On the list of things that I like a little too much, professional wrestling would be placed rather high up there. As an avid wrestling fan even in Korea, I was only ever able to catch reruns of reruns, but the attitude era caught my childish mind and still has a hold of my consistently childish mind.
If you’re wondering why I’m talking about professional wrestling, it’s because of the term “face turn.” In professional wrestling, there are always good guys called “baby faces” and bad guys called “heels.” Sometimes (often based on crowd reaction) a baby face will not always be a face, and heel might want to renounce their ways. When a heel changes into a baby face, it is commonly known as a face turn. So what does this have to do with Riot Games?
There has been a lot of controversy as of late, kicked off by Riot’s co-founder Marc Merill making a rather ill informed response to Team SoloMid’s Reginald, who then wrote in detail about how Riot doesn’t really do much to support the teams in the NA LCS. This then caused a firestorm in the community, which heavily criticized Riot for their overbearing control over their professional teams. A leak from Riot itself also didn’t help matters, which painted a rather disheartening look into how its being run as a company. As if that weren’t enough, Riot was thrown into the hot seat again recently as Marc was caught red handed elo boosting a couple of years back.
Right now Riot is the undisputed biggest heel in League of Legends. They always wanted to be baby faces though, what with the skins, the community thank yous, even with their tackling of “in-game toxicity” for the sake of all their players. But due to some shrewd reporting and detective work, the community cannot be more against Riot Games, and if it were to ever step down the ramp into the ring, they would be booed harder than Roman Reigns during his abysmal push to the top.
The thing is, Riot doesn’t really need to be a heel. In fact, the stage is set for the largest baby face turn in the history of esports. The issues that were just recently thrown into the light have always been there, and Riot was able to maintain some resemblance of the status of a face. Now with all this negative press and attention, Riot now has a manual to undo all of these concerns and rise above hate. Quite literally.
Anything Riot does in terms of offering the community things that it wants, like a replay system, sandbox mode, or anything else, it can immediately counteract all the negative conversations. Heck, a board game did some work in garnering the good will amongst players. That’s how fickle and easily excitable they are. Like a good wrestling promotion, Riot needs to play to the crowd. With so many things it can do for its face turn, doing things one step at a time can do wonders for their currently questionable PR.
If I was a betting man, I’d say they’re on the right track. Based on this article, Riot has already passed word amongst its employees that some change is on the way. Changes that will a address some of the burning issues that no one cared about as much before. If Riot plays its card right, we’re looking at a turn that will bring in literal millions of players into the game, which translates to billions into Riot’s pockets.
Just don’t bungle it Riot. You guys have one in a lifetime shot at this. If Deficio ends up without a job at the end of whatever this ends up as, I will never forgive you.