Rui Carreira is a pop-culture–oriented individual and he loves all things cinema, anime, gaming, and entertainment.
The Rise of MOBA Games: MOBA Gamers arise!
Throughout the last couple of years, MOBA games made their appearance and have risen through the ranks to become one of the most played genres worldwide.
Their success is based on their addictive and yet casual nature, and being a gaming genre that is easy to get into but hard to master it can be played by both casual and hardcore gamers alike - having different TIERs in order to accommodate every kind of players.
Throughout this article, we are going to explore some MOBAs and I'll grade them accordingly to what I think it's best.
Note that MOBAs aren't to be confused with Battle Royals or Auto-Chess type games and that we will only cover MOBA's here, but we'll shortly make another article to explore the trending auto-chess games, although there are some titles in this list that do have Auto-Chess type Arena games built-in as well.
1 - League of Legends: The Champion
This is the MOBA that rules them all. League of Legends has to be number one and I'm sorry for all of the haters and hipsters who disagree with me.
LOL just does it right and that's why it is the most popular MOBA and the game that has the highest number of players worldwide.
You see, DOTA 2 is great and all - but it doesn't cater to every kind of player, and my girlfriend is a prime example of it:
- She thinks the graphics are bland and shady and she thinks it is complicated to play... like her, many players think this way.
League of Legends adopted a cartoony look and simpler gameplay, which caters to casual players.
The game's upper TIERs or Leagues still cater to hardcore players, so well done.
This is by far the most popular MOBA, and it adds to the mix by having a built-in Auto Chess game mode called TFT - Team Fight Tactics.
You can play this chess battler directly from the LOL MOBA client, which cuts the need to download anything else.
On the other hand, Riot Games has been expanding its multiplayer games library as time goes by, having a multiplayer game similar to Hearthstone called Legends of Runeterra and a first-person shooter game called Valoran.
A titanic MOBA that deserves the first place in this list.
2 - Dota 2: A Modding Community Like No Other
This is the sequel to the game that started it all. Dota 2 is less user-friendly than League of Legends, but it is still highly popular.
Its difficulty is higher and there's more room to tactics and strategy, but it can be quite hard to get into, especially if you played any other MOBA game beforehand.
It is daunting at first, and that helps to explain why DOTA 2 isn't more popular.
I found it a bit harder at first, but when I started to master it I kind of started enjoying it more than League of Legends although I do confess LOL's visual style appeals to me the most as it is easier to follow with your eyes.
On the other hand, DOTA 2 has a modding community like no other MOBA out there, and it shows.
There are countless auto-chess mods, and you can say DOTA was the father of auto-chess since their mods are among the first manifestations of this now popular game niche.
On the other hand, there are countless other MOBAs built-in DOTA 2 via its mods, some of the most popular ones being based in anime such as One Punch Man and so on.
It's definitely worth a look.
3 - Smite: The 3D MOBA You Can Play on Console
Forget about the Isometric view most MOBAs present you and jump into Smite if you want to try something new.
From the creators of Tribes Ascend, Smite gets you a 3D view and hero control with the ASWD keys, something that gives the title some originality and novelty.
Its player base is growing, and only time will tell if Smite can climb higher in the list.
For now, one of the biggest advantages of the titles is that it can be played in consoles quite easily, and on the PC with a controller.
Other titles heavily rely on the computer mouse and keyboard to work, and SMITE is easier to control due to its 3D view.
Regardless, if you love Mythology, this is probably the game for you as it is heavily based on the Mythology of the Ancient World.
However, it is nowhere close to the other two MOBAs we just discussed, and it seems people prefer the top-down view.
4 - Heroes of Newerth: One of the Big Ones
The number 4 on our Top 10 MOBA games list is "Heroes of Newerth", a MOBA game that has some nice marketing and is good enough to stand on its own.
As far as graphics are concerned, they have some similarities with the ones with DOTA 2, but they look a bit more light and colorful, giving some hue to the board.
As far as I'm concerned, I find this one to be superior to DOTA 2 in what comes to the game itself, but I had to keep DOTA 2 in the number 2 of this least because of what it means to MOBAs and its popularity in general.
Heroes of Newerth is a game that has seen better days and has been dropping in popularity, losing its audience to several other games on this list, but it still retains a fourth place.
It was one of the first MOBAs as well, so it had some advantage due to its launch date, even competing with the big dogs at one point.
It is falling continuously though, and I worry about its future as it seems very uncertain.
5 - Guardians of Middle-Earth: Tolkien Universe MOBA
This is actually a pretty nice MOBA game, and it surprised me because most of the games made out of big movie or book franchises end up to be a huge disappointment.
The Guardians of Middle-Earth MOBA is even greater if you're a fan of LOTR (Lord of The Rings), and if you know about the Lore.
If you're a Tolkien junkie, you have to try this one!
Be careful though, as if you don't like the Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit, you aren't going to enjoy Guardians of Middle-Earth as being part of the Tolkien Universe is one of the requirements.
Why do I say that?
Because on this MOBA, time took its toll. It didn't evolve, its controls are everything but precise, and the game has no accessibility and seems very unpolished. I think the only reason why its player base is so great is that it's a LOTR game, and we all love those, no matter how clunky they feel.
6 - Sins of a Dark Age: Discontinued Piece.
I didn't play this one, but I stumbled upon pieces of it from time to time.
So, if you are looking for a review of SOADA from someone who played it, you're going to be disappointed. I actually played every other MOBA on this list, but this one I just included because the developers made the game I love "Sins of a Solar Empire", and the realm quests it offers seem like a breath of fresh air.
Check this one out and let me know.
EDIT: Unfortunately, due to the game's falling popularity, the game eventually was discontinued as it was giving its company losses.
Honestly, if it means more funds to develop Sins of a Solar Empire games and stuff like that, I'm extremely happy as I never played this one and I play a lot of the other titles.
If you were looking forward to trying this MOBA, I'm sorry to disappoint you.
7 - Forge: An Alternative or Something to Try If You Love MOBAs
An exciting variety of heroes to choose from, fast-paced PVP action, great graphics, and a price tag of $20.
Forge should be free-to-play in order to increase its player base and maximize on its raw potential, but I guess it's the developers' choice.
Check this out if you don't fear to lose your lunch money.
Forge has been among the titles I recommend to MOBA junkies who have played all they can play of LOL and DOTA but they still crave another game of the type.
Honestly, I start by advising with SMITE, but most of those players know that one already and are really turned off by the 3D view, so I suggest this one or Heroes of Newerth instead.
Pick it up if you want to spice up your MOBA library or simply if you want to try something new.
8 - Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes
For those of you who love Warhammer and loved the PVP included on the RPG version, this can be the right MOBA for you.
For starters, it presents a lot of novelty by pitting three teams on the map, instead of the traditional 2.
This adds a fun mix - and if you played the PVP in the RPG game, then you can skip the tutorial.
For those who love the Warhammer Universe, this MOBA is worthy of a shot, and it runs a story parallel to the Age of Reckoning, so bear that in mind when trying to understand how the lore of this one fits in with the rest.
Also, don't forget to ask around the forums for a Mount and Blade Bannerlord mod for Warhammer - I had to include this last line as it is something I'm really looking forward to.
9 - Bloodline Champions: A Swedish Battle Arena Game
We're down to a point where we cannot ask too much of the game because the choices in this genre are still very limited.
If you want to get the best MOBA experience, then you should pick the ones above, but if you tried them all and want to play something new, Bloodline Champions may be a good choice for you.
It's a funny little game and the graphics aren't that bad either.
If you played all of the other titles in this list, then I guess this one's worth a shot. On the other hand, if you're from Sweden you do have to play it as its a Swedish Battle Arena game and you're bound to support it as the good citizen you are.
10 - Super Monday Night Combat: Super MNC
If you're looking for a MOBA that skips the fantasy setting and presents you some novelty, then Super MNC might be the best chance to get what you're after.
The game happens in a TV show, a reality TV-show, and you will get explosive fast-paced action, mixed with some futuristic weapons and some creative loops.
Try this one if you haven't, you have nothing to lose since it is free.
EDIT: This game was also discontinued. This list's evolution throughout the years demonstrated that the MOBA niche had much less market diversity than other niches in the game industry.
This is due to the fact players want to show off their skills, and those prestige points will only mean something for other players. Who would care if I was a "Pro" on Super MNC if nobody played it?
A Pro in LOL, however, has a lot of status points, sponsorship opportunities, and so on. Everyone drifts towards the first 5 items on this list.
What Makes MOBA Games Addictive?
Watch the video above:
We have to agree that the MOBA genre is a bit too addictive for some people who already had trouble with gaming addiction. On the other hand, the e-sports scenario grew a lot with the new genre, and people worldwide are starting to dream about video-game related careers.
With this genre booming, one has to wonder what the next big game will be.
Why is League of Legends so popular?
I have my own ideas and thoughts of why LOL got to the place where it stands today, but I would really love to have your opinion on the subject.
Below this article, you'll find a comment section - if you read the whole thing and you're interested in games, let me know your own opinion.
On the other hand, you also have the fact that it has the most played MOBA, new players are probably going to opt for it simply to join their friends or because it is the only MOBA they have heard about.
The prizes for tournaments, the e-sports scenarios and the money-making opportunities are also there, not in the alternative titles down from the 3rd position, so consider that as well since we have a lot of aspiring pros playing MOBAs.
What do you think?
© 2015 Rui Carreira