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Awesomenauts & the Future of MOBA Games

SO I've been playing a lot of Awesomenauts lately (check the video for my take on it, and you can win a copy while your at it) and have been giving a lot of thought to the idea of MOBA games in general and what a game like Awesomenauts means for the genre. In the past a game could be defined as a MOBA if it: had an overhead view of a battlefield divided into 3 lanes with each protected by opposing towers and each lane led back to a base wherein NPCs spawned at or near a central base that must be protected at all costs. The NPCs helped a cast of unique and interesting player controlled heroes (each with a basic attack as well as several special abilities) to attack and eventually try to destroy the enemy base.

That's a pretty damn specific set of criteria for a genre. Awesomenauts uses a lot of those ideas, pretty much all of them in fact; and yet it is so different from other MOBAs. Perhaps its the fast paced platforming that has been introduced, or the streamlining process Ronimo has gone through to make the game appealing to console players as well as make the genre playable on a console. In doing this, they have changed the way that I think about the genre. Let me explain:

Would Awesomenauts (or any MOBA for that matter) still be a MOBA if the creeps were removed? What about the turrets? Would it still be a MOBA if the goal was no longer to destroy the enemy base, but to steal an enemy flag and take it back to the friendly flag? In other words, what are the REAL defining features of a MOBA game, and why has the genre not evolved?

Most people would point at Riot's Dominion game type in League of Legends as the first real evolution in the gametype, but do MOBA purists consider Dominion to still be a MOBA? Or is the problem that MOBA isn't really the right way to describe the genre in the first place? I'd love to hear what you guys think, so hit up the comments!

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MitchieDBBC2109d ago

I'm not much of a scholar in the art of gaming. Mostly play and sometimes lose. Of all the moba games i've played (League of Legends)it's hard for me to define what a moba is, although i do spend time watching let's play and reviews on other games like Awesomenauts and Smite to get a better understanding. It's hard to define a game without pushing it to another game type. Much like TF2's capture the flag. What if though there were small critters and sentry's (not an engineer's)added to the capture the flag. Would it change the game type altogether? One the point of dominion however i only played that once and wasn't sure what to make of it. Yeah it was unique and kinda fun, but i'm not really sure if it's still a moba game, like i said i'm not much of a scholar in these types of things.

I don't know if my words carry through to a point where it makes sense, but i hope i was able to throw my two cents out there.

ahamling272109d ago

I also don't know much about MOBA games, but I think we can extrapolate some general ideas about the genre. If I understand correctly, DOTA was started as a Warcraft mod that was itself a remake of an earlier StarCraft map.

What we can say about the genre is that there is a community that feels that the game must stick to it's roots and there's a community that never played the Warcraft mod. It's important to know this because the community that never played the original mods of StarCraft and Warcraft probably outnumber the original community. Ultimately it will be that community that takes the genre and evolves it into whatever it becomes in the future.

How it will evolve, well, that's the money question there. If I knew, I'd be developing it right now. :)

SmallKiwi2109d ago

Haha so true! I think you are absolutely right about this, that there are two groups, one who would do anything to preserve MOBA games forever as they are (just look at how mindbogglingly strictly DotA2 copies DotA). The other group loves the style of play that these games introduced, but has no love for the gameplay idiosyncrasies inherent to the original.

Thankfully traditionalists are generally always eventually eclipsed by progressives so we WILL see more evolution of the genre, I think, but the question is really, like you said, what direction? What specific game mechanics/features will be considered necessary for it to be a MOBA game?

taquito2105d ago (Edited 2105d ago )

This game looks so cool, looking at it on steam now:)

thanks for tips

btw- small kiwi loves awesomenauts , lol, that phrase is funny on many levels