MOBA Category

MOBAs are multiplayer online battle arenas, PvP-centric, non-persistent online games that share some but not all mechanics in common with traditional MMORPGs. We formerly categorized MOBAs as “Not So Massively” games. You may also be interested in our Multiplayer category for other multiplayer online games that aren’t fully massive. [Follow the MOBA category’s RSS feed]

Greg Street discusses balancing League of Legends for all skill levels

How do you balance a video game? It’s kind of an ongoing question, but it’s also one that Greg Street (aka Ghostcrawler) has been answering for years with work on both World of Warcraft and League of Legends. He gave a panel on exactly that topic for League of Legends at this year’s GDC, and you can now watch that hour-long talk in the video just past the break. And it’s a worthwhile topic from the start because he’s talking about balancing not for the best players or the worst, but for everyone.

This is important; balancing for new and inexperienced players only produces a game that doesn’t have the depth needed for long-term play, while balancing solely for veterans creates a game that’s impenetrable for newcomers. So how do you make a game that’s fun for people getting into the genre for the first time as well as people who eat, sleep, jungle, and repeat? Check out the video below (courtesy of Gamasutra) for one possible answer.

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Overwatch’s Genji and Hanamura map leap into Heroes of the Storm

A fourth Overwatch toon is coming to Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard revealed today: The assassin Genji will join Lucio, Tracer, and Zarya in the MOBA, confirming earlier leaks.

“Genji is an augmented cyborg ninja whose agility and skill make him an exceptionally lethal threat. In Heroes of the Storm, this new Hero is an opportunistic, highly-mobile Assassin who can tear apart a weak backline.”

He arrives on the PTS today and is destined to go live with the massive 2.0 update that Blizzard has hyped as a “whole new era” for the game as it nukes the crap out of level caps, locks more systems to accounts rather than characters, and improves progression speed and rewards.

Maybe more interestingly, Japanese-themed Overwatch map Hanamura will also make the jump to HOTS as a two-lane battleground. “Much like Towers of Doom, Heroes will not be able to directly assault the opposing core, but must instead find victory through use of the map’s unique mercenaries, taking down the Mega Enforcer boss, and actually escorting the Payloads,” Blizz says.

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Amazon Game Studios changes Breakaway following alpha feedback, adds shadow huntress Jarra

Cast your mind back to Christmas carols and unfortunate egg nog binges of late 2016, and you might recall that Amazon Games Studios was running its first title, Breakaway, through a short alpha test.

Clearly it was a beneficial test for the studio’s 4v4 brawler, as the devs said that they received a load of useful feedback for the game’s direction and development. “We identified four opportunities where we could tangibly change the gameplay for a better experience,” AGS said. “Give players better movement options, more options for combat capabilities, refine the buildable experience, and revisit the balance of gold in the game.”

As the team works on all of that, a new warrior steps onto Breakaway’s battlefield. This would be Jarra, the shadow huntress, a stealth assassin with low health and high burst DPS against single targets. The team announced her on a recent livestream, which you can watch below.

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SMITE lands dual patches this week, delays Racer Rumble one day

If you are a SMITE dev this week, chances are that you’re probably not getting a lot of sleep. Hi-Rez Studios made it some sort of insane mission to push out two large updates this week, one for consoles and one for PC.

Both consoles got Patch 4.5: Celestial Voyage yesterday. This update came with spectator mode, a visual update to Poseidon, several new god skins, and the 12-quest Celestial Voyage event. Following a short delay, Patch 4.6: Racer Rumble should arrive for the PC tomorrow with more skins and the wacky new racing mode. We once again remind you that April 1st is over and past, so this is not a goof.

As a bonus to all of the patching fun, SMITE is planning a “double everything” event for this weekend from April 14th through the 16th. During this event, players will earn double XP, favor, and worshipers.

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Heroes of the Storm crowns a dorm champ, catalyzes a wedding

Congrats are due this week to the University of Texas at Arlington, whose Heroes of the Storm e-sports team pretty much walked away handily with the Heroes of the Dorm trophy given at the Las Vegas National Championships on Saturday. UT Arlington finishes its competitive year with a 29-0 record and blots out its huge loss to Arizona State last year.

The five students pick up free college tuition for up to three years (up to $75,000 total) as their prize, so not a bad deal at all. Google says tuition at UT Arlington is just under $10,000, which is dirt cheap in the States, in case you’re wondering, so Blizz got away easy!

In other Heroes of the Storm news, Kotaku has a whimsical report out on two lovebirds who met while playing Heroes of the Storm, and against really all the odds everywhere, married each other last week. They didn’t cosplay at their wedding, in case you’re wondering, but they considered it!

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Gigantic discusses impact changes for respawns, summons, and Guardians

This is the end… of the week. But for Gigantic, it really is the end… of smaller patches during open beta. While there still isn’t a firm release date announced, the team is doubling down on development while working on more overarching issues like refining the game’s mechanics slightly. Not simplifying them, exactly; just making them a bit easier to get into at a glance.

For example, one of the mechanics being worked on are respawn timers, to ensure that players aren’t constantly yelling at the one teammate who goes charging into danger every time. Summons are also being addressed as something that should always be a benefit for your team rather than a drawback when someone summons the wrong thing, and Guardians should feel like they make a bigger splash on the battlefield. It’s a series of iterative improvements, which should help the game remain more interesting to play right up until the end… of the match.

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Master X Master sells founder’s packs and starts closed beta testing

Make way for NCsoft’s upcoming MOBA because it is hoping to crash the news cycle this weekend. Master X Master just started its closed beta testing, which will run through April 27th.

The closed beta will feature both PvP and PvE content and promises to have plenty of promotions and events for testers to enjoy (in addition to, y’know, the game itself). As might be expected, there will be a full wipe following the CBT just in case you were hoping that this was the first online game in history that wouldn’t do this to a closed beta.

While you can sign up for the chance at getting a key, a fast pass to the beta is available by purchasing one of MxM’s new founder’s packs. The three packs, which range from $20 to $100, offer beta access in addition to masters, titles, skins, name reservations, and other benefits. Founder’s pack goodies will be available to players in both beta and at launch.

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SMITE gets a new racing mode, Paladins maps out e-sports tourney

Hi-Rez’s MOBAs are both seeing fresh updates this week.

In SMITE land, the 4.6 patch updates Hades and Ravana, adds a bunch of new skins, and perhaps most amusingly, adds Apollo’s Racer Rumble – a racing mode. “Pick from a cast of gods, get in their themed cars (yes, cars) and drive through two tracks with obstacles, items, and drifting,” says the studio. Vrooooooom.

Paladins, on the other hand, has witnessed a volcanic eruption! Patch 47 to the open beta landed yesterday, introducing the freebie Volcanic Makoa (free if you hit level 30, that is), along with new digs for Kinessa. E-sports is on the agenda too:

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EVE Fanfest 2017: EVE Valkyrie adds atmospheric flight in Groundrush, coming April 11th

Virtual reality dogfighter EVE: Valkyrie has taken centre stage in the emerging VR landscape, growing from a tech demo developed by some devs at CCP Games in their spare time to become a bundled launch title on the Oculus Rift and launch on several other VR platforms. The game has received several major updates since its launch just over a year ago, adding a new Carrier Assault game mode, weekend Wormhole events, a competitive league system, and more.

Today at EVE Fanfest 2017 and as just announced by the official PlayStation blog, CCP Games revealed the next step for Valkyrie — and it’s a pretty big one! The Groundrush update will add a radically different way of playing the game with the first ever ground-based map, “Solitude,” which will see you dogfighting within the atmosphere of a planet and dodging through pirate structures. The update also expands co-op play to the Control and Carrier Assault game modes, adds some new Wormhole events, and adds official support for the Steam Controller. The Groundrush update officially launches on April 11th, and you can check out the trailer below.

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Cloud Pirates releases fully on April 19th with the Stronghold launch

Why would you try to steal a cloud? What possible advantage could that confer? Even when you ignore the obvious logistical difficulties of getting one into a cargo hold, it’s mostly water vapor. It’s not easy and it doesn’t produce anything. Or perhaps the title Cloud Pirates refers to where the pirates operate rather than what they specifically steal, which would make more sense. You can find out when the game launches for everyone on April 19th.

The launch also coincides with the release of patch 1.3 for the game, the Stronghold update. Players will be able to besiege a stronghold in a new gameplay mode, form three-player groups to play together, and generally enjoy a vastly expanded set of features for the game. Check out a trailer just below and get ready to sail the bounding… well, skies. You might wind up stealing a cloud or two along the way, as long as you’re up there.

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Paragon’s Morigesh lands on April 4, hopes you like bugs

Games-run MOBA Paragon’s free-to-play open beta is introducing a brand-new playable character next week on April 4th. Her name is Morigesh, and she is pretty much the personification of an evil dank swamp.

“Available for free to all players on Tuesday, April 4, Morigesh is a close range caster who uses her abilities to deal consistent damage to her enemies before assassinating them,” says Epic. Her skills include marking targets with her evil doll, a hive of bugs that acts as an AoE DoT, a personal morph into her own speed-buff swarm of bugs, and surely the last one isn’t also bugs? OK, yeah, no, it’s bugs.

There’s no way I can preview the following video without freaking out a little bit, so I present it to you unwatched with all the usual entomophobia trigger warnings. I’ll just be over here in the corner, screaming silently. Thanks, Epic!

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The Stream Team: Dipping into SMITE with an Isis and Anubis giveaway

SMITE doesn’t stop at celebrating its birthday on just one day — or even one week! No, the party is still going, and Hi-Rez and Massively OP have more gifts to give away. MJ has codes for Celestial Isis and Stargazer Anubis to hand out to lucky viewers. She’ll also be showing off the gods themselves in a match or two, so tune in live at 8:00 p.m. for your chance to win

What: SMITE
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Enjoy the show!

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Heroes of the Storm introduces Diablo II Amazon, major progression and leveling update

“It’s a whole new era for Heroes of the Storm,” Blizzard has declared in its new HOTS dev video today. That’s because the game is currently in the midst of a month-long test of a huge progression patch the studio is calling Heroes 2.0. Level caps are being nuked; your level cap will now basically be account-wide, and leveling will be much more quick across the board. Blizz is also adding loot chests out the wazoo as you level and meet certain accomplishments. It’s going to look pretty familiar to other games across the MOBA genre and in Blizzard’s own stable.

The studio has also introduced a new hero today: Cassia, the Amazon, brought over from Diablo II. The best class! In HOTS, she’ll function as a ranged assassin with high defenses while moving, flung javelins and lightning plus cone javelin stabbing. Sorry, bowazons.

Check out the pair of intro vids down below.

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