Riot Games "growing pains" Reviews | Glassdoor

Riot Games Employee Reviews about "growing pains"

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22 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (9)

    "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.


  2. "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

  3. Helpful (2)

    "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.


  4. 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.


  5. Helpful (16)

    "Self-Aware and Progressive"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Live Data Analyst in West Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Live Data Analyst in West Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Great benefits - health, vision, dental, gym subsidy, etc
    LA Campus has fully stocked food
    Open office layout
    Serious focus on personal growth, but needs to be self-driven
    Decentralized product style
    Flexible work hours
    Freedom of technology - choose the stack that makes the best sense
    Clubs and other non-work activities
    Vidya gaems ftw
    LA campus is beautiful
    LA campus has parking deck
    Very pleasant coworkers
    Very protective of company culture
    Expected to be friends with coworkers

    Cons

    Open office layout
    Decentralized product style
    Flexible work hours - long hours will happen, but if you get called for an issue at 4am, you won't be expected until late the next day
    Sometimes too lenient
    Grew very fast and is experiencing growing pains
    Very protective of company culture
    I sometimes worry that perfect is the enemy of good
    Variable speed in product spaces - some move fast, some move painfully slow
    Communication issues occur -- both too much and too little communication; result of growing pains
    Hiring is slow due to culture requirements
    Expected to be friends with coworkers

    Advice to Management

    Be more willing to publicly experiment. Client Alpha is a great example. Do more of that.
    Speed up the hiring process.
    More automation. MOAR


  6. Helpful (1)

    "good 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

    good product, young team, everyone is excited about what they do. teams are supportive and managers care. onus on you to push your own growth and take on new challenges

    Cons

    in some areas needs more structure, growing very quickly so growing pains expected and normal. expectations sometimes not clear. nepotism is not uncommon.

    Advice to Management

    more structure for new employees. set clear paths to success & expectations.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "By far the best place to work in games"

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

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

    Pros

    - Riot treats all of its employees incredibly well, from top tier benefits across the board, to the state of the art campus, free gourmet lunch and dinner. I really can't imagine a better place to work in games (or in tech around the greater LA area).
    - Very strong on culture, which in my opinion is a positive thing. Company heavily focuses on player empathy across the board, even folks in non game production / design related roles (i.e. finance or recruiting) are passionate gamers.
    - Feels like the company has a ton of upside. In the history of games no one has been as invested in trying to be as player focused as Riot. It's a brave new world but could mean that there's still a lot of long term value to unlock.
    - On that note, the founders are both passionate gamers and have an incredibly long view on everything. It's never about how to take short cuts, but rather how do we do it right and make it awesome for years to come.

    Cons

    - Like most successful companies that scaled very fast, there seems to be some growing pains in terms of org / reporting structure.
    - Management has done a good job of hiring senior leaders who have lead big organizations as of late, but a good chunk of the staff feels junior.
    - Strong culture means that if you're not a gamer or have high player empathy, you will likely have some issues fitting in with colleagues.
    - Some people seem pretty relaxed at their jobs / lack a sense of urgency. Not sure it's because they've been here for a while, but not the type of attitude you want to see at a high functioning organization.

    Advice to Management

    Stay focused and stay hungry. Invest in your best talent and cut out the fat. Keep making this place an awesome place to show up every morning and continue to be player focused - success will surely follow.

  8. Helpful (26)

    "Smart People, Awesome Products, Terrible Managers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Coordinator in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Coordinator in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Riot Games full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    -great perks, including health benefits, good dental, and vision
    -free lunch in the cafeteria, free dinner if you work past 8pm
    -free snacks and drinks all over campus
    -beautiful solo campus
    -great security (sometimes its too overprotective and makes for a huge bottleneck at events)
    -awesome, brilliant, hardworking people
    -dedication to art and engineering is unprecedented
    -20/80 women:men ratio, which is higher than most places, and the women are often very tight-knit with events and stuff, though some can be quite cliquey

    Cons

    -no bonus structure, which is beyond odd, especially for a company in the games industry.
    -lots of "rah rah" attitude around accomplishments while muttered in the same sentence to "stay humble"
    -manifesto is used as a shield for bad behaviors, especially by managers
    -productivity is non-existent during the day for some teams because all they do is have meetings and play LoL
    -one game/product, etc creates a lot of whispering and toxicity around new products as there's a strong belief that most things will never see the light of day
    -teams spin up and down at break-neck speed, creating huge communication gaps and unreliability around ownership
    -the growing pains are frequent and totally unchecked by Senior Leadership
    -bro culture is everywhere and sometimes downright offensive to anyone not cis-white-male
    -high turnover, especially in the last 12 months- some people who have been with the company for 2-5 years are leaving, which is a huge red flag

    Basically, it is/was a great company, but currently it's devolving into a place where either you work hard for little individual respect, appreciation, or advancement or else you're totally content to work a 10-7 job with great perks where you never really HAVE to finish anything (unless suddenly you do because *reasons*) - and that all depends on your team and manager, and whether you're working on anything people care about, which if it isn't LoL, isn't likely. Most people are frustrated with the workload, management, slow development cycle, or all of the above at Riot.

    Advice to Management

    Take an honest account of all the managers you have working, from associate to director level, and really evaluate their skills, attention to their teams, and ability to work with people. There are a ton of inexperienced or outright hostile managers here that are significantly impacting team health, delaying product delivery, and creating toxic environments, while left totally unchecked by Senior Leadership.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Loving it"

    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

    I've been at Riot for almost a year now, and the experience has been very rewarding. My favorite part about working here is the autonomy you get. Other people at the company trust that you know your stuff and won't micromanage or question everything that you do. You are judged by your results (and people will judge them!). This trust is a result of an admittedly grueling interview process in most disciplines that tries to ensure that you are player-focused (you'll use your autonomy to make the right thing for the players) and that you are a master of your discipline (you'll use your autonomy to make things the right way).

    Another aspect of Riot that I love is how open to feedback individuals are and the company as a whole. Candid feedback is encouraged, solicited, common and responded to. A recent test of this was when there was a change in payroll that was announced ahead of time, elicited a ton of negative feedback and was promptly cancelled because of the feedback. Every company I have ever worked for in the past would have not even asked ahead of time, let alone changed their minds.

    Finally, it is just amazing to be surrounded by the quality of people here at Riot. Not only is everyone brilliant, they are generally humble and willing to help with anything.

    Cons

    Riot is definitely experiencing growing pains with a dearth of strong leadership in many areas. This has lead to junior Rioters without sufficient mentoring.

    The interview process is very long and often confusing to candidates. It is for a good reason, but we can do a much better job cleaning up the process and communicating more clearly with candidates.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on growing and making more effective existing Rioters over hiring new ones.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Unique and dynamic work environment, inspiring peers, fun--but not without some downsides"

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

    I have been working at Riot Games as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I interned at Riot over the summer and currently am working part-time as well. So far I've really enjoyed my time here and met many inspiring and talented people. Its a very fast-growing company and there's certainly an atmosphere of enthusiasm here; a genuine love of the game and players is what drives Riot to succeed. Also so much free food!

    Cons

    Definitely some of the company's structure and communication between departments needs some work; as other reviews mentioned Riot does suffer some growing pains. Some sort of passive-aggressive animosity (much of it confusing as to how it originated) between departments does exist. Within my own internship I felt a bit of lack of direction sometimes.


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