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]

Heroes of the Storm will add Diablo’s Wizard and Necromancer to its lineup

Do you miss playing a Necromancer in Diablo II? It’s not quite the same when you play a round of Heroes of the Storm, but you can still get that necromantic rush with the upcoming addition of Xul the Necromancer. The game is also going to add in Li-Ming the Wizard from Diablo III, giving players all of the casting diabolical action anyone could desire. You may want to get some practice in before playing the characters in question, though, as both are intended to have a decently high skill cap.

A new balance patch has also been released to help keep the existing heroes of the game in line. Lunara, Brightwing, and Stitches have all gotten some buffs to their performance, while Raynor has been made a bit more vulnerable, Tyrande’s abilities have been tuned down, and Malfurion has had his healing powers shifted slightly. It remains to be seen how much these changes will affect the game’s metagame in the long run, but that’s what balance patches do.

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Paladins aims for more MOBA-like gameplay, less customisation

When Hi-Rez Studios first revealed its upcoming online shooter Paladins, people immediately started comparing it to Overwatch and the slew of MOBAs on the market today. Paladins definitely seems to derive many of its core ideas from MOBAs, with team-based objectives and iconic characters with abilities that unlock and improve over the course of a match. The main difference is that players in Paladins put together decks of power-up cards that unlock throughout each match rather than just levelling up their character’s core abilities.

In a new interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, developers revealed that the original design of the game was actually more like Team Fortress 2 or Global Agenda, with relatively few character classes but plenty of customisation via the card system. Feedback from testers has since shown that gamers much prefer a MOBA-style system with a larger number of characters that each has its own iconic identity and fills a particular role and gameplay style.

Developers now plan to limit the amount of customisation that’s possible using the card system so that each character’s playstyle is more consistent and predictable and wacky builds are less feasible. “The element of understanding the enemy and their capabilities is important to flag up here,” CEO Erez Goren told RPS, later adding that “People don’t seem to appreciate the variation on a character as much as they do having a new character that does things that particular way.” Paladins is currently in closed beta and is scheduled for release at some point during this year.

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MOBA Paragon shows a little mid-lane action

Some things we’re coming to accept that Paragon is not: slow, quiet, calm, and composed. And that’s just the way that the game’s fans probably like it.

In a new gameplay video, Epic Games shows us how crazy a mid-lane push can get as rival teams clash face-to-face. It features four heroes — Gadget, Feng Mao, Rampage, Kallari — all trying to get the upper hand and propel their team to victory.

Will this be your MOBA of choice when it comes out? Give this video a watch and let us know!

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How ‘Gamer Motivation Model’ researchers slot MOBAs on the strategy map

This winter, we’ve been chronicling the escapades of Nick Yee-founded game analytics consulting firm Quantic Foundry, which published what it’s calling the Gamer Motivation Model. Researchers compiled user-submitted profiles from thousands of gamers to develop a sort of modern Bartle quotient that groups gamer types into three “clusters of motivations” rather than the standard socializer, achiever, killer, explorer archetypes. Earlier this month, we invited our readers to take the test along with us to see how we fit into the greater gamer curve and understand how the model ranks us.

Yee’s most recent post on the project shows how the aggregate data might be used from a game development perspective rather than just to amuse curious gamers.

“[I]n the survey, we also ask gamers to list their favorite game titles. This allows us to pivot between gamers and games – we can use the aggregated game audience profiles to compare games. For example, is Civilization more strategically complex than SimCity? Well, we can compare their audience Strategy scores to find out. In this sense, the Gamer Motivation Profile isn’t just a benchmarking tool for gamers, it’s also a benchmarking tool for game titles.”

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Heroes of the Storm announces Spring Global Championship

The past few years have seen MOBAs take over the competitive gaming landscape, with just a handful of games managing to attract millions of tournament viewers each year. Heroes of the Storm obviously wants to be one of those few, and it’s got an ambitious plan to make it happen in 2016 with a full year of seasonal competitive tournaments. The 2016 Global Championship Circuit will consist of three main tournaments (Spring, Summer, and Fall) leading up to the main world championship tournament, and Blizzard is stumping up over $4,000,000 US in prize money throughout the year.

The Spring Global Championship qualifiers are now are underway in China, South Korea, and South-East Asia, with qualifiers for North America, Europe, Latin America, Taiwan and Australia/New Zealand still to come over the next few months. The top teams from each region will then meet for the finals from April 1st to April 3rd in Seoul, South Korea, where they’ll compete for a slice of the $500,000 US prize pool.

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The Stream Team: Playing Evie in Paladins

It has been much too long since MassivelyOP’s MJ caused a little mayhem in Paladins, the slightly whimsical objective-based team FPS. And with more game types open and another character she hasn’t played, it’s the perfect time to dive back in. Today she’ll check out Evie. Will this pig-tailed spellcaster become her new favorite champion? Tune in live at 1:00 p.m. for a few rounds of vault-blasting fun.

What: Paladins
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 1:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 18th, 2016

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ESPN officially launches an e-sports division, picks up e-sports journalists

When Activision-Blizzard acquired Major League Gaming earlier this month, CEO Bobby Kotick revealed his plans to create a kind of “ESPN of e-sports.” It turns out that ESPN has had its own eye on the world of competitive gaming all along, having previously tested the waters with several featured articles, web-streams, and even some live TV coverage. Viewing figures were obviously promising, as today ESPN ramped up its competitive gaming coverage with the launch of a brand new e-sports sub-site.

The new site features general articles on e-sports in addition to dedicated sections for League of Legends, Dota 2, and Hearthstone. The writers involved in the site include ESPN’s own Mina Kimes, who made waves online back in June with an in-depth feature on League of Legends pro Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. The site has also picked up notable e-sports journalist Rod Breslau and his colleague Tyler Erzberger from theScore e-sports publication, and articles from Leaguepedia’s Adel Chouadria and Chinese LoL scene expert Emily Rand have also surfaced.

With top e-sports tournaments routinely filling out stadiums, giving millions of dollars in prize money away, and attracting higher viewership than some offline sports, there’s no doubt that competitive gaming is on a sharp upward trend right now. It’s hoped that ESPN’s official adoption of dedicated e-sports coverage will lead to wider acceptance of competitive gaming as sport and more professional reporting standards.

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League of Legends releases free EDM album

Believe it or not, League of Legends is a source for really incredible music (as we’ve noted this week), and just last year Riot Games released the first volume of its soundtrack to players for free. So what’s on tap for 2016? How about an entire album of EDM tracks for its 2016 ranked season that can be downloaded right now for free.

The “Riot Records” dev team said that it wasn’t too difficult to settle on this genre considering the nature of the game: “Electronic music felt like the natural choice, both because of its popularity in the League community and because of the number of EDM artists with close ties to games and gaming culture.”

Riot is pulling in a number of artists to work on the project while giving them a lot of latitude as to what falls under the EDM umbrella. The team hopes that the album will give more energy to the ranked season and be something players would listen to outside of the game.

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League of Legends reveals confusing new champion Jhin

Last week Riot Games released a bizarre video called Mind of the Virtuoso that appeared to be part art project and part … I guess art project again. The gunshots and creepy masked face at the end made it pretty clear we were looking at League of Legends‘ next ranged champion, and that has now been made official with a new champion reveal devblog on marksman Jhin, The Virtuoso.

Every fourth basic attack Jhin fires deals an automatic critical strike and bonus damage based on his missing health, but that’s not the whole story. Slain enemies also spawn a blooming flower on the corpse that reveals and slows nearby enemies and then explodes for bonus damage. Unlike most champions, Jhin has the unique twist that any attack speed and critical chance he gains from items and runes actually give him bonus attack damage instead. His criticals also deal less bonus damage than normal but grant him a small boost of movement speed, which is based on his attack speed.

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SMITE kicks off the Rising Dawn promotional event

Amaterasu is the Japanese goddess of the sun, a new deity within SMITE‘s deific roster and a flexible one besides. But bringing Amaterasu alone into the game wouldn’t constitute an event. No, her arrival brings along plenty of other Japanese-themed skins for the various deities, so even if she’s not palling around with her fellow pantheon members right now, she can feel right at home around Kaiju Sobek.

The timeline there may be a bit weird.

The overall event pattern is similar to the Odyssey events, with bonus rolls for chests unlocking time-limited skins. Only two skins are on display now, but three more are promised, with one of them possibly a reward for unlocking the first four (based on the pattern of other events). Whether you want to get in on the sun goddess action or not, there’s plenty of new stuff arriving with the the dawn this time around.

Hi-Rez also released an infographic in the wake of its recent tourney; we’ve included it below.

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Battle Bards Episode 66: The best of MOBA music

This week on the Battle Bards podcast, the crew branches out from the familiar territory of MMO soundtracks and into the wild, untamed regions of MOBA scores. With a survey of titles such as League of Legends, Infinite Crisis, SMITE, and Heroes of the Storm, it’s a musical journey that will rouse the fighter in all of us!

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin Olivetti co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Player.FM.

We’ve got Episode 66: MOBAs for you after the break!

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Heroes of the Storm is adding Genn Greymane to its lineup today

It feels like it’s been forever since Heroes of the Storm announced the addition of Gilnean ruler Genn Greymane to its roster, but he has not been forgotten! In fact, Greymane should be added to the game today. How do we know that?

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Catch up with SMITE’s $1,000,000 world championship

The world of e-sports and competitive gaming has seen a massive explosion in recent years in terms of both viewership and prize money. Top competitive gaming tournaments now routinely sell out large arenas and venues, often attract higher viewership figures than some real-world sports, and collectively dish out millions of dollars each year. Third-person MOBA SMITE is no exception, packing out Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre this past week for its second annual World Championship tournament. Eight top teams from around the world battled it out over $1,000,000 in prize money from January 7th to January 10th, with the first place winners taking home $500,000.

Last year’s champion COGnitive Gaming disbanded some time after its big win, but the team’s entire roster was picked up e-sports organisation Cloud9 for this tournament. They joined the other qualifiers Enemy, Paradigm, Epsilon eSports, Fnatic, AVANT-Garde, paiN Gaming, Isurus Gaming, Oh My God B, and Qiae Gu Reapers in a tense four-day competition. Reveal winner

In the end, first place went to European newcomers Epsilon eSports, with North American contenders Enemy and Cloud9 coming in second and third place respectively.

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