Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) is a prominent gameplay style that has enjoyed a long-lasting appreciation since its humble beginnings. It has also seen a rise in popularity in the recent years thanks to the introduction of mobile MOBAs.
Traditional MOBAs are played on a PC and matches can last anywhere from 30-60 minutes. MOBAs are also team-based co-op. Such gaming requirements led to the rise of a dedicated fanbase, who often view the game as a social activity.
Picture: League of Legends gameplay map
The MOBA layout and gameplay that has become the standard was actually developed by players themselves. The customizability of Blizzard’s Starcraft and Warcraft games allowed the community to build the typical map of a MOBA genre; with three lanes, jungle areas, and defensive turrets and bases. However, the first MOBA game designed for the full MOBA experience was Riot Game’s debut title League of Legends in 2009. LoL’s popularity has never faltered, hitting 100 million active players each month by September 2016. The game routinely reaches the highest number of hours watched on YouTube and Twitch, proving again the community’s dedication to the game.
Dota 2 was only released on 2013 but it is the most played game on Steam, garnering over a million concurrent players every day. Dota 2 also has a highly active competitive scene globally, with many leagues and tournaments worldwide. The game is also prided on having the largest prize pool in esports- totaling in at millions of USD.
With MOBAs enjoying such a huge popularity but also requiring a certain commitment in terms of free time, mobile MOBAs step in as a solution by delivering the same unique gameplay in a short time wherever you are. The compression of the gaming experience has been welcomed by many, bringing in new fans at the same time, but some argue that it doesn’t deliver the depth and complexity that a traditional MOBA does.
Some of the available MOBAs on both Android and iOS have millions of active players as well. Vainglory, available on both Google Play and App Store, is a relatively young mobile MOBA that has made large waves in the international competitive esport community. Hugely popular Mobile Legends: Bang Bang has its fair share of tournaments and a passionate player base- despite a lawsuit from Riot Games in July 2017. King of Glory, also known as Wang Zhe Rong Yao, enjoys a cult following in mainland China with over 200 million players. They are also looking to expand into the Southeast Asian market with the introduction of Realm of Valor, the adaptation to King of Glory.
Picture: Sceen capture from Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
Whether you enjoy a longer complex game or a shorter quicker game, there’s a MOBA out there that will fit your gameplay. If you’re new to MOBAs, it’s a good time to start.