- Work/Life Balance
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
- Comp & Benefits
- Senior Management
I worked at Riot Games full-time
Good place to learn for those very early on in their career
Aspirations and goals that can inspire and motivate people
League of Legends and the gaming community around it has left me with very fond memories and close friendships.
As with many companies on Glassdoor, the negative reviews cut closer to the truth than the positive ones. Here are excerpts from existing reviews that resonate with my experience:
“Riot hasn't done a great job scaling, and a lot of how it does business comes from tribal customs and values from when the company was a lot smaller. Some of these values get skewed and weaponized in unsavory ways.”
“If you strive for efficiency, this isn’t the place for you. If you get stuck on one of these "wasted" projects, you will be pretty miserable.”
“Leadership is often inexperienced and ineffective. Most senior leaders surround themselves with yes-men only and challenging the wrong leader can effectively end your career at Riot.”
“Definitely the worst experiences of my career. Extremely type A people, some people don't practice what they preach and many of those people are in leadership positions.”
“Due to the seemingly infinite budget and lack of accountability, this company breeds complacency.”
“Employees who don’t agree, or truthfully criticize work are flipping a coin on their job”
“Criticisms can get ignored or reasoned away because of the overwhelming success of the company, and instead Rioters will hear that anyone who disagrees either wasn't a "culture fit" or couldn't "align" with the company or couldn't hack it at Riot. It's hard to gauge how detrimental these factors are, because many Rioters seem happy (or comfortable) with how things are. What sucks is that there's a Riot inside the current company that could be everything it wants to be. It could be kicking down doors and shaking things up, but first it needs to have a serious conversation about some of its problems.”
Advice to Management
I will leave you with the following questions:
How realistic is it to say those leaving Riot voluntarily or are let go were truly never culture fits to begin with? Is it possible other insight can be gained?
What challenges has Riot faced in the past that ended up being truly unique to Riot? How often was this belief untrue? How many problems do you currently believe are truly unique to Riot?
Are terms such as "genre defining" and "brand" causing Rioters ignore practical decisions? How are these (and others) themes impacting short term goals? What about long term?
How often does feedback go directly to the individual it is about? How long does it take to get there? Are they the first one presented this feedback? If not how often is it shared with others and what impact does it have?
Does management consist of active of core gamers? Where is this true and where not? What behaviors and trends can be found?
What is the ratio between supporting functions versus individual contributors on a team, discipline, and organization? What traits do you find as this number shifts from one extreme to another?
I have been working at Riot Games full-time
There are tons of benefits. In my first week I had a 1-hour presentation about all that Riot offers beyond the norm. Rioters really are treated incredibly well.
There is a lot of autonomy and if you have solid reasoning you can do pretty much anything you can imagine as hierarchies are flat and leaders listen and can be convinced by solid rationale - even if they may disagree initially.
Where Riot exceeds every other company on the planet is the following:
This is the perfect place to work if you are a gamer.
You are encouraged to play games in the office, you will always have somebody to chat with about latest gaming trends and if you love League of Legends there is no better place to be.
The onboarding is a very unique experience, that tends to drop you into the cold water after the initial procedures. Rioters are, generally speaking, highly self-driven which compensates for this, but we can get greater results early on if we give them a general direction in which to drive.
On a seperate topic, I have experienced from a friend and co-worker that people who are not as gaming-affine can sometimes feel left out.
Lastly everyone should be aware that the hiring process tends to be very long due to the strong focus on cultural alignment and hence an incredibly high amount of interviews.
Advice to Management
Keep focusing on strong cultural alignment and keep up the drive to solve existing problems as we go.
We still have a long way ahead of us and it will remain crucial to be self-aware and improve on our journey.
Last but not least greater visibility regarding future goals & vision would be highly appreciated.
I worked at Riot Games (Less than a year)
I have to thank Riot Oceania for giving me one of the best opportunities I've ever had to advance my career and achieve my goals. I was a pretty scruffy candidate, all things considered, but they chose to believe in my potential nonetheless. They take their recruitment very, very seriously -- every single word on the website about their culture and values is 100% true. I really appreciated the honesty from the interviewers and recruiters at every stage of the process. It didn't feel like "are you good enough to tick these boxes", but rather "are you the right person for us, and are we the right company for you".
The work is so rewarding at Riot. As a League of Legends player of seven years, I really felt like every single thing I shipped added value to the game and to Oceanic players. People talk about Riot OCE as an Australian arm of the company, and I think that's a pretty good way to sum it up. The office banter is great, most people there are gamers like you (hopefully you're a gamer or I'd think hard about whether you really want to work for a games company!), and feedback is always welcome and available.
You'll also have a lot of opportunities to pick up other skills while at Riot. Although Rioters can come off as a little irreverent about including you in their own projects, you can relax knowing that they're always coming from the right place -- they believe you can add value, and they're really happy to work with you.
The office is awesome. I drank more orange juice and consumed more Shin Ramyun in my time at Riot than the rest of my life put together. Being able to play games at work is a neat bonus that actually helps you do your job better too (although I limited my Dota 2 time to after hours...).
I can't speak for others, but for my position, there really wasn't much in the way of work/life balance. Ultimately that's why I decided to leave. But retrospectively, I think it was only this way because I was so committed to Riot's mission that I gave too much of myself to it. Riot do their best (within reason) to get you to your important family events, soccer games, church, whatever, but sometimes the nature of the job just doesn't allow for it.
The training could be better. I came in with a bit of a lopsided statsheet, and it took me ages to get up to scratch with the other aspects of the job that I wasn't experienced in. It was partly on me because I didn't ask for enough help, but I still feel that I was underequipped for my first few months.
It can be frustrating working for a regional office like Sydney, too. You join Riot wanting to be a hero for the players, but once you learn about and understand all the things that are holding Riot back from getting stuff out the door, you feel awful whenever you see a player asking for something that you personally can't deliver on (without sacrificing your personal time).
Advice to Management
Gave all the advice in my exit interview, but keep at it and stay true to Riot values.
I have been working at Riot Games full-time (More than a year)
If you are a gamer who take play seriously, Riot is the best place to work.
The manifesto is not empty words at all, it is practiced in Riot.
League of legends, the game title of Riot is still popular.
If you are not a gamer, it would be hard for you to adapt to the culture. Misson-driven, culture-driven company.
Advice to Management
Keep your great work!
I have been working at Riot Games full-time (Less than a year)
I signed up to deal with the massive amounts of data that League of Legends collects. So if you are a data nerd you will appreciate:
- volume and diversity of data
- access to state of the art tools related to data crunching and analysis
- the high value placed on how to turn data into a better experience for players
General pros include
- relaxed and friendly atmosphere
- amazing potential for growth in all areas (profession, management, etc)
- every level of Riot is keen to make both the player experience and employee experience better, and it's genuine.
- LA traffic is terrible.
- High bar for culture fit is a good thing, but ultimately means sometimes there is more work to do than people available to do it.
- Slightly family unfriendly (some meetings are scheduled between 5 and 7 pm, which conflicts with your kids schedule). Riot is getting better at this however.
Advice to Management
The emphasis on meetings (lots of them) should be better balanced with time needed to get work done. I have seen a few examples of 'too much talk, not enough action'. Awareness is generally there, but stay vigilant!
League of Legends is a cool product to work on
Rampant bullying and harassment:
- Bullies hired and kept on teams, and allowed to harass good talented workers constantly, causing turnover and lost careers
- Harassment denied and blamed on the victim because the manager is also a bully
- Very low morale and trust levels that destroys learning, communication and teamwork because of toxic work environment caused by harassment, immaturity and disrespect
- Bad team players (bullies) being unfairly favored and good talented respectful team players being disrespected, unappreciated and left out
- A system that breeds "Bully" mentality. To survive is to become a bully or leave.
Extremely unfair favoritism & egos:
- Only a select few spoiled people with huge egos get clout or respect for their achievements
- Most very talented experienced high achieving workers constantly get overlooked and ignored for their hard work and achievements, even when they do better than the "favorite people"
- Unfair favoritism causing ignored people to overwork themselves for a false assumption that they can be appreciated for their achievements like the "favorite people". It never happens, even when they have done better than the "favorite people"
- Favored spoiled egotistical workers forcing their way on the rest of the team, stifling the other talented workers, and harming final products and team morale because of their ego
Very bad management:
- Inexperienced, immature, lazy managers that blame their team when they, the manager, won't even manage or train the team
- Managers that expect the team to manage itself even when the manager has not trained them to have the skills to do so
- Managers that have poor communication and are very disorganized
- Managers that are not flexible, do not listen to the workers, and have big egos
- Managers that are condescending and micromanaging of their workers, and do not listen to or utilize the experience, talent and knowledge of the workers.
- Managers that ruin the morale of the team, because they are bad with people and do not know how to encourage and empower their workers. They instead make workers feel worthless and like they are never good enough.
- Managers that promote unfair favoritism and unrealistic expectations on the team
- Managers that are not team players
Overdone, immature, clique-like, cult-like culture that kills good talented workers:
- The overbearing culture causes the workers to not be free to be themselves or even human, forcing unrealistic conformity, stifles personal identity, and brainwashes the workers (you are just a number who is undeserving)
- If you don't perfectly conform to the immature, clique-like, cult-like group, then you will quickly be left out and unappreciated for your hard work, talent and achievements, and even worse, struggle to keep your job
- Individuality is discouraged, and human needs like appreciation, encouragement, and being listened to, is close to non-existent
No real opportunities:
- Constant overworking and extreme effort to over achieve, only to earn little to nothing in the form of promotions or clout over a long period of time, while other "favorite people" constantly get more and more promotions and clout
- Managers giving unclear guidelines for career development and changing guidelines randomly
Unequal treatment of women:
- Women are very outnumbered on all teams, and their unique and needed opinions are constantly overlooked because there are too many males and male opinions
- Over a long period of time, the female worker is prone to feel like she has to be like a male to fit in and achieve
- Women remain misunderstood and unappreciated because there are not enough of them
- Riot swag and gifts are often tailored for males, making them useless for women
- There is no real equal opportunity help for minority groups like women at riot, other than Riot Dames (but it doesn't help very much)
- a completely disorganized and overdone product feedback system that waists time and energy, exhausts, discourages and over stresses the workers and ruins the products
- no cubicles or walls between desks. The open floor plan causes even more stress, disorganization, and lack of productivity
- extreme disorganization causing never ending problems that cause more problems, and nothing is ever solved
- no real style guides or goals for products, causing random changing opinions to ruin products and frustrate teams
- excessive competition caused by lack of organization that causes constant instability and stress
Extremely unhealthy levels of Stress:
- Overbearing culture, feedback system, bullying, unrealistic expectations and disorganization cause excruciating levels of stress, that overflows to the weekends and after work
- Excessive overworking of new workers, causing extensive overtime for months, causing physical fatigue, sickness and extreme lack of sleep over long periods of time
- Constant lack of appreciation of talented hard workers causing them to over-stress over unrealistic expectations and unattainable goals
- Job causing extreme anxiety, stress and depression at almost all times
Advice to Management
- Organize the company, the teams, and organize and simplify the feedback system
- Hire only very experienced management that is very good with people
- Stop the unfair favoritism
- End the overbearing culture and allow the workers to be human
- Stop the immaturity
- Stop tolerating bullies and harassment
- Help women to be treated equal on all teams
- Learn to understand artists and work with their unique needs
- Stop firing the wrong people and keeping the wrong people
Perks are incredible and competitive with top tech companies- Free housing, free (amazing) food on weekdays, work culture is laid back but still progress-driven, a huge multitude of League of Legends related perks, and activities on weekends for interns. Small intern class means that it's hard to feel lost/unimportant, and interns get close to each other. Full-time workers are incredibly friendly and helpful. Freedom to fail is given!
Also, Brandon Beck is awesome and one of the friendliest/most welcoming people ever.
The intern experience can vary vastly depending on the position/department they are working in. Another department with multiple interns had several events for their interns and internal department-bonding events, but I didn't experience a lot of these things as the only intern in my department.
Advice to Management
Sync up with other intern managers and make sure that your interns aren't missing out on some of the perks/opportunities that others are getting!
I worked at Riot Games as a contractor
Casual dress code.
Lunch provided in Tuesday and Dinner provided daily if working past 8:00 p.m.
Encouraged to play League of Legends multiple times daily.
No vacation limit.
Very little controls.
Values LOL players over skill sets in hiring.
Advice to Management
Balance player focus with big company view.
I have been working at Riot Games full-time (Less than a year)
When I say this is literally the best place I have ever worked, I mean it. This is accounting for a full career in leadership and management roles spanning 20+ years, 10 of which have been in the games industry working for the most recognized names in gaming. Every place I have worked has had a set of "core values", but only 2 of them have ever really shown some belief in those values (Riot being one of them), and only Riot has fully nailed them from aspiration to execution, while truly living those values through their actions, extending to (and especially in) the "customer service" side of the business.
Below are some bullets of the things that make Riot the top of the list for me:
Ethos/Culture - What you do proves what you believe. The Riot Manifesto isn't just some catchy words or phrases that a group of execs put together to communicate what they aspire to be as an organization. It isn't pasted around the office on brightly colored posters pontificating how you should behave to be a Rioter. The Manifesto and it's guiding principles are the foundation of every action, decision, and endeavor that Riot undertakes. Each individual is able to articulate how their contribution impacts the player experience, and while the recruitment process is brutal (more on that later), it is designed to identify those that share a deep connection with and belief in those principles.
Empowerment/Trust - At Riot, you can make mistakes as long as you don't repeat them, and as long as you are learning in the process. I have never in my career in leadership and management roles been so completely empowered. There are no strings attached, and I know that as long as I am accountable and responsible while demonstrating a strong, guided reason for my decisions, I can do pretty much anything. That isn't an exaggeration ... I am trusted to make decisions that impact Riot as a whole, and that trust is as common at Riot as grains of sand on a beach.
Intellectual Stimulation - I am working with some of the most intelligent people I have ever met, hands down. And I don't mean just smart ... these people are next level. Riot's philosophy on hiring extreme talent with shared ethos and passion has resulted in a work space that is continuously stimulating with healthy, engaging debate, conversation, and work. The bar here is exceptionally high, and because of that you are constantly meeting new people that continue to raise your expectation of what amazing is. Also, I might add, without the pretentious bullsh*t.
Passion/Engagement - Riot cares, and the people do to. That is because everyone shares that common ethos and a passion, not just for League of Legends and gaming in general, but for achieving excellence and mastery. And if excellence has been achieved, they celebrate it ... then raise the bar again. It is an endless quest for perfection in a group of people that love what they do. Imagine that for a moment, and what it is like to work with those people every day.
Personal/Professional Growth Opportunities - Leveling up is an integral part of being a Rioter. As I mentioned before, there is an endless quest for mastery and Riot supports this at every turn. There is a constant stream of educational and development opportunities through a variety of channels, and if there is something unique that you want to do that will help level up both you and Riot (even sometimes not directly related to your current role), there is support for that as well. As an example, I recently wanted to take an academic accreditation in a specific methodology for leadership, management, and communications. From start to finish, the approval for this took a day despite the fact that there was a cost associated with it ... that should tell you something about how Riot operates and looks at professional growth. No one has to tell me that the expectation is that I will take what I learn, bring it to Riot, and level up the other Rioters around me by sharing this knowledge. And damned right I will.
Recruitment Process - The recruitment process can be incredibly brutal. There can be long delays in communication before and after screenings and interviews, and the overall process is lengthy as well due to the number of people in various locations involved in every new hire process. They are working on making this process better, but it is still quite painful for many applicants.
Ambiguity - Riot doesn't really do black and white. If you are looking for a data and process driven work environment with people telling you what to do and when to do it, you probably wont fit the majority of roles at Riot. Riot uses data to inform decisions, yes, but context is king. You don't get to lay back and say "well the numbers say x so y is correct". You have to figure out a lot of things, and in some cases this is great ... in other cases, it is a sign of missing direction or leadership and this is something that Riot is beginning to tackle, though it is pretty rare from what I have seen. The result in these rare situations is misalignment, which in turn can cause confusion and frustration.
Blistering Pace - Things are constantly changing and evolving ... some people love this, some people don't. I love it and thrive in an environment that moves at a fast pace, but I know there are a lot of people out there that prefer a more consistently stable and routine work environment. Riot really is a culture of work hard, play hard. If you can't keep up, chances are you will be left behind. To use an anthropological analogy, Riot is hunter friendly, not farmer friendly.
Cost of Living - Dublin, while a super cool city, is incredibly expensive in terms of cost of living. Rents are so expensive that as a sole provider in your family, things can be tight even on an above average salary, especially if you want to live in a family-friendly area around Dublin without a hellish commute to the office. That can add extra pressure if you aren't prepared for this change when moving to Dublin. If you are single and going for an entry level role, chances are you will have to find a flatmate if you want to live close to work.
Advice to Management
Preserve the Culture - Do not let even one person in at a level of influence that doesn't genuinely share your ethos. Even if it is the most highly recommended well respected so and so from the biggest most successful company in the world. I have witnessed first hand the at first slow, then rapidly accelerating decay of an aspirational set of core values and a passionate culture because of a middle-management layer that doesn't give a damn about what we do or why we do it. Instead, they are there only to drive their own career and ego at any cost. And that cost is usually your good people and your precious culture.
My biggest fear for Riot is that they somehow let that one person through that is really good at managing upwards and diverting the leadership levels of the organization from the culture destroying actions that they are perpetrating on those that they are responsible for, however subtle those actions might be. Just as your games are nothing without the players, your business is nothing without your passionate people. That being said, I hope that the open feedback culture will help prevent this scenario.
I have been working at Riot Games full-time (More than 5 years)
I now have been at Riot for more than 5 years. I joined few months before the game launched, traveled and helped set up multiples offices and I now work in the Hong Kong office. There are already a lot of reviews about Riot Games and I made one something like three years ago. This time, I will then focus more on the Hong Kong office, its pros and cons.
---- International accountability structure ----
in most companies, a foreign office job is to basically execute in the local country whatever the head office has decided. Or what the regional office (Asia Pacific HQ, EMEA HQ, etc..) has decided.
At Riot, the structure is different. The headquarter basically decides and has authority on whatever needs to be the same everyone (like champion balance, company culture or the company logo), while the local offices decide and have authority on stuff that are specific to their territory (like local e-sports, local features, local community, etc…). What it means is that although you won’t have the authority to make a champion, a skin or change game balance from the Hong Kong office (we want the same for the whole world there, so HQ owns that), you’ll have the full accountability and authority on things that matters exclusively for China. This means: no dotted line reporting to another office, no back and forth approval over the ocean, no budget limit set by someone who doesn’t know your market, etc… If you are an entrepreneur and love action, building stuff and accountability, this is great. Your scope / impact might be more limited than in HQ (although China is a pretty big market), but you’ll have full ownership of whatever project you work on.
Riot is super picky when it comes to maintaining its culture in the company. Several interviewers will interview only this area to vet during the interview process. What has been great is the company has not compromised on this when expanding into other countries. This was tricky as some of the Riot culture principles go against the local culture. As a example, the culture of performance and the principle of exiting poor performer which is unusual in some countries. Or the culture of direct and transparent feedback which is sometimes quite unusual in some asian culture. In the example of Hong Kong, Riot brought existing Rioters from different origins (America, China, Europe), but who were all Rioters for at least a couple of years. It helped ciment the culture in the office and have the new hires integrate in the culture right away. The office won’t compromise on culture fit for new hire, even if it means hiring slower than we’d want. As a result, the company culture is also transparent in the Hong Kong office.
The office is really nice, and capture the same spirit, color scheme and comfort than HQ… with a great view as a plus! The other benefit is the location: it is based in Central, which means it is pretty accessible from anywhere in Hong Kong with massive public transportation network (buses, subway, ferry, escalators, etc…)
What has been great for a few of us is to work in a small team. Some of our other offices start to be big. Even if we keep an interesting team oriented org, these are still big offices where you often run into people you don’t know. At the moment, the Hong Kong office is just about 20 people. So everybody knows everybody and has good visibility on the rest of the office.
Because the office is focused exclusively on China, there is little distraction about all the other things that happened across the company. Several of us worked in other Riot offices for a few years and the ability to just focus on one topic is pretty cool (sure China is a big topic, but still one topic)
In China, League of Legends is operated by a partner. This brings pros and cons. Among the pros is this enables a lot of things. We can do stuff in China that are harder to do in other territories. Additionally, when we evaluate new projects, our partner can chip in and help with resources, and thus increase our ability to get things done.
On the other hand, working with a partner means you also have to negotiate sometimes. Although we get full accountability from our HQ, we still sometimes have to negotiate with our local partner. Most of the time we are in alignment, but obviously sometimes we are not. The good news is that we are still accountable of these negotiations in our Hong Kong office. So up to us to improve the relationship or better negotiate when we think it should be improved :-). Nothing is left to fate.
One of the problem of taking existing Rioters to set up the Hong Kong office is that quite a bit of the team doesn’t speak Chinese. This limits their opportunity to interact with players, our partner and the growing number of new Rioters. On the bright side, almost all the product owners speak Chinese and the goal of the office is to have full local and chinese speaking management in the next couple of years, just like any other foreign office.
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