MANILA, Philippines – Garena, the Philippine tournament organizer for competitive online game League of Legends, reversed a rule it had placed on an upcoming women's tournament following negative feedback and a statement from the game's developer, Riot Games.
This particular League of Legends tournament – dubbed the Iron Solari league – earlier had a rule in which the teams were restricted to having "a maximum of one (1) Gay/Transgendered woman for the entirety of the tournament day."
The rules meant that a team could not swap out a fresh teammate in or out for a new round of play during a game day, even when the day had multiple rounds of play. The rule also would have also severely restricted the number of gay or transgendered women in the tournament.
The reason for the adoption of the rule was, according to Garena, to ensure "a fair level playing field for all participants."
Garena added, "there are arguments and concerns from other participants who disputes that Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered Women members may probably have some unfair advantage."
The announcement drew ire from various sectors of the international gaming community overnight, with numerous websites reporting on the issue.
One geek culture website, The Mary Sue, noted the problem with Garena's inclusivity rule as being the opposite of inclusive. Victoria McNally of The Mary Sue wrote, "Hey, Garena Philippines, you know what’s a really good way to promote inclusivity? Not placing a quota on the amount of gay and trans women who can be on one team at a time."
League of Legends developer Riot Games also went on Twitter to say, "LGBT players are welcome at official LoL tourneys. We're working with partners to ensure consistency with our values across all regions."
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
Following both the feedback of the community and a discussion with its partners, Garena said it "decided to remove these restrictions completely."
"This means that any player who self-identifies as female will be allowed to participate," they added.
League of Legends is described as a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), where teams of players assume the role of champions with varying abilities in a bid to destroy an opposing team's main building, or Nexus.– Rappler.com
Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.