A relatively new genre, MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), also known as ARTS (Action Real Time Strategy), grew out of the strategy genre. It has a player take control of one character on a team and compete to destroy the opposing enemies’ structures. Teams are usually assisted by weaker computer controlled units that march along preset paths. Player characters will usually have varying abilities and specialties that they can use to support their teammates.
Part of the appeal in the popularity of the MOBA genre is that it is easy to learn but hard to master. The learning curve is nowhere near as unforgiving as that of games like Eve Online. It borrows elements from other genres, such as tower defense. MOBA is real-time strategy distilled to its basic elements, as befitting its origin as a mod for a strategy game.
Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the best MOBAs currently available on the market. The majority are free to play and are fun for players of all levels.
A 3D, 3rd person MOBA, League of Legends is currently one of the most popular games in the genre. It follows the freemium model but it also offers microtransactions.
Players take the role of an offscreen summoner that controls a champion with unique abilities. They are part of a team and fight their opponents to destroy their nexus, a structure located at the heart of their base and protected by defensive buildings. The setting is known for its unique blend of steampunk, high fantasy, and Lovecraftian horror.
There are currently 138 champions on offer to choose from, divided into six classes.
Dota 2 is another extremely popular MOBA game, consisting of two five-player teams competing to destroy their opponent’s structure. The game offers a huge variety of characters to choose from with over 115 different heroes available.
Heroes are divided by three primary attributes, Strength, Agility, and Intelligence. Strength heroes tend to be melee fighters and have greater health. Agility offers dextrous and powerful heroes. Intelligence heroes usually have magical abilities and large stores of mana. They also tend to be ranged fighters.
All players begin at level one with one ability unlocked. They level up during the game and can unlock abilities or enhance them as they do. Dota 2’s popularity on the esports scene is immense with a viewership of millions tuning in to watch championship matches. Why not give it a go?
One of the most popular MOBA games on the market right now, Heroes of the Storm is a free to play game from Blizzard. It collects together heroes from Blizzard’s various franchises such as Starcraft, Diablo, Warcraft, The Lost Vikings, and Overwatch. Throughout its history, it has remained free to play. The recent upgrade to 2.0 has received praise and shows why the game remains consistently popular with its player base.
An interesting take on the genre, SMITE has players take control of a god, goddess, or other mythological figures. They then take part in team-based combat, against rival players and computer controlled minions.
92 characters are available to be picked from. These gods and immortals are chosen from the nine available pantheons. Celtic, Chinese, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Hindu, Norse, Japanese, Mayan, and Roman, deities are all represented. Players on the same team may not choose the same god but they may mix and match deities from any pantheon.
The characters are further divided into five different classes; Assassin, Guardian, Hunter, Mage, and Warrior. Having become popular in the esports arena, the game’s leaderboards ensure it is friendly for both veterans and beginners alike.
Made by the same developers who brought us Heroes of Newerth, Strife is a MOBA more suited for beginners as it is aimed at the more casual gamer. Outside of the thrilling battles, the game offers crafting opportunities to customize your arsenal with different components and recipes.
Players are also accompanied by pets which offer unique advantages on the battlefield. Further pets are unlocked through gameplay.
This game takes inspiration from 2D platformers and fighting games. The game’s unique graphics have been acclaimed for their resemblance to Saturday morning cartoon’s. The player controls one of the titular “Awesomenauts” and fights in teams of three. Each Awesomenaut is unique, boasting their own look and voice over in addition to varying stats and attributes.
The game is also noted for its fully featured map editor and the host of user-created content that is available.
It brands itself as team arena brawler but Battlerite is a MOBA through and through. The game is a spiritual successor to Bloodline Champions. It is essentially a MOBA stripped down to the basic essentials, that of team fights. It is the best MOBA for beginners as it eliminates construction and strategy, concentrating on combat.
The characters are split up into three simple categories, melee, ranged, and support. The small nature of the matches (2 v 2 or 3 v 3) will ensure that no new player feels overwhelmed.
Another free to play MOBA, Airmech gives the player control of a transforming mecha that can fight on the ground as well as in the air. The game is an interesting spin on traditional MOBAs as the AI spawned units are infantry and will fight to capture strategic points known as Outposts. It contributes to the feel of it as a tactical wargame.
Unlockables include units, pilots, and Airmechs, all of which are paid for using an in-game currency called kudos, earned after each match. The game offers four core game modes; solo, co-op, PvP, and survival.
Similar to other MOBAs, Vainglory stands out as the best mobile MOBA, having been designed primarily for play on tablets and smartphones with a simple yet elegant touch system. The game has been released in 17 languages, a sign of its diverse popularity and worldwide membership.
The game offers play against humans or bots, allowing even those with only five free minutes to play. Unlockables are gained with in-game currency,
The best MOBA for android, Titan Brawl offers addictive play for both veterans and newcomers in the genre. The condensed nature of its three-minute battles makes it ideal for play on the go. As well as multiplayer, it also offers 30 campaign missions.
The game allows for clan formation as well as the collection and upgrading of the various Champions and Titans a player can gain access to.
A 5 v 5 wargame, Battle Bay takes place on the high seas. Players choose from different types of ships such as the Enforcer, Defender, Shooter, Speeder, and the Fixer. These take the role of classes that are used in more traditional MOBAs.
Players can customize their ships to carry different armaments and items. The game also supports player interaction in the form of guilds. The game rewards strategic thinking, with players able to use the wide variety of customizable ships to support strategies center on offense or defense.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
A fun and addictive mobile MOBA, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a classic MOBA, designed for play on smartphones.
Tanks, Marksmen, Support, Mages, and Assassins, are some of the exciting classes to play. The controls are deceptively simple, it is possible to play the game with only two fingers. Matches last 10 minutes and the matchmaking takes only an incredible 10 seconds. The game eliminates the repetitive farming that other MOBAs are guilty of, concentrating solely on the action.
The game also features a lost connectivity feature that has the player’s hero controlled by the AI until they reconnect.