As a top 500 player, here is my take on what players call ELO hell. Until recently, I thought it was not true. I have been playing in Masters and Grandmasters for some time and I always felt like I was mainly responsible for the outcome of my Overwatch games. However, during my recent experiences playing on platinum accounts, I am starting to see what players have been talking about. ELO can feel very real at lower ranks in Overwatch and I think Platinum and Diamond are especially bad. If you are a decent DPS, you can make your way out of gold rather quickly. All you have to do is focus up and make sure you are hitting your shots and getting necessary kills. In masters and Grandmasters, there is palpable will to win from your teammates, and although there is the occasional thrower, your teammates will support you when you are in trouble and also help you to secure kills and achieve victory
But mid-plat and Diamond are a different story. I’ve found that players in these brackets have totally unpredictable and downright catastrophic behavior. Sometimes you will go for 20 games in a row where 3 people pick dps and never switch off. If your two other dps are performing sub-optimally, it becomes your job to pick up the slack and get eliminations. This can be extremely difficult in a lot of situations, because you are often down a tank or a support, as many players at Plat and Diamond like to hog the dps slots and never switch. Even when they know other players on the team are drastically outperforming them, they still don’t switch.
So yes, I would say ELO hell does exist. I believe that you can easily get stuck in Platinum and Diamond when you would perform really well in Masters given the chance. One of the players I coached and duoed to Masters had never been out of Diamond. About a week later he came back to me and asked why masters was easier than Diamond. He was already 3900. Another week later he came back with GM. And the week after that he had hit top 500. I had always thought players stuck in platinum were there for a reason, but that’s not always the case, especially for good tank and healer players. If you don’t have exceptional DPS skills it is very possible to get stuck in Platinum and Diamond even if you are actually a decent tank or healer player.