What Does MOBA Mean?
MOBA means Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. It’s a sub-genre of Real Time Strategy (RTS) focused on team-based player-versus-player (PVP) competition.
MOBAs are one of the top eSports genres in regards to both players and spectators due to their competitive team-based nature, and the fact that all players start off on equal footing. This makes them more like “real athletic competitive sports” than other video games.
What are MOBAs?
TIP: MOBAs are sometimes called ARTS (Action Real Time Strategy) as they are based on the RTS genre with an emphasis on action or resource management. They almost always include RPG elements.
FACT: MOBAs are one of the few genres essentially created by players; this explains why almost all games are free to play. MOBAs were popularized as Defense of the Ancients (DotA) a player-created mod for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne. DotA was based on an early mod for Starcraft called Aeon of Strife (AoS) made by a modder named Aeon64 who was trying to make something similar to Future Cop: LAPD’s Precinct Assault mode. The fact that they all arise from the same set of games helps explain why MOBAs have similar mechanics.
How Does MOBA Gameplay Work?
MOBAs are most commonly played competitively with two teams of player-controlled characters. Teams consist of “strong” player controlled characters aided by “weak” CPU controlled characters called “creeps”.
MOBAs typically feature “lanes” where battle happens, towers (which impede lanes and must be destroyed with the aid of “creeps”), “jungles” where players can level up tactfully, and “bases” which each team must protect.
The Main Object of MOBAs
The main object of the game is “pushing the lane” quicker than the other team to destroy the team’s base first, while defending your towers and scoring more points. Good tactics include a solid level-build that responds to the other teams gameplay, paying attention to the lanes and jungles, using teamwork and communication, and aiming to take a win before both teams reach their level cap.
MOBAs are a Mash-up Genre With RPG Elements as Well as RTS Elements
MOBAs usually include a Role Playing Game (RPG) element where characters can level up skill tress using gold collected from “farming” (killing a CPU controlled character). Characters start “fresh” at level 1 every game and there are typically no non-atheistic in-game purchases for real money.
The leveling up, a 30-minute match in which length and teamwork add the layers of strategy, fairness, and accessibility that makes the genre a popular choice for eSports spectators and players alike.
TIP: Almost all MOBAs are free to play. We suggest League of Legends, DoTa 2, or Heroes of Newerth for PC or MAC, Smite for Xbox (or PC), Vainglory is a decent choice for Android and IOS, and PS4 has some choices as well.
Why do MOBA Games Tend to Have Similar Mechanics?
MOBA games (as of 2016) all have similar mechanics because they are all inspired by the same games and genres.
The first popular MOBAs were all built as mods for Blizzard games: Aeon of Strife (AoS), a custom map for Starcraft and Defense of the Ancients (DotA), a map based on Aeon of Strife for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne. Even though these weren’t “the first” MOBA games, they popularized the series and paved the way for popular games like League of Legends. Given its backstory, the MOBA genre is rooted in the Role Playing Game genre and typically featured worlds inspired by fantasy like Dungeons and Dragons and Tolkien, specifically Blizzard’s take on fantasy.
The history of MOBAs.
FACT: The 2014 and 2015 League of Legends tournaments each gave out one of the largest prize pools in eSports history, at 2.3 million dollars. Tens of millions of spectators watched those events alone. The global eSports industry is predicted to be a $1.8 billion industry by 2018.