If you haven’t kept up with League of Legends news as of late, you probably haven’t caught the story about the retirement of the former editor of Lolesports. Frank Fields, also known as Mihri, has been working closely with Riot Games for the better part of three years. He’s been a public figure in the League community for the entire duration of his career, but in light of current events, he has decided to step down. The site’s recursive and restrictive guidelines for content submission have dramatically undercut the site’s ambitions of becoming the premier source of content and coverage for the professional gaming community within League of Legends.
Because the site was, in practice, owned by Riot Games and was a marketing mouthpiece for the company, many powerful voices in the community painted the site as being an unreliable source of accurate information. In a community where issues like game balance and criticism should be a centerpiece of the content, the site was accused of not being objective enough to serve as a hub for information about the game’s professional gaming contingent. Riot Games, after all, wouldn’t post anything negative about the game on one of their own properties, as it would directly conflict with their interests as a company.
Members of the community have speculated that the decision for Frank Fields to step down wasn’t voluntary, and that he might have been forced out by Riot. The editor managed to piss off a massive segment of the community, and this doesn’t bear well for the game—a game which boasts millions upon millions of active players and has a flourishing pro gaming community in direct competition with other titles like Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and other popular competitive games that feature at the top of the charts on Twitch.tv.
This comes on the heels of a controversy about transparency in the gaming media, when independent journalists weren’t willing to reveal the way they voted at the Spring Season awards. Players were rightly miffed by the entire process, and Lolesports was at the center of the controversy. Everything was mishandled, and it has turned out to be a massive mess. Since Fields has stepped down, he is being replaced by an editorial pick from Riot games, and hopefully they will get someone who has a better handle on things this time and will report information more quickly and more objectively.
People had plenty to say about the controversy in the community, including renowned eSports historian and commentator Duncan Shields, who spoke extensively on the subject in a video featured on his official YouTube channel. There was an explosion of controversy in the Twitterverse with multiple hashtags, leading to a fiery discussion about community standards, eSports, and about Riot’s involvement with the gaming media in general.
Surely, things will calm down over time, and Riot will pick someone who is a little more well-suited for the job of running one of the community’s most important informational hubs.