I think one of the reasons I drifted away from Riot over the last couple years is my aversion to seriousness. This personality trait comes up again and again in my internal account of my life, and I'm sometimes conflicted about it. It certainly gives me something to prove.
One of the things I'm most relieved about is that I can leave Riot's inevitable transition to seriousness* behind me. I don't think it's because I can't compete technically, on the merits. I think it's much more that I find it tiresome to worry about every little thing. My style is much more "deal with it when it's a problem" than "figure it out upfront."
In my long term dream, the castle, I live the life of a gentleman-artist. I dabble in whatever interests me. I continue to work hard and learn. But the things I want to build are zeppelins, submarines, secret passages, towers on islands in lakes, underwater fortresses, aquaponics, tropical greenhouses in the snow..
It's difficult to tie that kind of whimsical vision to a big company. I often experience seriousness as a one way street. It's easy to get more serious, hard to get less serious. It takes real discipline, optimism, and trust in order to maintain a fun, creative working culture where mistakes are celebrated. I think it's extremely difficult to have that environment at a big company, for reasons of human psychology**.
If I'm willing to accept that I have the mentality of an artist but the skills of an engineer, then it seems that software engineering at a big company isn't really for me. Developing little games is the closest thing I've found to being paid to do what I want. Making my own game seems like an inevitable path.
*I don't think it will stop being fun to work at Riot, more that it's gotten so difficult to push stuff live. When I arrived, associate engineers could push code live without any real process at all. I'm more comfortable in that kind of environment, even though it may not be appropriate for a product the size of LoL.