The MOBA (or Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) is a subgroup of the strategy game genre, which pits two teams of players against each other across a typically symmetrical, laned map. The goal of these games is destroying the opposition’s base, situated at the other end of said lanes.

MOBAs typically feature two teams of heroes battling across a laned map, with the objective of destroying each other’s base.

The means to achieve this differ per game, but generally involve strengthening one’s team through the securing of various map objectives. Eventually this will then allow them to change the equilibrium of the NPC minion waves rolling across the lanes in their favor.

You kill stuff, you level up, you help your minions (or “creeps”) beat theirs and you win, basically.

It’s a simple formula, but it’s survived for nigh twenty years now. Even with the rise of the Fortnite phenomenon, three MOBA titles were in 2018’s top ten of largest prize pool esports and Valve’s Dota 2 comfortably lead that list with available winnings that almost doubled those of the runner-up. That game also saw its equivalent of a world championship draw in 15 million peak viewers, while competitor League of Legends’ World Championship final alone had an audience of almost a 100 million.

League of Legends’ Worlds 2018 final saw a world-wide viewership of a 100 million.

Them’s fighting numbers. And still, there’s only a few successful MOBAs out there. This is not for lack of trying by developers. Before everyone built a battle royale, a lot of people were trying to make a MOBA. Some still are, be it by leveraging new technology or by marrying the game type to another popular one. Yet few succeed.

In this series I will take a look at what makes a successful game in this genre and explore its different evolutions, both proven and new. I intend to do this not just through text, but also through code. Which is to say that we’ll be writing our own, fully functional, MOBA title.

Some have tried marrying the game type to another popular one, like the battle royale.

For accessibility reasons we’ll be doing so in HTML5, so if you’ve not done a lot of programming you will likely be able to keep up. If you have, however, I still hope to provide you with enough of a framework to continue on with the toolset of your choice, as well as give you plenty of interesting ideas to make it something special.

I’m aiming for this to be a weekly(-ish) series, which you can access directly through this link. Alternatively, following me on Twitter is usually a good way to keep track of the things I’m up to.

We’ll start next time by looking at the history of the genre and into the reasons why those which did survived. I hope to see you then!

Since the days of Molten Core the top raiding guilds have been racing each other for world-first kills on new content. Some have streamed parts of their progress, but even then new encounters were more often than not excluded from this as to not give the competition a leg up.

So when EU-based guild Method announced they’d be streaming all of their trip through Mythic Uldir, that was pretty cool even for a casual follower like me. That they then went on and got the first clear, adding the 10th such trophy to their cabinet, well that’s just bad-ass.



I have raided in the past, but world-firsts were never a serious concern of mine. You raided because that’s what guilds do and you killed bosses for loot and to determine your guild’s place on the realm’s totem pole.

Because of this secrecy and its status as just being part of guild life, raiding was never a spectator sport. Yet that may be exactly what Method’s created. There was humor, there was drama. Strategies were about more than dps-ing really quicklike or boss mechanics alone (it was their decision not to re-clear, forgoing new gear for more time on the final boss, that cost US guild Limit the crown). It was almost two weeks of diverse entertainment that you could tune in to at any time, not unlike any other big tournament in esports.

I’ve missed the birth of the Mythic Dungeon Invitational due to my WoW break, but I wonder what this’ll do for the All-Stars viewership at BlizzCon. Even with the different format I know I’ll be tuning in. And Method? Props, I’ll be seeing you in Zuldazar.