An Analysis of MOBA Gaming and it's Future:

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Maya Fey

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Senior Member

08-27-2011

I've been into "MOBA" games before they were even named "MOBA", well, I even liked MOBA games before DotA became such a huge success. The style is really a sub-genre that spawned in custom games from famous RTS games (mainly Starcraft and Warcraft III). Anyways, DotA was not a new concept, even in it's first versions. What made it so different (as in, how did it get famous) from the several other maps that had similar gameplay? Games like ENFOS and Tides os Blood were really similar in concept to what DotA is, why did they "fail"?

To be honest, I don't really think the "competition" of DotA failed, they didn't fail because there was no concept of success, yet. DotA was community picked by people because it was consistently updated and was, therefore, the most balanced. Balance is a funny thing, balanced doesn't mean "fun", balance doesn't mean "good"; balance means competitive. It's only when the game is balanced that you can actually play it for "real", when the game is balanced there is no excuse to losing other than getting "outplayed". That's what happened with DotA, it became the paragon of balance inside custom games and started eclipsing the competition, little by little.

Well, not just the Custom Game competition, DotA was a lot more forgiving and less intimidating than the ordinary RTS Melee match in Warcraft III. DotA became a game of it's own, I knew several players that never played a single Starcraft or Warcraft III match and still somehow got into the game.

Dota never had advertising, dota never had market, it was a virus spreading in full speed, spreading by word of mouth, no marketing tools, people around the world were getting seduced by the image of the ideal game: free, balanced and fun.

Well, that was the beggining, the rise of a new style. Calling it style implies competition, the market needed to adapt, new independent companies gave rise to new games with similar gameplay. Is DotA still hegemonic? Yes, but I think it won't be for long, unless valve has a trick on their sleeves for the nearby future.

Five years ago, while I was playing the 6.0X versions of DotA, I started pondering whether DotA would have different maps with different strategies while keeping the same heroes. Certain heroes would shine more in certain maps, there wouldn't be so many useless heroes like there is today. When I heard valve was developing DotA2 I was really excited, I couldn't wait for it. I thought they'd learn a thing or two with League of Legends and change the entire gameplay, get rid of the stupid things that DotA was stuck with because of the Warcraft III engine (things like, strength, agility, intellect, armor types, etc.) and ship us a new and fun experience.

What a let-down. I seriously look at League of Legends: Dominion and think: "There it is, the beginning of the change". That's the future of MOBA gaming. MOBAs are a RTS sub-genre, but it's strategy gameplay is a lot more similar to that of a FPS. There is room for Capture the Flag, there is room for King of the Hill, there is even room for rescue the hostages if developers actually wanted to implement it.

Dota is balancing for the freaks, DotA is balancing for the perfect gameplay, they are trying to turn that one map into a 100% balanced scenario. Guess what, Icefrog? That's not possible. It doesn't matter how many heroes you release, DotA on that map will always be the same: 10 heroes are picked, 4 are banned. Fourteen heroes out of a "real" 20 hero pool, since the other heroes will be either bad or just won't fit into the "current metagame". DotA has become the Metagame, that's what people need to realize. Competitive DotA gaming is ugly, it has no action. In order to tell who is winning or losing you have to pay attention at really objective things and slow moving things, like gold/experience per minute.

Valve, I'm disappointed, Riot, I'm proud of you. S2 games... You had your chance and you blew it, worst community management I've ever seen. There is no hope for a game where the owner of the company and his "GMs" are all moronic jerks.

This is not a "LOL > DOTA > HON" thread, this is an analysis of the ongoing development of the MOBA genre. Stop the fanboyism, open your minds, play for fun.


"tl;dr": Dominion is the step into the right direction.


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Yaezakura

Senior Member

08-27-2011

I find this very well thought out, and I agree with you entirely.

I, too, was really hoping that Valve would be able to move DotA beyond the constraints of it's original home in the WC3 engine. I always felt that DotA was what a lot of really innovative people could do within the bounds of a predefined engine they were helpless to change. But then LoL came out, and it was what those same really innovative people could do when they were set free. And now, we have DotA2, which is, much to my dismay, nothing but DotA with a new graphics engine. Rather than moving away from the flaws that plagued the game, they copied them wholesale because they were afraid of real change.

Dominion has only highlighted what made LoL the leader in MOBA gaming--innovation and caring about the players. All the players, not only the ones who are content to sit in their little bubbles at the top of the ladder, who do nothing but play what is strongest because winning trumps all. Riot cares about every one of us, and making sure we have a good time.

And that's why they will continue to lead MOBA gaming. DotA2 is no threat to LoL.


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Wolfhunterx

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Recruiter

08-27-2011

Dominion will change the game for the better. Dota2 and HoN will stay the same as it stands.


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Syrekroth

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Master Recruiter

08-27-2011

I have been waiting forever for someone aside from me to make this point. I also am glad that Dominion is taking the Genre in a different direction. Until now all 3 of the games were somewhat similar in game play, now LoL is the leader of the field in the Genre. They are introducing a new way to think of how you're going to play the game, it's exciting.


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Shini Laser

Senior Member

08-27-2011

With the gaming circles I am around, while many of the people played LoL, they were expecting DotA2 to hit a grand slam. After long discussions with them, I said while it is possible for DotA2 to hit a grand slam, something in my stomach said that people were expecting way too much for DotA2. Valve is a great company, don't get me wrong - at least half an hour of TF2 every day for the past 3 years on average.

Valve, with Icefrog, is giving what those with rose-tinted glasses wanted. DotA2 will get a large initial audience between Valve promotions (I heard already something about TF2 hats/weapons) and the fact it has the acronym "DotA" in it's name. The question will be, will such nostalgia be able keep enough people around so that at on a random day at a random time on Steam, when I pull up stats of number of people playing all the games that Steam offers, will DotA2 have more people playing than say, CoD:MW2? That is 20,000-30,000 people minimum around the clock.

I hate to put it, Valve, but I don't think that simple goal will be able to be met.


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Brimstorm

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Senior Member

08-27-2011

Give this man a medal.


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despondent

Senior Member

08-27-2011

but but...deny ;o..and LoL is too casual to be competetive....

/sarcasm


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Jinxx

Member

08-27-2011

agreed


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DLChade

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Senior Member

08-27-2011

It is my hope that with dominon, the other leading 'MOBA' game will have to step up and produce something new, particulary if it is a big success. This will bring new ideas (hopefully) that everyone will benefit from


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General Balls

Senior Member

08-27-2011

I'm just looking forward to Dominion because it's a breath of fresh air to a style of game that has continuously uses the same general map layout in all of its iterations. The new game mode is a complimentary, and very awesome, icing on top of the marble cake.


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