What Makes MOBA Games So Popular?


A video game is one platform of media and entertainment that continues to diversify itself when it comes to content. From action-packed First Person Shooters (FPS) to immersive Role-Playing Games (RPG), there is always one genre that caters to a specific audience. But when it comes to sheer popularity, MOBA games have to take the cake.

Also known as Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, this genre has garnered a massive wave of support in the gaming community over the years. Today, it continues to be one of the most popular video game genres to date. Why is this the case? Let’s take a closer look.

Easy to Understand…

One of the main reasons why people gravitate towards MOBAs is that the game genre’s premise is simple to understand. Ten players are divided into two teams, and both team’s objective is to defeat the opposing team by destroying the opponent’s base. You can liken it to conventional sports, with two teams trying to outplay the other to win a match.

This is why MOBAs have a wide appeal to their audience. Similar to popular sports like basketball and football, once you understand what the goals and rules in MOBAs are, you can treat it as a fun spectator sport. Unlike conventional team sports, though, if you do not like to read into the rules of MOBAs, its basic premise is simple enough for you to follow—the action is contained in a single map, and most of the action is fast-paced and flashy.

In the high-level play, teams and players would often switch their champions to adapt to what the opposing teams are playing. This makes each match have different results—spectators are often at the edge of their seats since they won’t know what to expect in subsequent matches. On top of that, MOBA’s eSports commentators, players, community, and tournaments give a professional and electric atmosphere similar to traditional sports.


MOBA Gameplay


…But Hard to Master

That said, you will have to invest time if you plan to get good at MOBAs. Like in conventional sports, MOBAs require you to spend time and hone your skills and overall gameplay knowledge.

Players who take their MOBAs seriously are often seen playing for huge stretches of hours daily. This is to ensure that their execution on their favorite champions or heroes is always on point. Such dedication to the game is needed since in Ranked matches, your wins and losses matter. For competitive players, the thrill of competition and winning against other players and being that much closer to be ranked as the best player in the game are enticing enough for them to spend time to perfect their gameplay.

And with the devs continually adding new elements and tweaking the gameplay of MOBAs, serious players are always pushing themselves to adapt and thrive in the current meta of their beloved games and be at the peak of their powers.

Then there is the factor of playing with other players. Being a team-oriented game, players will have to rely on their respective teammates to win matches. Like in conventional sports, skills can only get you so far; you will have to work with your teammates to achieve victories. Not only does it help players improve their interpersonal skills, but it also helps create and develop new friendships.

MOBA Games are Free to Play

Another big reason why MOBAs are so popular is their free-to-play design. Unlike other games that require you to purchase them, MOBAs are free to download and install on PCs and mobile. Once you have downloaded and installed the game, you can start playing with other players right away.

Most MOBAs give you free champions or heroes to play. However, during the course of your playtime, you get to unlock more of them using in-game currency. That said, there is the option to use real-life money to purchase new heroes or champions. But, this is not mandatory to get better at the game.




Constantly Developing

While other game genres like FPS and RPGs are only as good as the latest release, MOBAs are different by design. Unlike other game genres that release their titles with around two to three years of shelf life for their base game, MOBAs are always constantly improving various facets of their games.

This goes back to the way MOBAs were developed. Way back in 2002, MOBAs were custom games created by RTS fans and budding game developers. These developers capitalized on a game engine that allowed them to create another game using the in-game engine and mechanics. This was the case for Aeon of Strife, which is considered the first MOBA by many. Its developers used the Campaign Editor mode of Starcraft to build a custom game that would be the blueprint for subsequent MOBAs—from the three-lane map, hero, or champion selection, to the game’s objective.

Fast forward to the present time, two of the most recognizable MOBAs, League of Legends and DOTA 2, have refined the classic MOBA blueprint. This refinement is to make their respective titles stand out from one another. Both games continue to tweak and introduce new gameplay elements within their existing game mechanics. Among these include fixing bugs, balancing heroes and items, and even modernizing the look of their games. This keeps MOBAs fresh from a gameplay standpoint, since each patch and update tweaks to how players can play the game. But it’s not too much to the point of completely overhauling the core gameplay their fans have come to love.

And those are some of the top reasons why MOBA games continue to be popular. By making them easy to install and play, alongside the developers constantly adding new stuff into the gameplay, MOBAs have garnered strong communities across the different titles. Thus, they continue to be a consistently popular video game genre.