So while I should be spending a lot more time writing, I’ve spent way too much time playing Heroes of the Storm. According to Raptr, I’ve put in some 50 hours since closed beta started and have played near 400 games logged on my in-game profile. Suffice to say, I’ve seen a lot in my time playing HOTS.
Now, I’m not a very good gamer. HOTSlogs says that I’m a gold level player which allegedly means that I’m in the upper half of gamers. However, I have learned a bunch of things that new players should be mindful of before they get too far into the latest entry into the MOBA genre.
Apart from free-to-play mobile tower defence games, I’m not sure there’s a more crowded genre in gaming than MOBA. At the top of the pile, you have League of Legends and Dota 2. Smite is probably the #3 MOBA though Heroes of Newerth would probably give it a run for its money. You’ve also got the like of Strife and Infinite Crisis too. There are probably plenty of other that I can throw in there but I don’t want a 1,000 word intro.
The problem is that while each game has its little intricacies, they all feel fairly similar at the end of the day. You play one member of a five-player team on a three-lane map with towers that you must power through in order to destroy the central structure of the enemy base.
Heroes of the Storm doesn’t completely revolutionize the basics of a MOBA. It’s still a five-on-five match to destroy the enemy team’s core. However, Blizzard has taken the standard Point A to Point B approach to MOBAs and turned it on its head. What results is the most unique MOBA on the market right now.
It’s been about five months since I last checked in on EA’s attempt to break into the free-to-play MOBA genre but it seems as though that it hasn’t gone to plan. After six months in open beta and another twelve months of closed beta before that, EA has cancelled Dawngate and are getting out of the MOBA game for the moment.
Considering that the MOBA genre is among the biggest genres in gaming right now, it was only a matter of time before they left the PC and made their way to console. However, it’s not industry leaders League of Legends or Dota 2 that will make the jump. Hi-Rez Studios announced at Gamescom that Smite would be making the jump to consoles on the Xbox One.
The International might be taking place right now and it is the biggest eSports tournament in history but it’s far from alone in the MOBA genre. While it’s big, Dota 2 only boasts 9 million monthly players to League of Legends’ 67 million people playing each month. While they’re two of the most popular games in the world, they’re far from the only MOBAs on the block.
Alongside League and Dota is an ever-expanding group of competitors in the MOBA sector. In the last year or so alone, we’ve seen alphas, betas and full releases of Smite, Dawngate, Heroes of the Storm, Infinite Crisis, Dead Island: Epidemic and more. That’s not included the recently announced MOBAs from Gearbox, Crytek and CD Projekt.
With so many MOBAs entering the market against dominating category leaders, do any of these new entries stand a chance and what, if anything, can they do to compete?
Just because you’re the top MOBA in the world and the most watched game on Twitch, that doesn’t mean that you should rest on your laurels. Last week, Riot Games took the covers off an upcoming update to their game’s main map, Summoner’s Rift.
I’m not so sure that it’s everyone wants to get into MOBAs but everyone feels as though they have to get into MOBAs. While Riot Games is on their own and on top of the pile, all the other big players are trying to get in with their own MOBAs. Blizzard/Activision is trying something a bit more fan service and team objective based with Heroes of the Storm. Deep Silver is doing the Dead Island zombie MOBA. WB Interactive is onboard with Infinite Crisis. And, of course, Valve has Dota 2.
Now, Electronic Arts is the last one to jump into the MOBA fray by publishing someone else’s MOBA under their banner. Dawngate might seem to have a lot more in common with League of Legends than the other competitors but it also has some unique ways to differentiate itself from the king of MOBAs. Does it find its way to a solid third in the pack?
Last Thursday, Valve released their official digital program for this year’s Dota 2 world championships, The International. As was the case last year, a 25% portion of the sales of the program, The International Compendium 2014, will go towards funding the prize pool for this year’s International.
After only three days on the market, the prize pool had more than doubled to eclipse The International 3’s prize pool and set a new record for the largest prize pool in eSports history at over $3.4 million and climbing.
Okay, it’s not actually dead. The Blizzard All-Stars of the name is dead though. Because you can’t have enough popular games with the acronym HotS, the not-so-secret Blizzard MOBA project has been rechristened Heroes of the Swarm.
No, that’s not a typo or a joke, I think. Third installment in the Dead Island franchise, to be called Dead Island: Epidemic, will not be a co-op first-person shooter but will instead be Deep Silver’s entry into the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre.