It’s the tale of an extremely difficult, user-unfriendly game reaching untold heights of success. It’s the story of a company that has remained committed to listening to and interacting with its fans even as it at has grown exponentially. More than anything, it’s the story of two best friends who liked playing video games and decided one day to make their own.
Riot is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, but to really know how one of the world’s biggest development studios got started, you need to go back to Los Angeles in the early aughts. You need to find two University of Southern California business students who formed a bond unrelated to their studies.
More than a hundred million people play League of Legends every month now. For a game as uninviting and complex as this, that’s an absolutely astonishing number of people. It’s also quite amazing to compare the early years of League to today, and see just how much the game has changed over the years. I don’t think many people realise just how different today’s League is to that of only a few years ago.
I play League pretty much every day, as a great way to unwind after a day’s work. I’m not always happy with every single change Riot implements – anyone remember the tank meta? – but when push comes to shove, I think the company is doing quite a good job of keeping League fresh with interesting new content, gameplay changes, and balance adjustments. They failed spectacularly in the area of communication these past few years, but they seem to have turned that ship around in the second half of this year, with more openness and better communication about the state of the game, their choices, and their reasoning – and, of course, they are finally fulfilling some long-standing player requests and their own promises.