Riot Games "growing pains" Reviews | Glassdoor

Riot Games Employee Reviews about "growing pains"

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28 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (8)

    "Mostly Like They Promised"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineering Manager in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Engineering Manager in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Riot Games full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Excellent Team: Most people I work with are the best at their jobs I have worked with. Everyone from engineering leads to talent partners to recruiters to product owners to project managers
    - No jerks policy works: most engineers are smart AND easy to work with
    - Highly Collaborative: open culture of constructive feedback is truly in effect, and you are expected to contribute
    - People Read the Docs: If you write documentation for your work, people generally read it and give feedback on it
    - Truly a gamer culture: people are passionate about good games from top to bottom
    - Lap of Luxury: Working at Riot is an experience in luxury - great food, great coffee, amazing facilities. Its almost too much

    Cons

    - Large scale is stressing Traditional Riot Values: Riot is now a large-ish company, and its bottom-up, gamer-first culture is under stress. These growing pains are going to hit the long-timers pretty hard in the coming years
    - Innovators Dilemma: After years of focusing on an incredibly successful product, finding "what's next" is difficult and slow. Many Rioters want to do something new, but the culture and the structure of the company don't make it clear how to make that happen
    - No Clear Leadership: Highly collaborative culture is great, but its far too time consuming to create horizontal alignment for every decision, including massive strategic pivots. This is changing, and the internal management structure is starting to become more top-down/hierarchical. Most of Riot considers a Bad Thing, but in my judgement, its a necessary step to take the company to the next step.
    - Non-financial decision making: Riot pretty much NEVER considers money when making decisions. This leads to a lot of difficult to understand priorities. Again, the new leadership is starting too look at normal considerations like ROI and margin when making decisions. I think its a good idea, but talking dollars and cents is jarring to lots of long-time Rioters.
    - Not Invented Here (NIH): A lack of monetary accountability and some degree of engineering over-confidence allows engineers to re-invent the wheel a lot more often than than necessary

    Advice to Management

    - Continue adding financial accountability structures and some hierarchical managerial practices
    - Be aware that this will alienate long-time Rioters and be careful in making these adjustments


  2. Helpful (2)

    "For those looking to grow & challenge themselves"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Santa Monica, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Riot Games full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Riot puts a serious and genuine emphasis on both professional and personal growth. On top of the L&D courses they offer, Riot's packed full of some of the smartest industry professionals out there. If they've got the time, they'll help you grow beyond what you thought was possible. If they don't, many will prioritize their time around mentoring and growing their people.

    The perks and benefits offered to Riot and our S/Os is leaps and bounds better then I've ever experienced anywhere. Things like unlimited PTO, on campus lunch & dinner, annual stipends to buy games, and so much more make Riot an incredible place to work.

    Cons

    With the explosion of League of Legends, Riot's been playing catch up ever since. While they catch up, it's created some significant growing pains that come with the territory. One of the last areas this exists is the HR/Talent org, where they are, and have been working like crazy to get things running smooth. Things like internal communications, finance and recruiting are still struggling to scale with the rest of the company, struggling to create and implement processes across the entire org. The start-up feelings are all but gone, minus some of the pain-points I mentioned above.

    It's also not for everyone, if you're at the point in your career where you're looking for a resting spot for a few years, Riot is not that place. It will chew you up and spit you back out in no time. You have to be the kind of person that likes to be challenged, day in and day out, otherwise don't waste your time, and their time.

    Advice to Management

    There needs to be more accountability with Managers. Too often I see junior employees get placed on a performance improvement plan (PIP) by the same manager, while that manager often times isn't held accountable for their shortcomings. It's definitely gotten a lot better over the years, but still needs some work.

    If Riot keeps looking after their people & and players, they'll of achieved their goal of becoming the most player focused game company in the world.

  3. "If you love League of Legends, there is no better place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Riot Games full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    fun and dynamic, true to its values

    Cons

    young company having growing pains


  4. Helpful (12)

    "A downhill slide"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Riot Games full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Free food
    Clear passion throughout the company for the products and players
    Good benefits

    Cons

    Low competitive compensation
    Abysmal management from the middle up
    The worst HR team you'll ever work with

    Riot is struggling to find its place. There are some issues typical of growing pains like poor management and some bloated teams. The real issue is cultural. The bro culture is in full force but has begun to insulate itself in the shadow the #metoo movement. Lots of political maneuvering takes place, especially by low impact persons in power.

    There's also nowhere to go with your career at Riot. If you want to move up, you need to wait for someone to vacate a position because there just isn't any new business at Riot. Why? Complete paralysis in decision making.

    The current stable of games, the poor state of diversity, the lack of new products and sliding growth come down to paralysis in decision making.

    Advice to Management

    Hand the keys over to decision makers. You've been in holding patterns for so long that every is now used to walking in circles. Oh, and give your talent team (that's HR for those reading along) a good long look - this team is killing everything they touch.


  5. "Amazing company, but not for everyone"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Riot Games full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Culture: When Riot speaks about putting player experience first, it's no joke. There are never conversations around "How do we make the most money?". The Riot Manifesto is actually embodied at the company and not just thrown on the website to lure people in.

    Tech Challenges: Not many companies have the kind of scale that Riot deals with. The engineering challenges presented are difficult but fun to work on.

    Flexible Schedule: Healthy work-life balance makes it easy to fit in things like doctor's appointments, or to shift your work hours so you can try to avoid traffic.

    Benefits: Free food. Video games time during the day.

    Cons

    Los Angeles: Living here isn't cheap, and the traffic is honestly the worst I've ever experienced in my life. Living closer to the office tends to be much more expensive.

    Hiring: Hiring is SLOW. Part of the reason for this is that there is an extremely high bar for what makes a Rioter, but it can be frustrating on both ends. Internally when you're on a team, it can be hard to get the people you need, and externally it's frustrating when each stage of the process takes a while. This IS getting better, but it's still far from perfect.

    Immature talent: Not everyone wants to work at a video game company, and a large portion of Riot's talent pool are fresh graduates. While many are great, there are also a non-trivial number who stretch "work-life balance" too far. There is a joke of "Riot Time", where people routinely show up to meetings 5 minutes late. If you're used to a more structured and organized company, this can be somewhat tilting. While Riot values feedback culture, there isn't much whip-cracking.

    Growing pains: Flat organizational structure doesn't work well when you start to hit 3k people. As the company shifts to having more hierarchy there are definitely pains, but it's overall a positive direction for the company.

    Advice to Management

    Keep an eye on the growing pains, and don't allow bad actors to spoil the work environment for those who want to hit deadlines.


  6. Helpful (7)

    "Riot Games"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Artist in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Technical Artist in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Riot Games full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Company gives back a lot to its employees in terms of fair pay and a wide array of perks. Beautiful campus, amazing food, and excellent equipment provided. Open floor plans with tons of meeting rooms and places to have private conversations or hangout. Excellent educational opportunities are provided for furthering your skills, both in your craft and soft skills like leadership training and personal organization. Effective feedback culture goes both up and down the hierarchy.

    Cons

    Company culture is extremely strong here and if you're not a true gamer at heart, you'll have a tough time fitting in. There are some growing pains due to the rapid growth the company has experienced over the past few years, but in general they acknowledge this and consistently look for ways to keep the "startup like" energy high.


  7. Helpful (14)

    "This is a great place to be in Gaming today"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Localization QA Manager in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Localization QA Manager in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Riot Games full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Riot Games is a fantastic company, and I feel privileged to be part of this team. I’m surrounded by some of the brightest people I’ve ever met, and I’m constantly being pushed off my comfort zone by the type of challenges and problems we’re solving on a daily basis. It feels like a truly unique place in Gaming created by Gamers.

    So, what’s so special about it? Let me try to break it down by sections.

    Career opportunities:

    Riot Games promotes open feedback culture and the notion of continuous self-development. It feels that you're the sole owner of your success here due to the flat structure and how much freedom each Rioter is given. Everyone is encouraged to share their ideas, provide feedback and challenge the established notions. Though, to be fair, this is harder and harder to do due to the rapid growth of the company. Empowerment is a key word here - everyone is given the opportunity to solve problems and think creatively without being micromanaged. It's very common to hear that we "hire to elevate" so that each new hire always pushes the bar higher, or at the very least this is the genuine intent. As a result, there are many opportunities to learn and get coaching from some of the brightest people in the industry today.

    The company facilitates multiple personal development resources to all Rioters (formal training, certifications, assessments, 1on1s, development plans, mentorship opportunities). Every Rioter can sign-up to a training course with the approval from a manager. And so far in my experience, this is highly encouraged.

    Compensation & Benefits:

    In my experience, the Compensation is according to the market standards. Sometimes higher, sometimes lower depending on the role and the priority that the company puts into certain areas. For example, Engineering is a high priority area for Riot, so it’s reflected in compensation. Other areas in % terms may be closer to a market standard.

    Of course, you can’t disconnect compensation from the cost of living. The reality, Riot Central campus is located in Santa Monica - an expensive area, so it’s something to consider when relocating from the outside. I recommend doing a thorough research on rent, transportation routes, and general expenses before committing to a decision to move.

    The benefits outside of salary are numerous and include standard things like private health care, dental care, eye care, free food, and snacks but also numerous not so usual benefits such as travel allowance, gaming allowance and gym subsidizing.

    But most importantly I feel that the company cares about me as individual and valuing my contribution and provides numerous opportunities to learn and develop my skills. To me, this is the biggest benefit of being part of Riot.

    Work / Life balance:

    Riot Games is filled with passionate people who deeply care about what they do and feel committed to delivering player value. The company’s culture is very appealing if you’re a gamer and often I found myself volunteering my time because I wanted to get something done. And I know many Rioters do the same even if the company doesn’t technically demand that special commitment from you.

    I believe that you own that relationship with the company 100%. After about one year with Riot, I learned how to manage my Work / Life balance better. So, in the end, I think it comes down to the individual to decide how much of that personal time you want to dedicate.

    Now, my line of work doesn’t demand weekend work for example. If you’re in Esports or some Live Services functions, it may not be the same. Riot is big now; multiple functions demand different work schedules, overtime, and commitments from Rioters.

    Senior Management:

    The leadership team is stacked with some of the smartest people I’ve ever met. It’s not uncommon to see legendary game industry veterans walking in the halls of the Central Campus. Now, it goes without saying that Riot isn’t free from politics, as any big organization filled with humans and not robots. That said, I think that the leadership “walks the walk” when it comes to our core values and being laser focused on our audience.

    Cons

    Growing pains:

    It comes without saying that not everything is sunshine and rainbows here. I know that Riot Games isn’t the company for everyone. This culture can be welcoming to many but also very hostile to some. I read some reviews that were saying this is like a boys club. And I can see where those reviewers are coming from. This is the company built by Gamers for Gamers. If you’re not part of the Gaming community, it’s likely you won’t find your place here.

    The explosive growth led to some pains that come with it. Our processes, tools, and practices often lack rigor or don’t scale well with a fast-paced and growing organization. This means, tons of growing pains and hard choices that we need to make. But it also means opportunities for people to adapt, change roles and expand the scope are ever more present.

    The hiring bar today isn’t what it was 5 or even two years ago. As a result, we have people who only experienced Riot as their first employer or took on areas that they weren’t prepared or had experience in. This led to Rioters taking on responsibilities and challenges they weren’t necessarily ready for or had an adequate support. In some cases, it worked out, but in others, it led to some painful outcomes for the organization and Rioters involved in those situations. I think we’re trying to address this and I noticed that over the last year and a half we increased our focus on hiring Industry superstars without compromising our core values.

    - Sarkhan Lyutfaliev

    Advice to Management

    Make sure you do not surround yourself with the "Yes-Men". Strive to stay connected with the company and the regular Rioters that don't have exposure to the leadership layers. Especially on the Regional level since our offices are now all over the world. As we continue expanding on a global scale, it's important that we preserve our culture not just in the Central Campus but globally.

  8. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - Great people, culture, forward thinking company with a bright future
    - Lots of room for growth and great managers
    - Fun company, great office space, spectacular benefits

    Cons

    - Usual growing pains of a relatively young, fast growing company
    - Constantly re-organizing, leaving senior management not always on the same page


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Amazing workplace, but at a cost"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Riot Games full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The culture and workplace is amazing. If you want to work with the best and the brightest of the industry, this is the place to be. As long as you give your work 100%, Riot will give back to you, and be completely understanding if you need to work from home or need time for your family. Always looking to do right by their players and products.

    Cons

    If you strive for efficiency, this isn't the place for you. The growing pains combined with lack of long term, or often even short term vision means there is a LOT of wasted output. If you get stuck on one of these "wasted" projects, you will be pretty miserable.

    Advice to Management

    Leadership needs to have a tighter hold of what projects are green lit, and how much time and resources are devoted to them. Focus on the top priorities, and give those the resources they need to succeed.


  10. Helpful (7)

    "No edgy title - just a realistic view."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    It’s easy to get excited about the work being done here, but beyond the work is the people. The highly selective hiring process means you’re surrounded by gamers and bright minds at all times. My introductory “class” of Rioters had backgrounds as diverse as NASA, Egyptology, and AAA gaming - and I’m privileged to work with every one of them.

    It may taste a little like Kool-Aid, but the culture is the real deal. Over two years here and I've yet to see a business decision be made that didn't have player value as the primary proposition. Even when revenue is brought up or international publishing concerns are highlighted, the conversation absolutely revolves around players and what’s best for the community. Our internal news forum has posts with hundreds of comments from impassioned Rioters, and the engagement is only growing by the day.

    Feedback is fantastic. If you are truly interested in leveling up your skills and seek out the means to do so, you’re met with an unlimited supply of mentors and opportunities - and not just from senior Rioters. Everyone has something to teach, and great feedback comes in 360 degrees. This also means that everyone has a voice in how Riot operates, and if you’re passionate about how to best bring player value, there’s always an avenue for you to speak about it.

    Cons

    Tons of cool work means that priorities can get screwy pretty quickly, and it’s unfortunately all too often that questions around the strategy and value of a particular project come up. With all the excellent talent, don’t plan on arguing your way to the results you want - you’ll be challenged on your views just as much as you challenge others. Ultimately, I still see this as a positive - but it’ll depend on your personality and how much that kind of debate exhausts you.

    Where Riot lags behind is pretty plain to see from the rest of reviews: compensation is inconsistent and stagnant, strong management and organization is missing, etc.. In spite of this, I strongly believe these are growing pains, and while that doesn’t excuse them, I don’t see Riot as fundamentally, irrevocably flawed (as more personal reviews seem to indicate).

    What most of the reviews here fail to capture, however, is that your experience will vary. Different parts of the company have matured at different rates; some are charging ahead and contributing to industry standards, while others are woefully behind and struggling to stay afloat. Different team dynamics lead to interpretations of culture that can sometimes feel opposed. There’s a lot of work to be done in bringing all parts of the company to parity, but there’s a zeal and a determination to do so.

    Advice to Management

    Riot’s roots are found in trusting ourselves as players - get out of your own way and trust your people to get things done right. Don’t let risk get in the way of a good idea, and look to those calling out the problems on the ground level - more often than not, they have the right view on things. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the great - ship more stuff! Genre-defining =! AAA.

    And above all else: really take to heart the feedback here. There’s a reason these reviews sound the way they do - both exultant and accusatory - and there’s a lot to learn about how to improve things.


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