From year 2005, PC gaming community is enjoying a rapid increase of Multiple Online Battle Arena game choices, a fever that started early in this millennium. Those familiar with the term of MOBA probably associate it with a very popular Warcraft 3 mod, Defense of the Ancients, often referred to as DotA. Although DotA wasn’t the first game of this type (Starcraft 1 also had a mod called Aeon of Strife) it sure was the first to gain such popularity (according to player community forums, there is between 13 and 15 millions of DotA players,including Asia). Others, less familiar, should be informed that DotA is a community-made “game” in which two teams consisting of 5 players controlling one character (called hero) per team, each trying to breach the other team’s defense and destroy their main building. At first hand, it may sound primitive and simple, but there must be something important that keeps millions of players attracted and addicted to it. DotA brought completely fresh concept to the gaming world, introducing a quickly paced action with lots of tactical elements.
Following its massive increase in popularity, DotA developers decided to make their own game, based on its own engine and independent of Warcraft 3. So they formed a company, Riot Games, and in 2009 released another popular game called League of Legends (LoL). Almost simultaneously, S2 GAMES started developing Heroes of Newerth which came out in 2010. The term of MOBA was introduced by community sometimes in that period and it provided description of games mentioned above.
So, what is MOBA actually?
MOBA is a game genre in which 2 teams, consisting of certain amount of players per team (most often 3 to 5) compete against each other on a given map. Map is consisted of three pathways, often referred to as lanes. Every lane leads from one team’s base to other and is consisted of couple of towers per side which protect the team’s base. Lanes are formed in a way of grid, so a player can take shortcuts to other lanes and help his teammates attack or defend. Players need to destroy their enemy’s towers and reach the main building to destroy it. Each player controls one character with unique abilities and role. In a process of achieving main goal, players also have to battle other team’s players and make “kills”. Kills bring money which is used for buying boost items. When one team destroys other team’s main building, the game is over.
MOBA and eSports
People that usually don’t play games are probably wondering what makes those people that do play games tick.
There is no unique answer to that question, as different players play for different reasons. Some people play for personal fun, to relax from daily routines, while some others even get payed for it. The latter case is often connected to eSports term where a player (or players) compete against other players in a game of their choice. The keyword is “compete”. Playing against other people makes player want to win and be the best. This fact generates the relation between eSports and real sports. In that spirit, one can say that game genres can be compared to sports disciplines. From racing to first person shooting games, players are crafting their names and lately, that became a profitable business. According to BigFootNetworks, DreamHack, one of the biggest eSports tournaments, offers more than 200 thousand dollars of prize loop money. Lately, there are lots of TV programs that mainly target gamers and provide info on new events and games.
MOBA is just one of many genres in that context, but is quickly developing and changing into one of the leading eSports disciplines, with a huge player base, mainly because of its simplicity and competitiveness.