Riot Games is a rather unique developer in that their communication lines with players is constantly open. With what is probably one of the most active forums, members of the team are always interacting with the community, and ready to answer questions that arise. But as evidenced today by Ryan "Morello" Scott, Lead Content Designer for League of Legends, sometimes that interaction can be toxic.
"I once asked Morello, in a post, why he kept promising that [Heimerdinger] was being reworked when that clearly wasn't the case," commented a fan on the forums, "I pointed out how it felt like he was just trolling us. I stand by that statement. Because the one time we see anything solid, it was scrapped and they blamed US."
"Oh, and don't say the word "impatient". You clearly haven't been paying attention. This has been years now."
Proceeding this, Morello made a lengthy post not only explaining how champion reworks work, but why posts like this are the exact reason more game companies can't communicate with their fans without going through a public relations manager.
"This type of reaction and wide-spread expectation (it's common, not calling just you out here) is why so many game companies and devs are gag-ordered," Morello began, "Because all information is ammo against the developer. All info is equated to a promise that will meet expectations of 'now, and just how I want it in my own mind.' Considering we have a LOT of issues to work on and talk about, we can't follow-up with fresh information all the time."
"I'm gonna level with you; the way we get to communicate with players openly, without PR scrubbing, without gags is nearly unique to Riot. But there's little that makes me regret doing it more than seeing posts like this. It's disheartening."
No matter the platform, there are going to be those that attack a developer for things they have said, or haven't in this case. But when a studio is lucky enough to be free of those reigns, it's something people can take for granted, and Morello hopes the League of Legends community won't.
"We want to be a company that's more open and forward, and we want to just be real and unfiltered. In return, I think we have to have a better relationship and players can help by understanding that dates shift, and game development is complex and hard. Don't accuse on this stuff - it's extremely frustrating and not productive in the least."
Undoubtedly, it's been tough for Riot to adjust as League has spiked to one of the most popular competitive e-sports in the world. With million dollar prizes, thousands of attendees, and even more online viewers, it's not easy to manage all at once.
"We do this on our own time out of fervor - we want the open communication. There's a lot of issues, a lot of concerns, and a LOT of people. It's been like a few weeks since we've talked about [Heimerdinger] which is basically no time at all."
"Just because you don't have a date doesn't mean we're not doing it - it's just not the only thing in the universe that matters. Nothing in development is."
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