Is Employment Cronyism Causing Riot to Creatively Stagnate?

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Eserine

Senior Member

01-30-2013

Before I begin let's go over some terms:

What is meant by the phrase Creative Stagnation?

This


What is meant by the phrase Employment Cronyism?

This (together with the primary comments below the article)

or if that has been removed from the internet at some point in the future, This


Oh, OK.


Sweet, let's begin discussing in more depth how this relates to Riot.

If you are a regular visitor to the forums you have probably seen several hundred "Can I get a job at Riot? How do I gain the skills or résumé necessary for Riot to have my babies?" threads. These are often answered by employees with a disturbing qualifier: "blah blah blah, interview, we want to see if you are a good fit for our company culture." Here is a great recent example:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Praeco View Post
Hey,

Most of our Sound Designers have been working in the industry for a while. Naturally, in this industry in general, a lot is about networking and "being in the right place at the right time". The audio aspect of the video game industry is very small, so it's not that easy to seek out people. The best thing one can do is go to GDC, PAX, stuff like that, as there's always tons of audio people there, and it's easy to just walk up to people and chat. In those times of e-mails and tweets, a personal conversation is much appreciated to get an idea of whether or not the person would be a culture fit. That is the number one thing at Riot. Being the right fit for the team.
In fact, in reading hundreds of versions of these responses from Riot employees, one begins to form the choreography for an "ULTIMATE GUIDE IN HOW TO GET HIRED BY RIOT"

-------------------------------------------------------

1. Say "Hello", in person, to someone who works at Riot (like at a convention)
2. Buy them alcohol in a relaxed setting
3. Trigger Nostalgia in them about videogame or cartoons from their youth 2-3 times
4. Look like this
5. That's it.

No wai!

Ya, Rly.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/cas...0970/?ref=auto
http://www.theonion.com/articles/int...0356/?ref=auto
-------------------------------------------------------

Is this the best way to ensure that the most qualified individuals with a diverse set of viewpoints are put into the positions critical to ensure the continuing creative quality of League of Legends? Noooooooooope! The "number one thing at Riot" is a flawed social mechanic that can easily lead to creative tunnel-vision by filling development discussions with unqualified and unimaginative yes-men and yes-women, whose effects on the game are further described in fancy Wikipedia articles with terms like Groupthink or Satisficing.

Basically it makes bad or lame ideas more likely to come through into the game.

Well what about how amazingly busy everyone is?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IronStylus View Post
...
Sejuani's character art was actually made before her story was written and solidified. The was no rhyme or reason whatsoever for us to make her in a metal bikini. We very well may have excused her base look we were 100% committed to due to production timelines by making caveats in her story.

Those were the "Looks cool, ship it." sorta days where crunch time, bandwidth, less staff and overlapping development was causing us to develop our stories and lore while the production of the asset was actually already under way and often too slammed to make minor changes. I remember being in an animation review and bringing up the fact that her shield was taking up a lot of real estate and that its symmetry was causing it to clip into the boar. This was regarded as a good point, and we all agreed that we should carve a notch into it so she could hunker down, but we actually didn't have the time to execute on it. It was no one's fault, it was just a really hectic time, and that shows.

There was no opportunity to create a compelling story to drive the character, our schedules were too crammed at that time. That's reflected pretty much everywhere in Sejuani, from concept to kit. She's pretty half baked in a number of areas, hence why she's a good place to take a chance on finishing what we feel is a little incomplete.

I appreciate how passionate you are about it, but you're making assumptions that we didn't make mistakes here and that we abide by frameworks we carefully constructed. The truth is we did make mistakes, there was no real groundwork and it shows.
Yeah! Like that!

Riot employees talk about having meetings all of the time. Everyone in the company gets to be part of the development process and give feedback. The problem is that often the creative teams hold meetings when they do not really need to, over matters that could just be settled between e-mails, and this creates a productivity drain

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/...-productivity/
http://workplacepsychology.net/2011/...more-meetings/
http://blogs.hbr.org/ashkenas/2010/1...-meetings.html

^President Tryndamere loves the Harvard Business Review and retweets them on Twitter a lot.

This problem is predictably exacerbated by filling the company ranks with unproductive, chatty socialites who are friends with one another and hold the exact same viewpoint on almost every subject (with almost no one willing or able to shoot-down dull or non-coherent implementations). Furthermore delegation of responsibilities or time-usage becomes a problem, so one gets tours of the company on Youtube where it is explained that all employees are expected to regularly play or coach one another in the game, or one sees posts on the expectation for workers to run laborious internal champion playtesting which has nothing to do with the work that they should really be working on.

Without a higher quality of feedback early on, a lot of project discards like the champion Omen or the Karma rework (restarted 6 weeks ago) get scrapped only at the last minute, and then are written off as "learning experiences", when what Riot should really be learning is to catch problems earlier with more critical and creative oversight, from people who actually know what they are doing and a willingness to forgo the emotional validation gained from sitting at a big table and giving a speech about something that should have been changed already, or who are too polite to leave or interject when a meeting needs to end or a discordant task or plan is brought to them.

Also we get years of angry players writing in on the forums about the same unaddressed topics (for instance I first became involved in the forums over a year ago through what I felt were a number of lame or useless items, unfair champion skin distributions, and poor racial representation in the hero roster, all of which still are abysmal).

TL;DR: Riot should fix its hiring practices and give more consideration to people who apply by e-mail instead of their college roommates or whoever will buy them beer at tournaments and listen to them talk about esoteric Atari games and their passionate teenage s.exual attraction to He-man characters.


NOTES:

*This thread has been added to Überthread6000! Feel free to post your own ideas to fix the game in the pre-season
**This is usually where I would ask the forum moderators not to move my thread out of GD to be buried in an unread wasteland-forum only to have them do it anyway (for the forth time), but I am actually curious to see where they would throw this one :P
***I have not ever applied to any position at Riot and do not make these recommendations out of direct self-interest
****Thanks for your time!


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Struggler9996

Senior Member

01-30-2013

You really need to take into account how young Riot really is as a company. Not only are they young, but they exploded very early, so they're trying to produce what a company as successful as they are should, while still behaving like the relative newbies that they are.

League of Legends isn't the only thing constantly being hammered out. Riot as a company is as well.


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Eserine

Senior Member

01-30-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Struggler9996 View Post
You really need to take into account how young Riot really is as a company. Not only are they young, but they exploded very early, so they're trying to produce what a company as successful as they are should, while still behaving like the relative newbies that they are.

League of Legends isn't the only thing constantly being hammered out. Riot as a company is as well.
Are you familiar with the concept of Kintsukuroi? They could hammer a little harder.


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Struggler9996

Senior Member

01-30-2013

Shaping takes time.


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Eserine

Senior Member

01-30-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Struggler9996 View Post
Shaping takes time.
and so do a number of unpleasant bodily functions no one wishes to be witness to, to shift metaphors.