Robert Hornbek

Game Development & Exploration

Posts Tagged ‘Riot Games Inc.’

DotA 2

Posted by rHornbek on October 14, 2010

Image of Bloodseeker from DotA 2

Recently there has been all sorts of controversy regarding Valves acquisition of the DotA property and even more so the announcement of Defense of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2).  There does not appear to be a centralized website for the game thus far, but there are enough articles to keep you busy until then if you Google it.  Now it is my turn to add to that list…

Personally I think Valve is making a mistake by trying to create a sequel for the game, or even bothering with the IP in the first place.  Valve has been known for their original properties and revolutionary thinking, and while DotA did establish a genre we are only beginning to see utilized Valve has the brainpower and resources to do far better.

To be fair, all we have seen is artistic renderings of the game’s characters and mention that the game will hold true to the original mechanics.  Is that really so bad?  I don’t think that is terrible, besides Valve has plenty of time to clean it up and make it better, I mean that has been Riot’s intention from the start.  Consider the second FPS ever made, it was probably not all that different than the first, and if you look at the latest FPS there are plenty of similar qualities.  So as long as there is progression I don’t think there is anything to get to worked up over.

What appears to be the greater issue for most people is Valves association with IceFrog, whom apparently does not have the best reputation in the DotA community.  I have never worked with the guy and despite the stories I head about him while working at Riot I really cannot judge.  But still, Valve could have done all of this without him or the DotA title.  Lets just hope they take DotA (not a terrible game) and really make it their own (a great valve game)!


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Games Page: Update

Posted by rHornbek on August 20, 2010

ATTENTION!!!  I just updated my Games page with some new information, but more importantly lot of shiny new logos!

Please check them out here or click on the Games page tab above in the navigation bar or to the left in the page list!

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What A Riot, Episode 2

Posted by rHornbek on May 13, 2010

On my first day I was introduced around the office and met nearly all of the people at Riot.  I quickly learned to like Billy, the only other marketing intern and who was later appropriately titled the “Senior Intern” for being the first intern at Riot.  He guided me as I learned the company’s business model and plans for marketing the League of Legends title.  In addition to this Billy and I were both informed how we were going to develop new marketing plans.
Within the first week I found myself along with Billy and our marketing manager inside the second conference room at the office.  Conference Room 2 was a nicely lit stairwell with a dry erase board leaning against the wall.  It wasn’t much but it was all we needed and this was a start-up company after all.  There we worked on new marketing plans that could be set underway before the game’s release so to generate interest in the community.  Our focus was of course the community surrounding DotA so we looked into many methods to draw their interests.

This is not the actually stairwell. The real one was much brighter.

On the marketing team I learned a lot about the true nature of viral marketing and how to properly implement it.  This information was a great and necessary stepping stone into my next phase at Riot Games.  One of the things I learned about the nature of viral marketing is that it is not fully self sufficient, you need to continue propagating the information to new targets.

Best case Viral Marketing scenario. But rarely the case.

The image above is the ideal scenario where you inform one or a few people that spread the information like wildfire.  But in reality you need to find the people are are capable of reaching so many other people and at some point in the chain the process will begin to slow down.  Like all marketing, viral marketing must be maintained and well planned before execution.  But unlike a lot of marketing, viral marketing can have a massive result with little associated costs.
Stay tuned for the next episode of What A Riot when our hero and his companions go from being a marketing team to the community team!

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What A Riot, Episode 1

Posted by rHornbek on January 14, 2010

For those of you who do not know me, or who are still getting to know me, at one time I interned at the start-up game company Riot Games.  There I worked on the company’s first title League of Legends, based off the groundbreaking WarCraft III mod Defense of the Ancients better known as DotA.  While at Riot I was fortunate to work with nearly all of the departments at one time or another, and thus I was able to learn a lot.  That’s not to say I didn’t confront any grand challenges, but I should cover most of the highs and lows in this and following articles.

The first time I heard about Riot games was actually from my grandma.  While attending a club gathering she learned from one of her friends that their son was busy developing an original game.  When she explained it to me I was immediately interested and requested that she get me in contact with him.  Not long after talking with Marc, the aforementioned son and president of Riot Games, I had an interview with the company for a production intern role.

Actual front door of actual office off the official website!

When I arrived at the company’s Culver City office I was super jazzed, I even turned up an hour early to make sure I was not late.  Inside the office things were just as I imagined.  The walls were adorned with game paraphernalia from both League of Legends and other popular titles.  Even a cut-out of Mr. T stood in the lounge, which was basically a game room with a massive TV and every modern consol you could by in stores.  To even better set the stage the company only had about 12 or so employees at the time, so from where I sat I could almost see everything that was happening in the office.  However I did not know I was about to have the best and worst interviews.

For my first interview I was warmly greeted by two Riot employees, the production assistant and the office manager.  The interview started off pretty standard covering a list of questions they had planned for me before arrival.  The interview soon turned into a conversation and the three of us began chatting openly about the games we play and would like to play.  To my delight I was given the opportunity to really express myself and feel comfortable doing it, it was overall a pleasure to chat with these individuals.

We will punch you suck'ah!

Just as we finished I was asked to wait in the office for the next interview and they left the room showing their gratification on the way out.  I only sat alone for a few moments enjoying the warmth of the previous conversation before the next interview snowed on my parade.  In came a tall silent man that sat staring at his smart phone for what felt like an eternity before he even greeted me.  This immediately had me unsettled.  He began talking, asking mostly the same questions as the two before him but this time with an absent and unyielding look.  To my relief the interview was over and I was left feeling incredibly awkward.  In all I felt pretty good, I said a quick goodbye and took another quick glance at the office before I was on my way back home.

It was a couple of weeks before I had my answer but when I finally got one I did not get the job.  I learned later that my downfall was when I described to my second interviewer my desire to become a designer, which he did not want for his production interns.  Without any other available positions I had to look elsewhere for industry jobs.

Hang in there kid and never give up!

A few months later my girlfriend sent me a link to a Craig’s List post requesting applicants for a marketing intern position at Riot Games and I jumped on it.  On my return I was interviewed by the marketing manager and I felt the interview went rather well.  In fact it went well enough that a few weeks later I was called an asked to begin working.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of What A Riot where our hero travels through the world of viral marketing!

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