Starting your first MOBA game can be difficult, and even a little scary to those that don't know how. Here are five MOBA games that have proven their stock and are easy to get into.
With the advent of League of Legends taking center stage with the LCS, Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas, or MOBAs for short, is all the rage these days, with esports tournaments popping up all over the place. But, with so many games to choose from, how do you decide which one to try out? Here’s a selection of games that are great starting points to dive into.
League of Legends
We'll get this one out of the way first. While not the first MOBA ever made, League of Legends is certainly the blueprint for the genre now. Created by Riot Games, and boasting the largest player base, League is on the forefront of the esports wave, with weekly regional tournaments all leading into the grand finale at the end of the year, the League of Legends World Championship. With several game types available to play, League offers a variety of choices in playstyle, though the most popular is still the standard 5v5 Summoners Rift. With a wide range of champions to choose from, League games are never boring or stale. League of Legends one of our games of choice, as you can read here.
The original MOBA was Defence of the Ancients, a mod for the hugely popular Warcraft 3, and this is the sequel. Another huge draw in esports, DotA 2 may not have quite as many players as League of Legends, but it certainly makes up for that in fan passion, hosting some of the world’s largest prize pool tournaments and attracting hundreds of thousands of viewers every year. While there aren’t quite as many heroes to choose from, DotA 2 has more mechanical depth than League, making it a little harder to get into. Fortunately, Valve, the publisher of the game, has made a very excellent training system designed to ease players into the game, and the fact that it is available on Steam certainly helps.
Bu. don’t take our word for it! Listen to Steam user "Wuiter", for his very simple review of DotA 2 after more than ten thousand hours on record: “BEST GAME”. Well, that does it for us.
Heroes of the Storm
It makes sense that Blizzard would have a game in this genre, after all, the original DotA was a mod for a Blizzard game. While keeping the core mechanics the same, Heroes of the Storm does mix things up in ways designed to make sure the game stays fresh, with a wide variety of maps that feature different objectives, rather than the standard three lane affair of other games. Additionally, because of the nature of being a Blizzard property, HotS heroes are drawn from a wide variety of other Blizzard games, allowing fans to finally see whether their favourite World of Warcraft characters can go toe-to-toe with their favourite StarCraft or Diablo heroes.
As a good friend of mine once said “You mean I can take down Diablo, Lord of Terror, with a probe from StarCraft? Sign me up!”
A little different than the previous games, Smite takes the game style of a MOBA but adds the excitement of a third person shooter, to keep the pace fast and thrilling. Additionally, Smite draws its characters from a wide variety of mythology, so you can finally see which Thunder God reigns supreme. While not as large as some of the other games on this list, it does have a very loyal fandom, and can stand up to the best in terms of esports competition, with developer Hi-Rez Studios being one of the first to feature upwards of a million dollar prize pool. The games can be a bit chaotic at first, but once you get the hang of it, it can be quite addicting.
Our final game on the list is different again, with Vainglory being a mobile only MOBA. Developer Super Evil Megacorp has found a way to condense all the action of the other MOBA games, into the palm of your hand, with an intuitive control scheme that doesn’t leave the player confused about what they can and can’t do. With a smaller, more intimate map, and a roster of heroes that, while not as large as the other games on this list, is still increasing, Vainglory proves to be an exciting addition to the MOBA genre, and best of all, one you can fit in your pocket. Just make sure you keep an eye on the time, on more than one occasion I’ve run out of battery playing a little too much of this game.
While the list of MOBA games grows every day, these are the five that have been around for a while, and have proven that they have the staying power to be worth getting into. If you're interested in the eSports side of things, why not check out our coverage of the recent discussion about DotA 2 at ESL One Katowice here, or check out our coverage of the North American League of Legends Championship Series here.