Hello! This edition of Dote Night is about a controversy which erupted yesterday in regards to the rules for a women-only League of Legends tournament run by the Garena organisation. The specifics are obviously about League of Legends and about this particular tournament, but the reason the rules are problematic is because they tap into stereotypes and assumptions which permeate across the pro scene and across games. It’s also a good place to bring up a study which looked at female and male League player skill which is important for how we think about both recreational and professional gaming. Here goes!
eSports organisation Garena has updated the rules for a Philippines-based League of Legends tournament in order to remove restrictions originally placed on LGBT players.
I’ll explain the original rules and why they were problematic in a second but the update means they now state that “any player who self-identifies as female will be allowed to participate” and “We sincerely apologize for any offense we caused to the LGBT and gaming communities.”
Riot, the developer of League of Legends, swiftly turned to Twitter to make their own position clear:
LGBT players are welcome at official LoL tourneys. We're working with partners to ensure consistency with our values across all regions.
— Riot Games (@riotgames) February 3, 2015
Here’s what happened initially: