What the heck is a MOBA? I hear you cry. Why, it’s a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, of course! OK, so not everyone knows what this ‘new’ genre of game is, and that’s understandable, however now that it’s becoming more and more popular each year, you’ll be hearing about it often.
MOBAs are generally games which pit two teams of players against one another, with the main goal being to destroy eachothers’ main structures in their base. They can come in many guises but are mostly played from a top-down RTS-style perspective, but there are exceptions to the rule. Pathways, or lanes, connect the bases whilst AI-controlled units, or creeps, spawn at certain intervals and travel towards the opposing base. The players’ characters usually have special abilities and attributes which differentiate them from one another and allow for different strategies depending on which you choose.
Below we have listed a few MOBAs we urge you to try, especially if you’ve never played this type of game before.
Dota 2 was developed by Valve, the creators of Half-Life, Team Fortress, and those super-scary Steam Sales we all love to hate. Sticking to a single 3-lane map, but boasting over 100 hero characters for players to choose from, Dota 2 has been growing in popularity ever since it’s full release in 2013.
The game is playing host to the biggest eSports tournament in history – The International 2014 – which currently has a prize pool of around $10.4 million USD. So, that large figure may just convince you to take a look, if you need any more convincing that is. However, with all brilliantly amazing and awesome things there are sometimes downsides, which is why I wrote about why you should never play Dota 2.
League of Legends
Developed by Riot Games, it’s easily the most popular of the genre, boasting a huge 27 million players per day. League of Legends (LoL) plays in a very similar way to Dota 2, although it uses a much more cartoony-style with its environments and characters.
LoL has various maps and modes to choose from, and as you progress in level by playing and winning matches you can customise your skill trees which affect your characters in battle. There are over 100 characters to choose from too, which means there’s bound to be one or two in there to suit your style of play.
A third-person take on the genre here in Hi-Rez Studios’ Smite. Game modes ranged from 1vs1, 3vs3 and even an Arena mode where it’s a little more open and pure combat is favoured. Whereas in most MOBAs the skills and abilities used are often clicked and targeted, Smite’s are mainly skill-shot based, meaning your affinity to aiming is key.
Characters in Smite are all based on gods and deities from various religions and mythologies. So if you want to wield lightning from Mount Olympus as Zeus, you can! The game looks gorgeous on full graphics settings too.
Heroes of Newerth
S2 Games’ take on the MOBA genre is another title boasting over 100 characters to choose from. Whilst Heroes of Newerth (HoN) is pretty standard fare when it comes to the genre, and isn’t the most popular in terms of the number of players, it still has great appeal.
Some of the heroes to choose from include a flint-lock wielding orc-looking character called ‘Flint Beastwood, and a squirrel called ‘The Chipper’ that pilots a mech. Like most games in the genre, the sheer number and variety of different characters in HoN are extremely varied and fun to play.
Developed by Turbine and Published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment using the DC universe, Infinite Crisis mixes up the MOBA gameplay and lets you use your favourite comic book characters too. Of the many characters to choose from there’s Batman, Superman and Poison Ivy to name but a few. Each character has alternate costumes inspired by the many DC universes such as Gaslight Earth, Prime Earth and Nightmare Earth.
One of the maps, Gotham Heights, mixes things up from your standard lane gameplay by dropping the two opposing teams in a circular map that has five control points. When the control points are captured by your team it drains the power core of the enemy team – the more points your team holds, the more quickly their power core is drained.
Each of the above games are all free-to-play right now, although there are in-game purchases you can make use of if you choose, but they’re not necessary to gain an advantage or to win. Infinite Crisis is still in open beta at the moment, but you may as well sign up and get in on the action. More MOBAs are being released and announced on a regular basis and it’s a fast-growing genre, so keep an eye on HITC as we’ll be bringing you a list of new MOBAs to look out for soon.