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Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), also known as action real-time strategy (ARTS), is a subgenre of strategy video games that originated as a subgenre of real-time strategy, in which a player controls a single character in a team who compete versus another team of players. The objective is to destroy the opposing team's main structure with the assistance of periodically-spawned computer-controlled units that march forward along set paths. Player characters typically have various abilities and advantages that improve over the course of a game and that contribute to a team's overall strategy. MOBA games are a fusion of action games, role-playing games and real-time strategy games, in which players usually do not construct either buildings or units.
A strategy video game is a video game that focuses on skillful thinking and planning to achieve victory. It emphasizes strategic, tactical, and sometimes logistical challenges. Many games also offer economic challenges and exploration. They are generally categorized into four sub-types, depending on whether the game is turn-based or real-time, and whether the game focuses on strategy or tactics.
Real-time strategy (RTS) is a subgenre of strategy video games where the game does not progress incrementally in turns. This is distinguished from turn-based strategy (TBS), in which all players take turns when playing.
The action game is a video game genre that emphasizes physical challenges, including hand–eye coordination and reaction-time. The genre includes a large variety of sub-genres, such as fighting games, beat 'em ups, shooter games and platform games. Some multiplayer online battle arena and real-time strategy games are also considered action games.
The genre largely began with Aeon of Strife (AoS), a custom map for StarCraftwhere four players each controlling a single powerful unit and aided by weak computer-controlled units were put against a stronger computer. Defense of the Ancients (DotA), a map based on Aeon of Strife for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne , was one of the first major titles of its genre and the first MOBA for which sponsored tournaments have been held. It was followed by the two spiritual successors, League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth , and eventually a sequel, Dota 2 , as well as numerous other games in the genre such as Heroes of the Storm and Smite .
StarCraft is a military science fiction media franchise, created by Chris Metzen and James Phinney and owned by Blizzard Entertainment. The series, set in the beginning of the 26th century, centers on a galactic struggle for dominance among four species—the adaptable and mobile Terrans, the ever-evolving insectoid Zerg, the powerfully enigmatic Protoss, and the "god-like" Xel'Naga creator race—in a distant part of the Milky Way galaxy known as the Koprulu Sector. The series debuted with the video game StarCraft in 1998. It has grown to include a number of other games as well as eight novelizations, two Amazing Stories articles, a board game, and other licensed merchandise such as collectible statues and toys.
Defense of the Ancients (DotA) is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) mod for the video game Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. The objective of the game is for each team to destroy their opponents' Ancient, a heavily guarded structure at the opposing corner of the map, which is based on the "Aeon of Strife" map for StarCraft. Players use powerful units known as heroes, and are assisted by allied teammates and AI-controlled fighters. As in role-playing games, players level up their heroes and use gold to buy equipment during the mission.
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos is a high fantasy real-time strategy video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment released in July 2002. It is the second sequel to Warcraft: Orcs & Humans and the third game set in the Warcraft fictional universe. An expansion pack, The Frozen Throne, was released in July 2003.
The roots of the genre can be traced back decades to one of the earliest real-time strategy titles, the 1989 Sega Mega Drive/Genesis game Herzog Zwei . 's influence is also apparent in several later MOBA games such as Guilty Gear 2: Overture (2007) and AirMech (2012).It has been cited as a precursor to, or an early example of, the MOBA genre. It used a similar formula, where each player controls a single command unit in one of two opposing sides on a battlefield. . Herzog Zwei
Herzog Zwei is a real-time strategy video game developed by Technosoft and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis. An early real-time strategy game, it predates the genre-popularizing Dune II, being released first in Japan in 1989 and worldwide the following year. It is the sequel to Herzog, which was available on the Japanese MSX and PC-8801 personal computers.
Guilty Gear 2: Overture is a video game in the Guilty Gear series made by Arc System Works for the Xbox 360. Unlike previous Guilty Gear titles, this installment makes use of 3D graphics. The Xbox Live demo of Guilty Gear 2 describes the game as, "a mix between the action and real-time strategy genre." A playable demo featuring three modes of gameplay was released in Japan via Xbox Live on 30 October 2007. A North American version was released on October 7, 2008 released by Aksys Games. A port for Microsoft Windows was released on March 31, 2016 worldwide by Arc System Works.
AirMech is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Carbon Games for Microsoft Windows, with Android and VR version in the works. Originally released onto Steam's early access program in November 2012 as the game was fully released in March 2018 under the name AirMech Strike, and additionally released a version on the Xbox 360, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 under the name AirMech Arena.
In 1998, Future Cop: LAPD featured a strategic Precinct Assault mode similar to Herzog Zwei, in which the players could actively fight alongside generated non-player units.. The PC version also allowed for online competitive play , technically making Future Cop: LAPD the first MOBA game ever released as, unlike Herzog Zwei, it meets the criteria of an online battle arena.
Future Cop: LAPD is a third-person shooter developed by EA Redwood Shores and published by Electronic Arts and released first for the PlayStation, then Mac OS and Microsoft Windows. Future Cop was originally developed as an installment of the Strike series.
Also in 1998, computer game company Blizzard Entertainment released its best-selling real-time strategy game (RTS) StarCraft with a suite of game editing tools called StarEdit . The tools allowed members of the public to design and create custom maps that allowed play that was different from the normal maps. A modder known as Aeon64 made a custom map named Aeon of Strife (AoS) that became popular. [ citation needed ]. In the Aeon of Strife map, players controlled a single powerful hero unit fighting amidst three lanes, though terrain outside these lanes was nearly vacant.Aeon64 stated that he was attempting to create gameplay similar to that of Future Cop: LAPD's Precinct Assault mode
Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. is an American video game developer and publisher based in Irvine, California, and is a subsidiary of the American company Activision Blizzard. The company was founded on February 8, 1991, under the name Silicon & Synapse, Inc. by three graduates of the University of California, Los Angeles: Michael Morhaime, Frank Pearce and Allen Adham. The company originally concentrated on the creation of game ports for other studios' games before beginning development of their own software in 1993 with games like Rock n' Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings. In 1994 the company became Chaos Studios, Inc., then Blizzard Entertainment after being acquired by distributor Davidson & Associates.
In 2002, Blizzard released Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (WC3), with the accompanying Warcraft III World Editor . Both the MOBA and tower defense subgenres took substantive shape within the WC3 modding community. A modder named Eul began converting Aeon of Strife into the Warcraft III engine, calling the map Defense of the Ancients (DotA). Eul substantially improved the complexity of play from the original Aeon of Strife mod. Shortly after creating the custom DotA map, Eul left the modding scene. With no clear successor, Warcraft III modders created a variety of maps based on DotA and featuring different heroes. In 2003, after the release of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, a map creator named Meiancreated a DotA variant closely modeled on Eul's map, but combining heroes from the many other versions of DotA that existed at the time. Called DotA: Allstars, it was inherited after a few months by a modder called Steve "Guinsoo" Feak, and under his guidance it became the dominant map of the genre. After more than a year of maintaining the DotA: Allstars map, with the impending release of an update that significantly changed the map layout, Guinsoo left the development to his adjutant Neichus in the year 2005. After some weeks of development and some versions released, the latter turned over responsibility to a modder named IceFrog, who initiated large changes to the mechanics that deepened its complexity and capacity for innovative gameplay. The changes conducted by IceFrog were well-received and the number of users on the Dota: Allstars forum is thought to have peaked at over one million.
The Warcraft III World Editor is the built-in level editor for the real-time strategy game Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion set Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Incorporating the core mechanics of the level editor of Blizzard Entertainment's previous strategy game StarCraft, it allows users to create and customize their own maps with a high level of detail and flexibility. The editor has been used in creating several popular custom maps, including Defense of the Ancients. The level editor was substantially improved for The Frozen Throne and allowed users to create cut scenes supporting voice-overs. Advanced features of the editor allow for custom models, tilesets and icons. The editor also supports Blizzard's JASS scripting language for programming complex actions otherwise not supported by the graphical interface.
Tower defense (TD) is a subgenre of strategy video game where the goal is to defend a player's territories or possessions by obstructing the enemy attackers, usually achieved by placing defensive structures on or along their path of attack. This typically means building a variety of different structures that serve to automatically block, impede, attack or destroy enemies. Tower defense is seen as a subgenre of real-time strategy video games, due to its real-time origins, though many modern tower defense games include aspects of turn-based strategy. Strategic choice and positioning of defensive elements is an essential strategy of the genre.
IceFrog is a pseudonymous video game designer known for being the lead designer of Defense of the Ancients (DotA), a custom Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos mod, as well as for the stand-alone sequel, Dota 2.
By 2008, the popularity of DotA had attracted commercial attention.That year, The Casual Collective released Minions , a Flash web game. Gas Powered Games also released the first stand-alone commercial title in the genre, Demigod . In late 2009, Riot Games' debut title, League of Legends initially designed by Feak, was released. Riot began to refer to the game's genre as a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA). Also in 2009, IceFrog, who had continued to develop DotA: Allstars, was hired by Valve Corporation, in order to design a sequel to the original map.
In 2010, S2 Games released Heroes of Newerth , with a large portion of its gameplay and aesthetics based on DotA: Allstars.The same year, Valve announced Dota 2 and subsequently secured the franchise's intellectual property rights, after being contested by Riot Games for the DotA trademark. In 2012, Activision Blizzard settled a trademark dispute with Valve over the usage of the DOTA trademark and announced their own standalone game, which was eventually named Heroes of the Storm . Dota 2 was released in 2013, and was referred to by Valve as an "action real-time strategy" game. In 2014, Hi-Rez Studios released Smite, a MOBA with a third-person perspective. Heroes of the Storm was released in 2015. Blizzard adopted their own personal dictation for their game's genre with "hero brawler", citing its focus on action.
There are two opposing teams whose goal collectively as a team is generally to destroy their enemy's base to win,though some games have the option of different victory conditions. Each team most typically consists of five players. Typically, there is one main structure which must be destroyed to win; destroying other structures within the opposing team's base may confer other benefits. Defensive structures, which are usually automatic "sentry guns", are in place to prevent this, as well as relatively weak computer-controlled units which periodically spawn at each base and travel down predefined paths toward the opposing team's base. There are typically 3 "lanes" that are the main ways of getting from one base to another; in between the lanes is an uncharted area called the "jungle."
A player controls a single powerful in-game unit generally called a 'hero'. When a hero stands near a killed enemy unit or kills an enemy unit, it gains experience points which allow the hero to level up. When a hero levels up, it has the ability to strengthen its abilities, of which it typically has four. When a hero dies, it has to wait a designated time, which generally increases as it levels up, until it revives at the team's base.
Heroes typically fall into one of several roles, such as tanking, damage-dealing, or healing & support. Each individual hero is unique, with its own abilities that it does not share with any other character, even those which share its role(s). Also typically, there is a large starting pool of heroes; League of Legends, for instance, began with 40, and has added at least one new one every month for its entire lifespan, reaching 100 in 2012.This adds to the learning curve of the game, as players must not only learn the game's goals and strategies but also find at least one hero they excel at playing, not to mention familiarize themselves with the remaining roster. Additionally, each hero is deliberately limited in the roles they can fulfill. No one hero is ever (supposed to be) powerful enough to win the game without support from their team. This creates a strong emphasis on teamwork and cooperation.
Each player typically receives a small amount of gold per second during the course of the game. Moderate amounts of gold are rewarded for killing hostile computer-controlled units and larger amounts are rewarded for killing enemy heroes. Gold is used by heroes to buy a variety of different items that range in price and impact. For the most part, this involves improving the combat viability of the hero, although there may be other items that support the hero or team as a whole in different ways.
As the heroes of each team get stronger, they can use multiple strategies to gain an advantage. These strategies can include securing objectives, killing enemy heroes and farming gold by killing A.I. units. The stronger a team gets, the more capable they are at destroying the enemy team and their base.
Members of the genre do not generally feature several other elements traditionally found in real-time strategy games, notably base management, and army building. Some video games have certain heroes which control a few specialized units. The MOBA genre has more resemblance with role-playing games (RPG) in gameplay, though the MOBA genre focuses on multiplayer battle in an arena while RPG typically revolve around a single player story.
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In most MOBAs, players assume specific roles such as carry, support and ganker; the number and type can differ depending on the game.The carry role is expected to scale and itemize themselves to do the most damage against enemy characters and objectives, but may also require protection and assistance from their team members. Supports are characters who support the entire team, they have abilities that are meant to aid allies and disable or slightly harm enemies. Some supports have healing abilities which can be very useful in fights, giving health to an ally while the enemy is losing more and more of theirs. Ganker roles are flexible, as they have both carry and support skills that are used to disrupt and eliminate enemies, thus giving their teammates an advantage over their opponents. According to Nuangjumnong Gavrilova, gankers can "act as a strategist, decision-maker or supporter depending on the team's needs." Player roles can also be classified by the particular lane they are focusing on, such as "top laner", "mid laner", and "bottom laner".
Due to the large volume of MOBA matches played on a daily basis globally, (League of Legends alone had a reported 100 million active monthly players worldwide in 2016and an average of 27 million League of Legends games played per day reported in 2014 ), MOBA has become a platform to apply big data tools to predict match outcomes based on in-game factors such as hero kill/death/assist ratios, gold earned, time of a match, synergy with other players, team composition, and other parameters. The prospects of using Artificial Intelligence to play in matches and predict match outcome represents the future of having robots interacting with humans in competitive gaming environments.
Valve Corporation is an American video game developer, publisher and digital distribution company headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. It is the developer of the software distribution platform Steam and the Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Portal, Day of Defeat, Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead, and Dota 2 games.
Warcraft: Orcs & Humans is a real-time strategy game (RTS), developed by Blizzard Entertainment and published by Blizzard and Interplay Productions. The MS-DOS version was released on 23 November 1994 and the Macintosh version in early 1996.
Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne is the expansion pack for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, a real-time strategy video game by Blizzard Entertainment. It was released worldwide on July 1, 2003 for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. The Frozen Throne builds upon the story of Reign of Chaos and depicts the events after the main game's conclusion. The single-player unfolds from the perspective of two new protagonists—the Night Elf warden Maiev Shadowsong and the Blood Elf prince Kael'Thas—as well as returning protagonist Arthas Menethil. Additionally, the expansion contains Act I of a separate Orc campaign that is independent from the main storyline with Blizzard releasing Acts II and III via patch in December 2003, taking in player feedback of Act I when developing these chapters.
Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans was a graphic adventure game under development by Blizzard Entertainment and Animation Magic from 1996 until its cancellation in 1998. Set in the Warcraft universe after the events of Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, it followed the orc character Thrall in his quest to reunite his race, then living on reservations and in slavery following its defeat by the human Alliance. Assuming the role of Thrall, the player would have used a point-and-click interface to explore the world, solve puzzles and interact with characters from the wider Warcraft series.
League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games for Microsoft Windows and macOS. The game follows a freemium model and is supported by microtransactions, and was inspired by the Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne mod, Defense of the Ancients.
Heroes of Newerth (HoN) is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game originally developed by S2 Games for Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux. The game idea was derived from the Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne custom map Defense of the Ancients and was S2 Games' first MOBA title. The game was released on May 12, 2010, and re-released as a free-to-play game on July 29, 2011. On May 5, 2015, Heroes of Newerth development duties passed to Frostburn Studios, with the development team moving over to the new company.
Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness is a fantasy-themed real-time strategy (RTS) game published by Blizzard Entertainment and released for DOS in 1995 and for Mac OS in 1996. It was met with positive reviews and won most of the major PC gaming awards in 1996.
Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game developed and published by Valve Corporation. The game is a sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA), which was a community-created mod for Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion pack, The Frozen Throne. Dota 2 is played in matches between two teams of five players, with each team occupying and defending their own separate base on the map. Each of the ten players independently controls a powerful character, known as a "hero", who all have unique abilities and differing styles of play. During a match, players collect experience points and items for their heroes to successfully defeat the opposing team's heroes in player versus player combat. A team wins by being the first to destroy a large structure located in the opposing team's base, called the "Ancient".
Realm of the Titans is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed by Ningbo Shengguang Tianyi for Microsoft Windows. The game is partially inspired by the Warcraft III custom map, Defense of the Ancients.
Heroes of the Storm is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment for Microsoft Windows and macOS, which released on June 2, 2015. The game features heroes from Blizzard's franchises including Warcraft, Diablo, StarCraft, The Lost Vikings, and Overwatch. The game uses both free-to-play and freemium models and is supported by micropayments, which can be used to purchase heroes, visual alterations for the heroes in the game, and mounts. Blizzard does not call the game a "multiplayer online battle arena" or an "action real-time strategy" because they feel it is something different with a broader playstyle; they refer to it as an online "hero brawler". At the end of 2018, Blizzard announced that game was being transitioned to a long-term support plan, with some staff members moved to other projects and its official tournament circuit cancelled.
Strife was a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game developed by S2 Games. This is S2 Games' second MOBA game aimed to a more casual player base than Heroes of Newerth, most notably incorporating various gameplay elements that focus on heavily reducing player toxicity and introducing persistent mechanics outside of the arena, including Pets and Crafting. The game uses an engine called Kodiak which is based on the Heroes of Newerth with some improvements on lighting and physics.
Vainglory is a video game developed and published by Super Evil Megacorp for iOS and Android devices. The game is a version of the MOBA genre wherein two opposing teams of three or five players fight to destroy the enemy by controlling the path between the bases, which is lined by turrets and guarded by AI-controlled enemy creatures. Off the path, players battle for control points that provide resources. The game was released for iOS in November 2014, after being soft-launched for over half a year, with the Android version being released in July 2015. A Mac and Microsoft Windows version of the game was released in July 2018. Through cross-platform play, players on all four platforms can play together simultaneously.
Gem Tower Defense is a tower defense video game created by Bryan K. It was released on February 18, 2007 under the tower defense subsection of Blizzard's Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne minigames. Several game clients, Flash browser game websites and mobile devices have hosted variants of the game. The game is based upon the strategy, mazing, decision making and chance. The goal of the game is to eliminate computer-controlled enemies that follow a set path to reach the end of a pathway. "Gems" are structures players build to defend their maze. Each Gem is randomly distributed leaving it to chance for a player to acquire the one needed. Gems are placed to form a maze for extending the length each enemy unit travels thereby increasing the attack time of the Gems. Both the type and quality of the Gems selected determine the damage and use of the structure.