt so far.) That’s not even the first game I’ve won against a higher rated player who doesn’t research loom before advancing territorially or aging up. Getting loom early seems to me like something a player at my skill level should know to do. I know I’m fairly noobish (for the record I am around 1050-1100 elo), but I have a decent grasp on various build orders, unit compositions, counters, etc.

Do I just need to get good, or is the rating system just really wonky at low levels? I’m genuinely confused about how I seem so overmatched some games and then seem to completely outclass my opponent in others. Isn’t the ranked ladder supposed to pit me against someone of equal skill level? :pensive:

Well, you might have played against someone who played a lot of TG’s before trying out single player, the Elo from TG’s (which is inflated) translates into 1v1’s when you haven’t done placement matches. So, they probably got inflated in rating, then joined the 1v1 queue with an inflated TG rating pre-assumed.

They also could have been a map specialist dipping their toes on a new map. Lack of loom screams Arena player, who just never made getting loom a habit since rushes are rare on Arena. A castle drop makes plenty of sense in that regard.

There’s a lot of funky things with mid elo rating, and if you do climb higher eventually it’ll normalize a bit.


To me the 1v1 elo seems to be really on point. I dont think ive ever really won a match against someone 200 elo higher than me even when trying really hard, likewise ive never lost against someone 200 elo lower, even when trolling or going easy on them.
Im 1300 right now and i somtetimes dont get loom before going up.
If you think, you can get away with it, it means having a bunch of extra resources banked up when you reach feudal, or it can mean going up effectively 1 vil sooner which means you can get important tech that much sooner.
I dont really know what was going on in your match there, maybe your enemy was still foing placement matches so his elo wasnt settled yet, or maybe he was actually playing pretty good and you just happened to beat him.

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I wasn’t sure that TG rating played into 1v1 rating, although now that you mention it that makes a lot of sense. I hope the TG elo fix comes soon in that case.

As for the map, this particular game was played on Arena. Still, it seems to me that someone over 1100 elo would know to get loom at least upon entering Castle Age before moving across the map to build a castle. I have also fought against people rated higher than me with unloomed villagers and no defenses on Arabia and Atacama.

To me the 1v1 elo seems to be really on point. I dont think ive ever really won a match against someone 200 elo higher than me even when trying really hard, likewise ive never lost against someone 200 elo lower, even when trolling or going easy on them.

I don’t have the same feeling about 1v1 elo. I have handily beaten players at 1250 as a 1050 player, albeit matched up in quick play. I have also had players who claimed they were over 1100 at one point completely demolish me when I was around 1000 because they had dropped 100+ points.

Im 1300 right now and i somtetimes dont get loom before going up.

I also understand that it can be situational getting loom before advancing. However, in this particular game on Arena, they moved forward with no loom and no military buildings. They didn’t even wall in the villagers to protect them. The second time around when they went to finish the castle, they sent their villagers forward again with no loom, no military protection, and knowing full well that I had spearmen defending the area as I had the spearmen on patrol attacking the unfinished castle. Maybe I’m judging unfairly here, but as a player struggling to keep around 1100 elo, I would expect someone higher ranked than me to recognize little things that I would be able to notice. :pensive:

maybe your enemy was still foing placement matches so his elo wasnt settled yet

They have around 60 ranked 1v1 games total. Placement matches end after 10, right?

For team games there were some issues. The devs are trying to fix these, but this solution creates new issues. Also they only fix the calculation. They still have to clean up their mess. For more info about these issue, see: Analyses of the ratings - Spotting the issues. As result of this issues the TG rating is inflated. As result you cant really compare a 1v1 rating with a TG rating.

The 1v1 rating is pretty accurate to me. There are some small exceptions. These are most like new accounts. They will play much worse or better then their rating suggests. If you start playing 1v1 if you already have a TG rating, then your initial rating wont be 1000, but the TG rating. As result of the inflation that will be far to high. Such player really have to drop in elo before it play against equally skilled players. In my opinion is this one of the only flaws in 1v1.

Since you are about 1050-1100 you might play against multiple players that do have a TG rating and start playing 1v1s. Their TG rating is high, but in practise they still suck. If they havent played 10 games, then you cant see their 1v1 rating. If you look at their profile you see the TG rating, which is much higher.

It is pretty common to skip loom in your build order on Arena. Just add another villager or just go up 25 seconds more early. I do this in all my games. As result i know i have to research loom before i can really castle drop, but sometimes i make the mistake and just forgot loom. Sometimes i even notice that i am in imp without loom.

These things might be the most common around this level. Players around this level start knowing the basics, but dont understand it fully. As result you have many players that are good in just one thing. If you play at a different map or if you have picked a counter strategy, then they dont really have an answer, even if they are the higher rated player.

You can also look at someones elo at If the claim they were above 1100, they can also lie.

There is also some variance in how people play, so everyone within 100 elo range (something like that) can probably win on a good day.

I feel like every player can deviate -100/+100 any given day, with more inconsistencies the lower you go on the ladder.

You can also find players that are one trick ponies and when they play on maps they are not used to or decide to try a different strategy suck really hard.

It gets harder as you go up though, with every 100 points meaning a much bigger leap than the 100 previous. If you need 100 games to get from 900 to 1100, you will need 500 to get from 1700 to 1900, I feel.

you only look into 1v1 elo, the higher elo and played matches, the more accurate.
like what above mentioned, normally it’s nearly not possible for a 1500 player to win a 1700 player.

ELO is good as a general guideline, of course. You can bet without worries that a 2000 ELO player will mop the floor with an 1600 player the vast majority of times… BUT… I would say that the lower you go in ELO the less accurate it gets, as in lower levels you might bump into new/newish players who may not have ever seen a certain strategy and easily beat them with it, even if they might have been better in a more ‘typical’ situation. Moreover, maps. If someone just gets a map they’ve never seen before (can easily happen to new people on lower elos), they might not know what is a good approach to the map itself, so a weaker player who has played a map can again, punch above his weight.

At 1050-1100, you are right near the top of the bell curve, this is the range with the most players, you can see where you fall on the curve here:

With so many players and with 1000-1050 being the starting rating, you are likely to encounter a lot of variance in this bracket

The thing with the elo is that it needs to be around 51% winning rate to mean something, higher winning rates means that the player hasn’t faced enemies with the same skills.

Then there are factors that boost anyone’s elo, such as TG or other ladder boost, but mainly the maps and the civs also affects the performance of several players, at the end it just works as reference not as an accurate measure of skills.

I can hit +200 more elo just by picking mayans, not saying the civ is OP but it is really easy to use to attack and defend at the same time and switch to the right counter in time, also i know people who have reached +300 points in 1x1 just by going 4 lakes with japanese or nomad maps in 1x1 abusing that most players don’t have BO for such maps, they know how to manipulate the MM, just by banning the most common maps and set as fav another bad map reducing the options, they get their map most of the times, if they don’t alt f4 and get to play another map you would feel them as weak players cause their elo is inflated cause of certain settings.

With all that in mind is near to impossible to say that elo is a reflection of skills cause it can be manipulated with ease, but i guess we all just use it as reference cause even with inflation and tricks there is a limit, so if you see anyone with certain rank just make an estimation of ±200 elo to get an approximation as long as his winning rate is within the 55% winning rate.

I get that people are pretty confident in the system, and I think elo is a pretty good system myself.

However, it has been wildly variable in my experience. Sure, it’s probably because of the range that I’m in, but it’s a little disheartening when I don’t seem to show much improvement over 400 games when I know for a fact that I’m much better and have a much better understanding of the game than when I started.

I also started playing ranked on my second account. Completely clean slate. I won my first 5 1v1 matches and am currently sitting at a rating of over 1200. Given 3 of those matches were against <900 elos, I still got around 43 elo for each win. I don’t know if that will stand when I finish my first 10 games, but if you’re supposed to be considered a 1000 level player when you start that seems odd to me too. Maybe I’m just being weird though. Is this how it normally works?

Did you see how many games in RM 1v1 these people have? Maybe the matchmaking matched you with new players in 1v1 and the ELO is in adjusment status

The Elo rating system does not work well to compare the skill difference of players over a time period. Since everyone improves when they play more, but the average rating stays the same, this means any player is better than a player with the same rating was a while back. The fact that your rating stayed the same does not mean that you haven’t improved, but that your improvement has been average.

You start as average player. That is how most systems work. You will gain or lose more elo based on your first games, so you move more quickly to your “true” rating. At DE, the average rating is 1000, so you start with that elo. This is pretty common in many games. At some point you will be matched against better players and as result you will loose a few.

The 1000-1200 range might be the most difficult range to improve. There are lots of different players in this range. This range is good for 25% of the player base. That are really many people. As result the skill gap can be quite big, even the elo gap isnt really big. Elo is more accurate from 1300-1500, since people become much more consistent in their games. At lower levels there is much more variance in the outcomes. As result it can be pretty though to have your elo increased in this range.

I saw a guy who had 2400 TG rating but only 44% win rate. He resigned early and didn’t even wall in a 4v4. I think its going to take awhile for the buggy elo system to work itself out.

It will take a lot of time, if it ever. This players are only 25% of their team and sometimes there are some on both teams… So it may take these guys hundreds of games for them to go down 200 points.

The TG ladder is currently a big mess. The TG ratings were inflated for months. Recently the devs change the calculation, but they didnt clean up the ladder. And the fix is still not perfect, since some players are abusing the new system as well.

For more info about inflation and what was wrong:

As result TG ratings and winrates dont say much.