Riot Games, the creator of League of Legends, fired an employee recently for engaging with a YouTuber in a hard manner. The employee, Aaron Rutledge, got drunk and joined a Discord group where he abused League of Legends player and YouTuber, Tyler1.
Riot Games took notice and fired Rutledge; he accepted the company’s decision to fire him without any resistance. He later stated that he takes full responsibility for his actions and deserved to be fired. However, he also revealed something very interesting. He mentioned that many of Riot employee are scared to interact with the community. He believes that it’s highly intimidating and most devs avoid it.
After his termination from the company, he received a number of treats.
The doxxing and threats and insults kept coming for several days. Pretty scary stuff – but nothing I didn’t deserve. I was very impressed with Tyler’s reaction to all of this though, I said some nasty stuff and his response was quite generous.
Rutledge worked in Riot’s experience design team and dealt with tools that handheld toxicity in League of Legends. Due to the toxicity of LoL community devs are scared to communicate, he said.
Talking to players as a developer is scary and intimidating. I know plenty of Rioters that won’t add the tag to their names, sometimes out of intimidation of getting called out or targeted, or sometimes because they just want to play League like a normal player. Still, having a thick skin and good judgment would have made things easier.
Riot has a policy to directly engage with the community and Rutledge agrees with it. According to him, it humanizes the devs in their eyes.