“Talking to players as a developer is scary and intimidating,” says ex-Riot employee

“Talking to players as a developer is scary and intimidating,” says ex-Riot employee

Aaron Rutledge, the Riot employee fired for controversial comments about a League of Legends streamer, has given an interview addressing both his termination and toxicity in the LoL community.

Speaking to Glixel, Rutledge said that he respected Riot’s decision to terminate him, and that he thought the response from the streamer he insult, Tyler1, was ‘generous’.

The ex-Riot staffer also opened up about toxicity within the title’s community.

“Talking to players as a developer is scary and intimidating,” he said.

“I know plenty of Rioters that won’t add the tag to their names, sometimes out of intimidation of getting called out or targeted, or sometimes because they just want to play League like a normal player. Still, having a thick skin and good judgment would have made things easier.”

When asked what kind of solution there might be to this negativity, he said he wasn’t sure.

“I totally agree with Riot’s policy of talking directly to the community when you feel comfortable doing so, and I think it really does help humanise the development team and help players feel heard,” he says. “If League devs had to go talk to a communications team for every comment they wanted to respond to it would end up feeling like total silence out there.

“I think we see developers leaning more and more into holding their players to a standard of behaviour. League, Overwatch, PUBG, and plenty of others are actively working to defend the quality of their games for the majority of players. I’d expect the tools to continue to advance as things like AI and neural-networks get more accessible to game devs. Ultimately, I think it's up to the players themselves to continue to make calls on what is and isn’t ok around them in games.”

Riot isn’t the only games company that has had to deal with toxicity within its community. Recently Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan opened up about how draining the development team found dealing with negative elements of the Overwatch community.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.