October 21, 2009 12:00 PM |
['The Game Anthropologist' is Michael Walbridge's GameSetWatch-exclusive column about communities built around gaming. This week is about the rise of the unaptly-named MOBA genre and the intense rivalry between two of its titles in beta, Heroes of Newerth and League of Legends.]
It is not the first time it has happened with a new game and its community, but perhaps it has never been so obvious: the player-base for Heroes of Newerth and League of Legends is clearly composed of transplants, particularly fans of the Warcraft 3 mod, Defense of the Ancients. While both games’ developers have made it no secret that they have strong links to DoTA, the question still remains as to what difference that makes to the actual players.
But first, a review: Defense of the Ancients and the games it has inspired (including this years’ DemiGod) combines RPG battling with an RTS interface in a tower-defense world. Basically, you are playing an RTS where you control only one character that levels up, earns money and purchases consumable and equippable items. Teams consist of five player-controlled heroes on each side, with computer-controlled towers and creeps assisting, usually in controlled paths called “lanes” by players.
At the beginning of the game, the creeps and towers are much more powerful than the heroes, but by the end it is the heroes that will make the difference for victory, ending the game by destroying the main building in their opponents’ base. The term Multiplayer Online Battle Arena has been coined for the genre, but isn’t widely used (yet), perhaps partially because it doesn’t recognize any of the genres it came out of and partially because it doesn’t sound cool enough to most gamers (really).
Categories: Column: The Game Anthropologist