Anyone involved in the League of Legends esports scene that hasn’t been living under a rock can see how Riot Games’ public relations has seen better days. With Marc Merrill lashing out against Andy “Reginald” Dinh, Merrill’s elo boosting being leaked, and other criticisms of LoL esports, it feels like the entire world is outside Riot HQ with pitchforks at the ready.
I have my own particular stances on those matters, though I generally side with constructive criticism and fact checking directed towards Riot as deserved. But I want to preface that as we have these conversations about Riot Games, the purpose of the discourse is not to destroy the company (though I imagine there are those who would derive joy from that).
James “Obscurica” Chen, a journalist for PVP Live who has come forward with reports regarding the inside workings of Riot and personal acquaintance of mine, put it the best in a reply to a Rioter criticizing him for publishing those kinds of stories. “The only reason why I get the stuff I get is because it’s been made clear by my actions and writing that my primary and overriding interest is to make sure I can keep writing about League an indefinite number of years down the line.”
I think it’s safe to say that those within the League scene would like to see the game and esport continue for as long as possible. Many make their livelihoods off of it, and we enjoy either the game or the stories of the professionals or both. The point is for Riot to grasp that there might be better ways to operate than what is currently happening. You’re a successful company off of your IP alone: your primary consumer base is the casual fan who plays the game, and not those of us who follow your esport. In economic terms, you only have to comply with that casual base.
But we stand to help each other here. There can be more accomplished through cooperation, through open discussion, and through decisions where both sides have leverage. I don’t know precisely how we get there, but I will say that it’s nice to see you genuinely considering changes. Finally. You have such grandiose ideas for the future of your game, which is fine, but you can’t reach those goals by yourself, and if you continue to assume that you are the end-all-be-all on the matters of your esport, you will be alone.