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]

WoW sees ‘growth’ in Q4 2015; Legion still on track for summer

ActivisionBlizzard has posted its Q4 2015 financial report, touting record digital revenues up 20% year over year, thanks in part to game exports to Chinese audiences, but revenues were down quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year. CEO Bobby Kotick says that once the company’s acquisition of King Digital is complete — and isn’t yet, so it’s not reflected here — “[Activision] will have the largest game network in the world, with over 500 million users playing [its] games every month.”

According to the investor call, 2015 was the first year more than 50% of Blizzard’s revenue was derived from sources other than World of Warcraft. Mike Morhaime told investors that WoW saw quarter-over-quarter growth for the game following last fall’s BlizzCon. It is unclear how growth is defined in this context.

We aren’t hearing hard numbers on a World of Warcraft subscriber bump or dip today, thanks to Blizzard’s decision that Q3 2015 was to be “the last quarter [it planned] to provide subscriber numbers” because of other metrics (like “engagement” metrics) that it claims are “better indicators of the overall Blizzard business performance.” The game dropped 100k subs in Q3 2015, 1.5 million subs in Q2 2015, and 2.9 million subs in Q1 2015 following the launch of the Warlords of Draenor expansion in November 2014. At last known count, it stood at 5.5 million subs, down from its 2010 peak of 12 million.

The Legion expansion is still expected to launch this summer following the franchise’s movie.

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The Daily Grind: What makes an MMO old?

MMOs have a longer shelf life than other games do. We talked about this not so long ago, even, and you can see it when you think of the big online games out there. World of Warcraft is over a decade old, Star Wars: The Old Republic is four years old, Final Fantasy XIV is five years old, and League of Legends has been around for six years. I rarely see any of those titles brought up as “old” games, yet contemporary single-player titles are often listed as being “old” titles.

What’s even more amusing is that titles seem to age at different rates in matters of perception. I’ve seen people talking in World of Warcraft about how EverQuest II is an “old” title, despite the fact that the two games launched in the same month of the same year. Some titles just feel older or newer than others regardless of actual dates. So what do you think, dear readers? What makes a game move over the threshold from “new” or “contemporary” to “old”? Is it a matter of time, of active design, of communities, or some combination of all three?

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League of Legends deploys final preseason patch

Before the season arrives, League of Legends has one or two final things to say in how the game is run. Today the MOBA released its “fat” Patch 6.3 that contains many adjustments at the tail end of the preseason as well as a change to how the game stores art.

One of the biggest changes that arrives with the update is the addition of an Assassin-specific weapon, the Duskblade of Draktharr. “By clearly calling out ‘Hey, this one’s for you!’ we can start to set an expectation around how an assassin can act in fights, as well as the kinds of power-curves they should have long-term,” Riot Games said.

Patch 6.3 tweaks Dragons’ stacking effects, fixes Alistar’s headbutt skill, nerfs several champions (Corki, Poppy, Graves, and Ryze), and buffs a couple of characters (Ziggs and Xin Zhao). Players will also no longer be able to see enemy champion picks before matches.

Source: Patch notes

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Heroes of Newerth launches Dragon Wars community event

Classic MOBA Heroes of Newerth released the massive new Dragon Wars community event today, launching a series of community-wide achievements and challenges with rewards for the entire playerbase. Some of the challenges are simple things like enough people following the game’s official twitter account, while others include people streaming the game for 24 hours or just playing enough hours of the game. A series of creative challenges have also been added covering everything from fan-art and music videos to cosplay and even baking HoN-themed cakes.

Heroes of Newerth‘s player activity levels in North America and Europe have waned in recent years, but the game is still very popular in South East Asia. Many of the event challenges were originally designed for that audience, so challenges such as cosplaying on top of an elephant and getting a photo with 2,000 HoN players are unlikely to be completed. The players who contribute to completing each challenge can earn bounties such as gold coins to spend in the cash shop, and many challenges will reward all players with bonus gold coins when completed. All players have also been given a dragon egg that will hatch and upgrade as the challenge completion bar progresses.

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Gigantic studio Motiga suffers another round of layoffs

Motiga has announced another round of layoffs for the staff working on MOBA Gigantic. “Our financial situation is such that we are unable to continue supporting the entirety of the studio at this time,” Chris Chung writes, explaining that the layoffs are both temporary and significant. As for the game itself,

“While we intend to continue supporting Gigantic game services for as long as we are able, the reality is that a decision of this magnitude will impact all departments across the studio, an impact that will be felt by our community of beta testers as the services they depend on will operate without the key staff on hand to support those services.”

Chung says that negotiations with investors are continuing “aggressively,” with the aim to rehire employees furloughed.

The studio laid off 16 people in early December, saying that it felt it needed to delay the game into 2016 and lay off employees in order to stretch its development budget.

We extend our sympathies to those affected.

Source: Official site. With thanks to Marnick.

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SMITE rolls out Season 3 with a new map, new skins, and new mechanics

The third season of SMITE has begun! Will Brad reveal his love for Dylan? Will anyone realize that Rachel is carrying Simon’s child? Does anyone actually like having Jasmine around? If you’re a fan of the game, you’ll know that none of those questions has anything to do with it. What the game lacks in generic soap opera drama, however, it makes up for with its patch notes, which are rather voluminous for this latest update.

Players can look forward to a new Chinese-themed Joust map and several new skins for various deities. The patch also adds in a new daily quest system and major changes to the active items in the game, shifting the items to being free Relics which unlock as you level. It’s an extensive change to the game that should have a significant impact on both high-level play and casual matches; check out the full notes for a complete rundown of all the mechanical shifts.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Siphaed and Sorenthaz for the tip!

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Paragon’s guide to cards for testers

Pretty much every MOBA has some system in place for upgrading your chosen hero as you play. Paragon is making use of a card system, and a new video from the development team is all about how that card system is meant to work over the course of a match. It’s not quite as random as the concept of decks might seem, but it does mean picking out upgrades and improvements with care.

All players start with three card points to buy and equip cards from their decks, meant to be spent on the starting array of health and mana potions. As the match gets underway, characters will gain a larger number of points, up to the maximum of 60 per match. This can be used to both draw and equip new cards as well as upgrading existing cards. Take a look at the video below to see all of this in action.

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Get Fractured Space for free on Steam this weekend

If you desire something a little different than the standard fantasy fare in your next MOBA, you can give Fractured Space a spin for free right now. As a celebration of this week’s update, which brings the strategy-meets-space ships game that much closer to launch, Edge Case Games is offering it on Steam this weekend at no cost. Even more than just free access for the weekend, however, players get to keep Fractured Space permanently.  Anyone who downloads the game before Monday, February 1st, at 1:00 p.m. EST will keep thatr copy at no cost; it won’t disappear from your play list when the weekend is over. Additionally, the various early-access packs are 50% off during this same time.

What could be better than a free game? How about starting the game on equal footing with the veterans? The update reset the tech tree to its final version, meaning everything was wiped. But that was the last wipe: All ships, experience, and credits unlocked from here on out will be in the game at launch, which is slated for later this year. Go ahead an give the game a look-see in the screenshots and new trailer below.

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Heroes of the Dorm returns with $500K in prizes

Put down those textbooks and pick up that mouse and keyboard, kid, because you’re going to game for your education this spring.

Blizzard announced today that Heroes of the Storm is hosting the return of Heroes of the Dorm, a tournament aimed at college students and loaded with prizes and scholarships. Teams can register for the event through February 18th, after which the tournament will take place in March and April. Heroes of the Dorm will be broadcast on YouTube, Twitch, ESPN3, and ESPN2.

There’s a lot on the line for winning teams beyond publicity. Undergraduate and graduate students can win up to $75,000 in scholarships apiece for being number one. Other prizes include in-game skins, custom-built PCs, and limited edition portraits (the last will be awarded to all participants). Viewers can get a slice of the $500,000 prize pool, too, by voting on winning brackets; the most accurate prognosticator will receive $10,000.

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Superdata says League of Legends makes more money than any other game you play

Let’s just get this out of the way: Superdata is a research firm that sells its data analysis. It doesn’t disclose its methodology or sources if you don’t pony up for them. However, what it does make public is worth mulling over, and this week the company released top 10 lists for console games, PC games, and mobile games by gross revenue. If you’ve been paying any attention at all, the numbers won’t surprise you: The firm has named League of Legends the world’s “top-grossing digital game“:

“Riot’s League of Legends shows no signs of slowing down as December proved to be the game’s highest-earning month in its history. Close followers were Clash of Clans ($1.3B), CrossFire ($1.1B) and Dungeon Fighter Online ($1.05B) rounding out last year’s titles that earned over a billion dollars. Despite not being a household names in the west, games like CrossFire and Dungeon Fighter Online perform well thanks to the strength and momentum in markets like South Korea and China.”

The PC revenue chart is entirely online games, a number of them true MMOs, for that matter, including Dungeon Fighter Online, World of Warcraft, World of Tanks, Lineage, and Maplestory.

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NCsoft is porting its MOBA Master X Master to the West

NCsoft has just announced that it’s porting Master X Master, its MOBA, to western shores “later this year.”

The MOBA brings together characters from multiple NCsoft video game franchises (including Blade & Soul, Aion, and even WildStar) and focuses much more on PvE content than most MOBAs, making it a bit of a MOBA/OARPG hybrid.

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Nosgoth releases Silenced Cathedral map, shows player growth

If you’re a big fan of the Blood Omen and Soul Reaver games, you probably remember the crushing disappointment when Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun was quietly cancelled. From the ashes of that project emerged competitive online game Nosgoth, which pits teams of humans and vampires against each other in almost MOBA-like third-person PvP matches. Nosgoth initially had trouble gaining traction with jilted fans and released as an Early Access title in January 2015 to a mixed reception.

Now one year on, things are looking fairly optimistic for the free-to-play title. Regular development updates have helped to flesh out the game’s content, and average player numbers have been holding steady over most of the past year, with peak player numbers growing since since December. Developers have been experimenting with ranked league seasons and cash prizes and are now considering using a more traditional 5v5 game mode in the game’s next league. The latest development update also introduced the Silenced Cathedral map, which was designed with verticality and tight spaces in mind (preview video after the cut).

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Diablo III’s renegade wizard joins Heroes of the Storm

If you love crossovers between fictional universes, then Blizzard’s “anything goes” approach to Heroes of the Storm must send you into paroxysms of joy. The latest character to jump between the boundaries of the studio’s franchise is Diablo III’s Li-Ming, who joins the Heroes of the Storm roster as a renegade wizard.

Li-Ming is a cheeky Nephalem who has a full bag of magical tricks in her arsenal. She retains her classic look and many of her Diablo III attacks for her appearance in the MOBA. Meet Li-Ming for the first time or get to know her all over again in the video after the jump, and let us know what champion you’d like see crossover next!

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