The Daily Grind: Has the MOBA bubble burst?

The past few weeks have not been kind for fans of MOBAs. In a short span of time we’ve lost Paragon, Master x Master, and Gigantic; it wasn’t so long ago that the not-quite-a-MOBA-but-close-to-it Breakaway got put on indefinite hiatus by Amazon. Off the top of my head I can think of a lot of other MOBAs that arrived, failed to make any significant impact, and then shut their doors without a whole lot of fanfare.

Of course, this also prompts a question of whether or not the bubble has burst or if there was ever a bubble in the first place. I’ve always found it kind of odd that the genre exploded as it did in the first place, because it’s already fundamentally a genre based on a mod for one very specific game. There are only four titles that have really taken off in a significant fashion, and two of those are somewhat debatable depending on who you ask.

So what do you think, readers? Has the MOBA bubble burst? Was there never really a bubble in the first place, just a bunch of games rushed out with no real sustainable market? And how does it make you personally feel either way?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Mr Poolaty

Dear God, I hope so!!!

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John Mclain

God I hope so, let it “pop” “burst” and be sent straight to deepest darkest bowels of hell, along with the epidemic that is that crap fortnight pvp arena zone garbage. (Whatever stupid name they give that.)

Duane_Does_not_check_email
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Duane_Does_not_check_email

Maybe the companies could develop a product customers actually want?

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Sorenthaz

It burst a few years ago, companies have just been very slow to realize/accept it.

Heroes of the Storm has the casual/teamfight loving Blizzard fans covered.

League of Legends has the casual/semi-strategic fans covered and is the most popular, esp. in Asia.

DotA 2 has the hardcore/oldschool fans covered.

SMITE has the third-person stuff covered unless someone were to do a game like Monday Night Combat.

Those are the four big ones for a reason, and it’s because they cover different areas and are well designed MOBAs. Paragon was too slow in comparison to SMITE, for example; if they had made it feel more like a fast-paced third-person shooter with MOBA elements, it could’ve done much better potentially since it would’ve been more unique and covered an area that’s missing. Fortnite could honestly be good to do a MOBA mode for because of its unique building aspect and third person shooter nature.

IMO it’s simply too difficult to make a top-down isometric MOBA at this point. Not unless it’s able to handle being very niche. If a MOBA were to come out that can wedge itself into being a notable fifth, it needs to offer enough of a difference and it likely needs to have gameplay that’s more like a third-person action/shooter or possibly even a first person game could work.

Also a big problem is that too many publishers/developers want to try and monetize in-game progression elements with RNG junk like Paragon’s card system which is just plain stupid. Keep that crap out and maybe Paragon wouldn’t be Paragone.

Siphaed
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Siphaed

Came in to mention the DC MOBA as well. That seems to be the first of the MOBA fleet that sunk. That is all.

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sizer99

It hasn’t really burst, but everyone and their dog rushed into an already crowded market with their own get rich quick game. Then they crashed and burned (or just died slow lingering deaths) because of network effects – why would I play your new MMOBARPGFPSBBQ when I’ve already got this mature one with tons of players (‘But we have Deathmatch!’)?

Not a single one(?) of these was smart enough to test the waters first other than that battling hoverboards game that did a test run and shut down when they didn’t get 100K people. Everyone else just assumed that all they had to do was make a MOBA and all the people would come running.

Now they can all flock off like chickens with their heads cut off to PUBG clones.

Xijit
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Xijit

less burst & more replaced with the BR fad: publishers are shifting to the new fad & will dump the BR projects once something else comes along.

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Gadgets-4G

Of course, it has burst. Just like the survival battle royale market that is hitting now will rise up for about the revolution of one good game design (so 2.5 years) and then the myriad of those that are about to appear will be gone save the top two or three titles.

Game development investment has always taken a bad wagon approach to business. Look at what WoW did to the landscape for years. And now with the option of Early access and the ability to just take people money and then quit in frustration, we will probably see a lot more crappy titles as the tools to make them get more and more powerful.

Moba is a good game. But the one that succeeds in the future is the one that’s most flexible, personalized and moddable.

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McGuffn

I thought we agreed that this bubble burst 5 years ago. It has just taken this long for the late arriving hangers-on to launch and fail or stumble before they even made it out of the gate.

To catch people up, the card game bubble has also burst, and the people building dams to hold back the reservior of battle royale players might as well take some time off and read a good book instead.

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Crowe

What about survival sandboxes? I’m a couple of years past ready for them to go.

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

It burst a while ago, IMO. Gigantic is a bit of a holdover from before the bubble had fully burst that was still lingering around since it took so long to finally launch.