[Consider this week an interlude. After last week’s complete spanking in the Riot Rumble, it’s disappointing to report that the Golden Ganks’ Week 2 is… a bye. The DNC Silver division has two groups, you see, and ours has an odd number of teams. Week 3 will see us facing “Oppa Poro Style,” but for now… we continue to sit and lick our wounds.
In the downtime I’ve continued to play Fizz mid-lane and am still loving my little fishy friend. In the past week, I’ve had four opposing teams surrender while playing the Fizzster, including last night in our Rumble practice (our first win as a team). Meanwhile, when my family wants to play computer AI “bot” games, I’ve been trying Sejuani, Fiddlesticks, and Kha’Zix. My thought it that I want to expand my Champion base so that when I’m actually facing a game with bans, I’m not caught completely unprepared. I like the poro-rider, scarecrow, and bug-guy so far, but we’ll see if any of them stick.]
Three Is The Magic Number
At home, my kids and I have been having some League of Legends fun on hikes. What’s that, you say? How can I possibly play League whilst hiking? Well… it’s not League per se. It’s more of a mental game. It all started thanks to Twisted Treeline, the game mode of League of Legends that pits teams three-on-three instead of five-on-five on a smaller map. As a family, we really like the idea of Twisted Treeline, but for some reason haven’t had as much fun playing it.
That said, we’ve been having LOADS of fun making Twisted Treeline themed teams. Out in nature, away from any sort of internet access, we challenge ourselves to find three Champions who hang together in some thematic way. And then it’s fun to debate how those teams would actually do in a game. It’s a test of our ability to remember the 120+ Champions in League and their various skins, and also just plain funny. Here are some of our recent creations:
- The “many eyes” team of Master Yi, Jax, and Kog’Maw.
- The “no eyes” team of Lee Sin, Lisandra, and Rek’Sai (and yes, these two teams playing against each other would be a hoot)
- The “shapeshifter” team of Shyvana, Elise, and Nidalee (add Gnar and Zac for a full five-person team)
- The “barbarian” team of Olaf, Gragas, and Barbarian Scion
- The “ninja” team of Shen, Kennen, and Akali
- The “cat” team of Rengar, Nidalee, and Ahri (yes, I know Ahri is actually a fox… work with me here) versus the “bear” team of Volibear, Annie, and Bear Cavalry Sejuani or the “bird” team of Swain, Quinn, and Anivia
- The “classic monsters” team of Amumu, Warwick, and Vladimir
- The “moustache” team of Braum, Graves, and Draven
- The “spears” team of Kalista, Nidalee, and Pantheon
- The “deep sea” team of Fizz, Nautilus, and Nami
You get the idea. The trick is to find combinations that are unique enough that less than five Champions can reasonably lay claim to them (this excludes themes like “fire” or “Freljord,” for example). Admittedly, some of the above teams are more inspired than others, but let me assure you that the more you think about thematic connections, the more you see them. It’s a testament to the diversity and sheer volume of League’s Champions, not to mention their gazillion skins.
So my First Stone Cold Challenge of the Century of the Week (if this reference isn’t familiar and you’re an American football fan, give yourself the gift of this today) to you: Post some of your own clever three-member combinations in the Comments section. I promise you that it will fuel a whole new round of conversation on my kids’ next hike (okay… that’s a pretty loserly incentive. I’ll bow to your creative genius? Fame? For the sheer joy of it? C’mon! Please?). Let’s see what you’ve got!
Talent Is As Talent Does
In other news, it turns out that Riot Games is growing like a weed thanks to League of Legends’ unprecedented success. As a company, we aspire to build world-class teams across every discipline (Art, Engineering, Game Design, Finance, etc.). For Talent, that means my personal goal is to build a world-class Talent / People / Human Resources team. And since we’re the group helping other teams build world-class teams, well, I guess that I consider the bar even higher for us.
Apologies for the blatant plug, but four months into my role here and I am downright excited about Riot’s Talent team. We have two founders passionate about people and talent, the company’s on a rocket-ride of growth, we have a chance to innovate across almost every dimension of traditional Human Resources, and hopefully this weekly blog has provided a glimpse into how great I think it is to work here. In fact, the culture at Riot is something that everyone here considers unique and special, and as such it’s something we guard fiercely.
Given all that Riot has going for it, hiring awesome Talent people is easy, right? Wrongo. The difficulty comes in several places. First and foremost, finding HR professionals who are also passionate about games is tricky. Yes, Riot hires gamers. Almost exclusively, and in every role. We are player-focused to a fault and care deeply about player experience—and that’s just not something we can do if we aren’t, ourselves, players. Being a gamer, though, is not something that often shows up on someone’s resume or LinkedIn profile. In fact, without a Google search you would never know that before Riot I had a secret, nerdy, identity. I find myself constantly phone screening people with fantastic resumes—truly world-class in their craft—who simply aren’t aligned to Riot’s mission and audience. We’re coming up with some interesting ways to find gamers in non-gamer industries, but it’s still a puzzle. Add in Riot’s high quality bar for talent in general, plus the fact that we value both drive AND genuine humility, and it sometimes feels like I’m on a quest to find purple unicorns.
So my Second Stone Cold Challenge of the Century of the Week is: Do you know rockstar HR professionals who are bleary-eyed the day after a World of Warcraft expansion is released, or wear superhero t-shirts on the weekends, or regularly attend Magic: the Gathering tournaments, or have seen Star Wars no less than a hundred times? If so, please direct them to the Riot Games jobs site. New roles on the Talent team are opening up all the time (next week we’ll be adding a Director of Recruiting, for example). Again… let’s see what you’ve got!
Okay, enough shameless recruiting. Next week: Back to the Rumble!