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  1. #1

    People's fascination with MOBA games

    For quite some time I've been trying to understand what is up with the popularity of MOBA games and why are they so popular and mostly, how did this become the most played/popular genre for eSports.

    I've even been forcing myself to play Dota2 for the past few days, trying to get a good view at how this became so popular... And yet I still do not see it or understand it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's a bad game or something, or that it can't be fun but this popular? I can't imagine how - the slow pace, one game session is way too long and the first half of it is basically getting the last shot on the creeps (speaking Dota2 here), which imo is extremely boring. Then there's PvP, sure, that can be fun, but again it mostly boils down to who grinded the most last shots, bought the best gear and learned the abilities of others. As for the actual combat.. not very appealing due to slow pace and click to move - strategy type of game - movement.

    I know everyone has their own taste in games and I'm one of the people that try A LOT of games and I'm really really not picky - so I thought I'm sure I'll be able to notice at least what others see in MOBA games... but I didn't.

    Neither do I understand how this genre became a standard for "pro gaming", looking at what used to be the standard (Quake 3, CS, etc). Sure it takes some skill to play, but it's mostly knowledge. It's knowing the ability of your hero and the abilities of your enemies. But that is knowledge, not skill (I count hand motorics, reflexes, etc as skill) - IMO.

    I was always able to notice what made games popular, even if I didn't find the game good myself. But this time I'm giving up, I do not understand how MOBA is so popular. I'm going to just put my MOBA popularity theory as "casualization", due to the way MOBAs are played in the sense that they require more knowing and less skilling.

    Good day
    Last edited by Grable; 2013-02-01 at 09:40 AM.
    "Loss of blood... My only weakness!"
    ~ Warlord Khan, Magicka

    Anyway, if you don't already see where I'm going with this, allow me to spell it out: the only meaningful MMORPG "endgame" -- i.e., something novel to do after the progression process is over -- is that of the sandbox.

  2. #2
    Brewmaster juzalol's Avatar
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    1. It's popular because it's team based, competitive and relatively easy to grasp the basics of it. You won't play
    two identical games ever in your life. Especially if you random your hero, play single draft or all random. 3-5 players
    per team supports the idea of having a group of friends playing games perfectly and if you compare it to something like
    Counter Strike it's far more forgiving to new players[in term of game mechanics, not community].

    2. It's the standard of "Pro Gaming" because it's popular. Casual community is the backbone of
    all e-sports as you need a large playerbase to be interested in the game to watch the gaming events.
    High viewer count will attract sponsors which will bring money to the scene which will bring pro players.

    I personally don't like watching pro matches of moba games as I honestly don't think there is much individual
    skill involved. When I see people play moba games at the "highest level" It's usually just team coordination,
    communication and player synergy instead of being extremely skilled and polished player.

  3. #3
    Yeah I never got why they are so extremely popular either.

  4. #4
    High Overlord narzinor's Avatar
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    Juzalol hit the nail on the head with his post about it.

    People want to watch something they can understand without having to put a lot of effort into learning it. (Which is why strategy games usually have fewer viewers in E-sport scenes).

    Basically it all boils down to the 3-Ms : Money Money Money.

    When sponsors see the large crowds, they put in more money, which also means a higher prize pool for the players, which brings in more players, and people watching, which brings in more money.

    It's sad though, as I prefer not to partake in them myself :/
    I had a cool sig... then photobucket ate my pics and now its borked. :/ oh wells...

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by bals View Post
    Yeah I never got why they are so extremely popular either.
    Kinda this. My biggest gripe, ever since Warcraft III started with DOTA-maps and I tried it out, is that the games just feelt to slow-paced, repetive and overall took to long time.

    I'm glad that the genre is as big as it is now, no hate here - Especially with LOL's succes on free-2-play model making other games follow that route more likely.

    // Tried LOL and DOTA from Warcraft III - Only really enjoyed coustome maps inn Warcraft III like Hero lines and other coustome maps (Warcraft 3 started MOBA games like LOL, don't forget that :P "Vi sitter i ventrilo och spelar dota")
    One reason for WoW decline I often hear is that its an old game and naturally people get bored with it. But TV is much older and people still watch that. Surely if a thing you once enjoyed keept staying fun, you would still use it?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Nightelfsb View Post
    Kinda this. My biggest gripe, ever since Warcraft III started with DOTA, is that the games just feelt to slow-paced, repetive and overall took to long time.
    one of my biggest gripes was that eventually 90% of the custom games on war3 were dota. couldn't even find any other custom maps to play

  7. #7
    Juzalol summed it up pretty well. I don't play MOBA games (in fact I think they're about as boring as it gets) but most people enjoy the casual, simple nature of it, along with the emphasis on teamwork and roles instead of intense individual skill. I personally get bored mostly because of there only really being one map layout. I need map variety in anything I play, or it feels repetitive and stale fast. A standard FPS will have 10 to 20 maps, easy, all with different designs. I understand that the number of heroes available are supposed to make up for it and be the variety, but it doesn't cut it for me. I also don't really care for the lack of individual skill involved in MOBA compared to other genres. I mostly play games solo, and either way I want to win based off my play, not relying on others. As for why it's the dominant genre in competitive tournaments, well, that's because it's the dominant genre in casual gaming. Tournament games are picked primarily off of popularity, not skill. The fact that it also has a very effective spectator mode (something WoW failed to get for its tournaments) helps too.

  8. #8
    teamgame, rpg elements, little mechanical skill requirements and epic amount of trash talking possibilities. Can't go wrong with that.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by bals View Post
    one of my biggest gripes was that eventually 90% of the custom games on war3 were dota. couldn't even find any other custom maps to play
    Haha, wow its like you're reading my mind....

    Now days when I pop into warcraft 3 I'm mostly looking at hero lines, or tower defense, but yea...so many random wierd maps I dont care for, or Dota
    One reason for WoW decline I often hear is that its an old game and naturally people get bored with it. But TV is much older and people still watch that. Surely if a thing you once enjoyed keept staying fun, you would still use it?

  10. #10
    It exploded in popularity mostly because Dota was easily piratable on GG client/Garena around 2002, long before anyone had thought of free to play business model. Playing with friends also enhances the experience tenfold.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zillionhz View Post
    By fiber be purged

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Grable View Post
    I can't imagine how - the slow pace, one game session is way too long and the first half of it is basically getting the last shot on the creeps (speaking Dota2 here), which imo is extremely boring.
    Last hitting is actually extremely fun, cause the enemy player is trying to deny you last hits all the time and also you gotta watch out for ganks, you have to be carefull not to push ure lane cause than you'll be more vulnerable to ganks or in tower range if the enemy freezes the lane.
    There is much more involved than just "getting the last shot"
    This is only the laning phase, in teamfights there is even much more involved (positioning, team comp, items etc)

    ---------- Post added 2013-02-01 at 11:11 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by whoranzone View Post
    little mechanical skill requirements
    You sir, just gave me the biggest laugh of today. :'(
    Last edited by Krazhuk; 2013-02-01 at 10:10 AM.
    Time is money friend!

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by juzalol View Post
    1. It's popular because it's team based, competitive and relatively easy to grasp the basics of it. You won't play
    two identical games ever in your life. Especially if you random your hero, play single draft or all random. 3-5 players
    per team supports the idea of having a group of friends playing games perfectly and if you compare it to something like
    Counter Strike it's far more forgiving to new players[in term of game mechanics, not community].

    2. It's the standard of "Pro Gaming" because it's popular. Casual community is the backbone of
    all e-sports as you need a large playerbase to be interested in the game to watch the gaming events.
    High viewer count will attract sponsors which will bring money to the scene which will bring pro players.

    I personally don't like watching pro matches of moba games as I honestly don't think there is much individual
    skill involved. When I see people play moba games at the "highest level" It's usually just team coordination,
    communication and player synergy instead of being extremely skilled and polished player.
    Good post that explains it all thanks
    "Loss of blood... My only weakness!"
    ~ Warlord Khan, Magicka

    Anyway, if you don't already see where I'm going with this, allow me to spell it out: the only meaningful MMORPG "endgame" -- i.e., something novel to do after the progression process is over -- is that of the sandbox.

  13. #13
    I've never understood why they are so popular either. I just can't get into them, no matter how hard I try.

    Ah well, to each their own, I guess.

  14. #14
    1. You don't have to grind to get to the good parts. For ppl who come from MMORPG background that's so refreshing.
    2. Strong social interaction.
    3. Varied gameplay. Both because it's group PvP and because of the sheer amount of champion combination.
    4. Instant action.
    5. Rpg elements ... you gear up and level up at a nice pace.
    6. Learning curve ... while it can be easy to pick up, to become good at the game you need hundreds of games and you need to keep practicing.
    7. Competitiveness ... winning is addictive.

    What's the worst that can happen to you ...

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Repefe View Post
    1. You don't have to grind to get to the good parts. For ppl who come from MMORPG background that's so refreshing.
    2. Strong social interaction.
    3. Varied gameplay. Both because it's group PvP and because of the sheer amount of champion combination.
    4. Instant action.
    5. Rpg elements ... you gear up and level up at a nice pace.
    6. Learning curve ... while it can be easy to pick up, to become good at the game you need hundreds of games and you need to keep practicing.
    7. Competitiveness ... winning is addictive.
    Pretty much all of the above.

    It's very easy to start being competitive at mobas and most of them can be played at any skill level, while still having fun. They all have high skill caps that require full on team play to make the most of. On top of that, the communities by and large are good and social (though there are always exceptions) and the games don't tend to have much of a technical requirement. Not to mention they're free.

    It's basically a distilled form of RTS micro play: Instead of being focused on who builds the best base, it's just focused purely around who has the best micro. The action feels and looks a lot faster than in most RTS games and actions/reactions happen instantly. After watching just a few games, you can normally tell what's going on and get into it, whereas most other games require a lot more learning before you can even begin to dabble or understand why a team/player is doing certain things.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by juzalol View Post
    I personally don't like watching pro matches of moba games as I honestly don't think there is much individual
    skill involved. When I see people play moba games at the "highest level" It's usually just team coordination,
    communication and player synergy instead of being extremely skilled and polished player.
    Actually most pros have to have high mechanical skills. Only a few players in pro scene manage to compensate lower skill with team play or general knowledge. What you see is not that skill does not matter, but everyone has to be that good not to get crushed in line. So then it is teamwork that seems to make the difference.

    What's the worst that can happen to you ...

  17. #17
    MOBAS, especially League of Legends combines every factor of a great e-sports game. It is team based, so it doesnt sound too "nerdy" for outstanders like maybe SC1 and SC2. It requires incredible amount of preparations. It requires fast reflexes. It is huge amount of skill based on the ability to execute your mechanics perfectly.
    MOBAS are also the best games to watch. All of them offer a great spectator mode, most of the shout casters are on a level compared to high commentators from a normal sport. CS still has one of the shittiest spectators I ve encountered.

    And btw Warcraft 3 DID NOT START MOBA GAMES. It was Sc1 in fact with the original AoS.

  18. #18
    League of Legends is FREE.

    When a game is free, people try it out. some people liked it and they told their friends about it, in my community in denmark, which is 15-20 year old people, everybody knows what LoL is, and it's one of the games anyone can play, not just the nerds (Call of Duty is a game anybody can play as well and keep their reputation, world of warcraft is not).
    Secondly it's pretty easy to see whats going on. there's a 3v3/5v5 arena with a couple of heroes in a standard 2d strategy game, where everybody has seen the layout before (warcraft, warhammer, age of empires - i forgot the names lol, but there's so many of those types of games).

    You can queue with your friends, and they advertise their tournaments and ranked games on the launchers. that means that my 8 year old brother who happens to play this game like 2-4 hours a day actually watches these people play. When he plays himself (this probably applies better to my 10 year old brother since he understands a bit more, or my 17 year old friends), he copies what they are doing. there's so many champions that he can always try out something new and do what the pros are doing.

    LoL streams are easy to watch, and the game can be rewarding even if you suck, as long as you know not to run in to the towers. when you kill an enemy or when you get fed, it feels like you're the king of the world, and especially casuals and people who aren't used to stomping people will love beginning in LoL, since it's really not that hard against the other new players.

    When they finally get to level 30 and play ranked, they are somewhat educated in it, and it's still free, so they can invite friends to play and stuff.

    retarded post i just made with no structure at all, love you all...

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by bals View Post
    one of my biggest gripes was that eventually 90% of the custom games on war3 were dota. couldn't even find any other custom maps to play
    I dream of a world where element tower def is at the place of the MOBA
    Quote Originally Posted by DemoBytom View Post
    But well - you don't really eat something that speaks to you, is part of "your people"

  20. #20
    Brewmaster juzalol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vogelweide View Post
    MOBAS, especially League of Legends combines every factor of a great e-sports game. It is team based, so it doesnt sound too "nerdy" for outstanders like maybe SC1 and SC2. It requires incredible amount of preparations. It requires fast reflexes. It is huge amount of skill based on the ability to execute your mechanics perfectly.
    MOBAS are also the best games to watch. All of them offer a great spectator mode, most of the shout casters are on a level compared to high commentators from a normal sport. CS still has one of the shittiest spectators I ve encountered.

    And btw Warcraft 3 DID NOT START MOBA GAMES. It was Sc1 in fact with the original AoS.
    Mobas are terrible spectator sports and even worse as an e-sport. It's difficulty to keep track what's going on
    in the game as there is no single objective that the casters can focus on. [ie. hockey or football, there is the ball...]
    Having to keep track of 10 players on 3 different lanes and possibly jungle is very challenging and you are bound to
    miss stuff as a caster.

    It's also not very skill based at all. The best team in the business does not consist of the best players in the world or
    even close. Obviously they are very good at the game, but having good player synergy and coordination is far more superior
    than having the best players.

    EDIT:
    a lot of people above are talking about moba skills having a high skill cap and such. Mobas are not about skill, they are about
    knowledge. Generally if you are a semi decent player if you know what you want to do, executing it isn't difficult. But if you take
    a game like Counter Strike or Starcraft, you have stuff that is 100% about your skill. Like if you are perfect CS player you will
    win every single time as you can always hit people in the head and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it.

    In mobas the "skill shots" are A TON about predicting the movements of the opposing player and no matter how well you aim your stuff
    the enemy player can dodge them. It's about mind games and getting used to how your opponent plays.

    In SC2 it's multitasking which is highly skill based and requires a ton of practice to even do half decently. Trying to split your marines
    during a big combat, keeping your production up and harassing your opponent with a drop or two is just so much it takes your brain to
    a ride.

    Being a skill based games makes a game a great e-sport but drives away the casual players which drives away the money.
    Last edited by juzalol; 2013-02-01 at 11:12 AM.

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