In 1998 the gaming studio Blizzard Entertainment released their Real Time Strategy (RTS) game StarCraft. A while later they released editing tools for this game called StarEdit. A modder by the name of Aeon64 used the StarEdit tools to create a map called Aeon of Strife which was more like an add-on for the game, which was his intention.
In this map players controlled a single powerful hero unit fighting amidst three lanes. In 2002, Blizzard released their much anticipated RTS game WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos, and along with this game they released their modding tool World of Warcraft III World Editor. A modder named Eul started converting the mod Aeon of Strife into the WarCraft III editor engine, calling it Defence of the Ancients (DOTA). Thus the MOBA -multiplayer online battle arena – was born, and today we play MOBAs all day, every day.
You can find variations on your iPad, PC, PS3, and even the next gen consoles have a few MOBAs in the works. The idea of a MOBA is that it should be free-to-play with additional characters requiring a few hours of playing to purchase in game, or you can spend actual money to unlock them quicker. Beware though, MOBAs are extremely addictive and become quite expensive, and only if you heed this warning may you read the list below of the best MOBAs available at the moment.
League of Legends
Also known as LoL, this MOBA was created by Riot Games and inspired by the classic WarCraft III Defence against the Ancients mod. League of Legends is probably as MOBA as it gets; you play as a Summoner that summons a champion into battle and you fight through an arena, along with your minions, fighting other champions and destroying their towers. The stronger you get the more skills and magic you acquire. You also receive gold by defeating monsters which can be used to buy new items and equipment. The champions are well thought out, with each of them possessing various skins inspired by the seasons, genres, or random ideas. As of December 2013, League of Legends had 32 million monthly active players – so you will not have to worry about waiting for a match.
SMITE is a twist on the normal point and click MOBA as it puts you in a third person perspective behind your God. This allows you to aim your attacks with your mouse and target your enemies better. In SMITE you choose between a selection of mythical Gods; Greek, Norse, or Egyptian, and you battle against other Gods to destroy their towers, minions, and ultimately their home base tower. Defeating other Gods will rank up your skills and give you gold, which will be used to purchase new weapons and skills. Win the match or do well and lose, and you will be rewarded with money to purchase Gods and skins. I really enjoyed SMITE and would pick it over DOTA and LoL, but that’s just me.
This beautiful MOBA was designed using the CryEngine 3 and developed by Panzar Studios. Unlike other MOBAs, Panzar doesn’t overcomplicate things. You choose from 8 different classes, each with their own unique abilities and combat styles, with each class approaching combat differently. The Paladin, for example, is a support class whereas the Berserker is used for close combat. The combat in the game is simple; the player “normal” attacks with the left click and uses “power” attacks with the right click. There are 4 different game modes, and maps designed for each one, with new maps frequently released. Panzar is a good MOBA for those who don’t intend on getting into transactions and always updating their characters.
The Mother of all MOBAs, DOTA 2 has one of the biggest hero lists in the genre with over 100 on offer. DOTA 2 is as typical as MOBAs get though; you control your hero in a battlefield, defeat towers and minions, upgrade your skills, and take over the other team’s base. DOTA 2 hasn’t tried to be different nor has it been revolutionary, but it is fine the way it is. I cannot say I send hours playing DOTA 2, but the time I have spent was great. DOTA 2 is free-to-play on Steam.
Other Noteworthy MOBAs