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Aug 28 2013

6 Reasons Why We Dislike MOBAs.

Pick a lane.. or don't, we really couldn't less.

Pick a lane.. or don’t, we really couldn’t less.

This new genre, originally designed from the hero system of Warcraft 3’s Custom Map community and the limited amount of customization you could attribute to its growth has exploded into a full-fledged genre. Personally, I think it’s gonna burn up for overextending its reach. I usually can’t stand the notion of PVP, but the MOBA genre in general lacks some critical elements that could earnestly make the establishment a whole lot better, and no one is attempting to make it work better for those who don’t like bashing another’s skull in. It’s a spawning ground for the scum and villainy that the Internet gladly folds its arms over. Well, I think its time to knock it down a few pegs. I have seven reasons why this genre doesn’t work for me or my colleagues. You can crack your knuckles for response while I break ’em down; I await your response.

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 1) MOBAs Ruin Franchised Ips.

Why did this need to be made? I know the answer is money, but I just don't see it raking in.

Why did this need to be made? I know the answer is money, but I just don’t see it raking in.

You may not have heard, but The Lord of the Rings is getting its own MOBA in order to pad out a long string of hit-and-miss console and computer releases over the last few years. Despite the fact that teamwork was a huge deal in the original stories, the fellowship wasn’t based on a bunch of dudes who could spam their attacks all day and grind orcs to get gold. They fought in massive armies, not against singular orcs in team fights. Even in Moria, they were trying to get out, not to defend some place of minimal importance where only the heroes and a bunch of rabble on either side can fight defending towers from Balrogs. If he’s just gonna destroy something of limited importance when some hobbits destroy a ring, I wouldn’t mind letting him pass. The Lord of The Rings doesn’t need a game where all its major battles are brought down to team fights with little human and orc minions. Every side mattered in Helm’s Deep, even the rabble.

 2) Tier Systems are Pure Evil.

I like the look, but if I have to stare at a character's rump every time I play, why not sink into World of Warcraft?

I like the look, but if I have to stare at a character’s rump every time I play, why not sink into World of Warcraft?

For anyone who has ever played a fighting game casually against their hardcore friends, you know exactly what I’m talking about. A Tier system suggests what kinds of characters and abilities they possess are better than others by some very arbitrary standards and what I can only describe as insane nerdy magic to determine the player that either everyone should play or everyone shouldn’t. I’ve always felt that skill is based initially on personal preference; if you like the character, you’ll get better with them than you will with someone you have neutral feelings for. Back when my friends played Marth and Falcon in Melee, I would defeat them all with Peach. It also exists in Dungeons and Dragons too, which I wish it didn’t.

MOBAs are no different, and they go one step further. Not only do you need to choose the right character for the situation, you need to build the right gear to make them effective. If the items are good and usable, I don’t see why they can’t work with any person or circumstances. Allow for some personal choices instead of allowing the status quo dictate good play.

3) Lore and Backstory is Wasted

And then came the carbon copies who thought they knew better.

And then came the carbon copies who thought they knew better.

There are so many characters in League of Legends and Dota 2, and what are they given as a storyline or character growth? A little blurb and a passive which pads out their abilities in context until you get into the game and ignore it all. I happen to enjoy learning about these things, seeing where the story and the growth of this character comes from. Why not include more passives or change the gameplay of the champion based on their story or character, using music and concept art to make them unique and interesting? Perhaps some in-program movies or cutscenes using the game system in order to expand upon personalities depicted. Hell, why not take it one-step further…

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4) No Single-Player Campaigns

These guys are named after their profession and generic abilities. Would it be so hard to post their name?

These guys are named after their profession and generic abilities. Would it be so hard to post their name?

And no, I’m not talking about playing a game alone with a bunch of bots, that’s lazy. Heart of the Swarm was essentially Kerrigan with powerful abilities traversing and exploring the terrain with a bunch of player-made minions who upgraded over time. To build and facilitate a more-interested player base and gather a slew of new fans, I would suggest building up massive single-player content focused on champions and their struggle. Despite what you may have heard, single player campaigns have kept interest and repetitive gameplay for a very long time and still keeps interest to this day. With as many characters as League has? It would take a while, but it’d keep me more interested than with PVP. While we are on that subject of mindless gameplay…

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5) Farming. All of the Farming.

Okay....the art style looks good, and I like platformers. This would possibly be something I'd play.

Okay….the art style looks good, and I like platformers. This would possibly be something I’d play.

Want a new champion or skin? Play constantly while breaking your back losing or winning to gain influence points. Same thing with gaining runes or masteries which only gain a minor percentage improvement for the player. Need gold to buy your kit? Not only do you need to farm hundreds of encroaching cannon fodder or natural creatures in Summoner’s Rift and the Ancients, but you need to hit them at just the right time so they die leaving you the cash. That requires a level of focus that would drive me mad; I’m already on edge of being ganked from any direction, and now I have to gauge my attacks just right around my minions as well. It’s mind-boggling and rather boring for long stretches if you play for long stretches. This might not be a problem in some of the more free-to-play model games like League or Dota, but there is a reason that it is called ‘free-to-play’.

6) Free-To-Play, Not Free-To-Experience-Everything, Chump.

Oh, Blizzard. If only you knew the cash cow you were sitting on.

Oh, Blizzard. If only you knew the cash cow you were sitting on.

There are some micro-transactions I can live with. DLC? That’s fine and if they are very hearty, all the better. New characters and skills unable to be patch into the game directly? It’s a huge bummer, but if its intriguing enough or adds something to the game that changes or enhances the gameplay I’m good with that. What I’m not good with are skins or little boosts which do not change the gameplay or impact my experience. And the worst part? I have to pay real money for them. It doesn’t enhance my gameplay or make me more inclined to play, it simply exists for the pleasure of aesthetics and the value of humor. If I feel the need to buy anything, I would think to buy something of more value to me such as concept art or those single-player campaigns I mentioned earlier. If I want to spend money, I want to spend it on things that matter. But if the game is truly free-to-play by design, I should be able to earn the content without spending money and without jumping through so many hoops.

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