The MOBA game genre has been around since the early 2000s and has been popular even after two decades. League of Legends is the flagship of the genre with titles like Dota 2 also holding up the popularity of these games together despite their fierce competition. However, it makes a person ask: MOBA games outdated in an era where most games have been advancing in terms of graphics and gameplay.
What is a MOBA Game?
Before we ask “Are MOBA games outdated?”, let’s take a look at what defines a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game. The genre first gained popularity in the popular Warcraft III mod, Defense of the Ancients (DotA). MOBA games are characterized by the team vs team setting, where players get to choose one of multiple characters and battle in an isometric-style map featured one or more “lanes” containing minions, monsters, or other types of objectives.
In traditional MOBA games, the game ends when either team surrenders or if one of the team’s main structures are destroyed. The game is played by collected gold and leveling up the character for a period of time by getting kills or objectives. It’s also important to note that each character in the game plays a certain role in the team, so that all of them play together to take down the enemy base or characters.
The Popularity of MOBA Games
MOBA games have always been one of the most popular genres in the game alongside RPGs and FPS games. In the early 2000s, the MOBA game community was already huge despite not being able to play online with other players. It was only in the 2010s when League of Legends was released that the community was finally able to play together from across the country, increasing the popularity of MOBA games even more.
Every player has heard or tried MOBA games because they’re really easy to understand and doesn’t force players to commit too much time to get to the fun part of playing the game. Even though the match system doesn’t change the contents of the game, nobody ever thinks that it feels repetitive because every game is a new experience for the players. This is how MOBA games like League of Legends has stood the test of time and stands strong until today.
MOBA Games in the 2020s
We’ve entered the 2nd decade of the 2nd millennia and video games have advanced way ahead of everyone’s expectations. Many people are starting to believe that MOBA games outdated compared to other game genres since they haven’t evolved in the same way as the other games. Unlike more action-oriented games like RPGs and shooters, which have introduced new major mechanics, MOBAs have virtually remained the same.
The biggest change in MOBA games have been graphics alongside the addition of minor changes like objectives and design but the overall gameplay of the MOBA game has never changed. The lack of changes isn’t unsurprising but it makes people question for how long this business model will last. The question on whether or not LoL is Dying has been asked repeatedly throughout the past few years.
Are MOBA Games Outdated?
Game genres do get outdated. For example, real-time strategy games have lost a good majority of its fanbase and the genre is almost considered dead with Starcraft and Warcraft being the only titles that come to mind when this genre is mentioned. For the case of MOBA games, you can’t consider something outdated when the popularity is steadily rising instead of being stagnant or on a slow decline.
There is very little that changed in MOBA games since its initial release but the constant visual updates and additions of new champions in the game make it interesting. The best selling point that MOBA games have is that they have the biggest esports scenes in the world with some of the most viewership and a sizable amount of prize money that will inspire thousands daily to strive for the level of mastery in the game.
Can MOBA Games Be Changed?
There have been a number of attempts to change the nature of MOBA games to deviate from the traditional 3-lane style gameplay that LoL and Dota are popular for. For example, Pokemon Unite is the newest addition to the MOBA game genre and has found a way to create a completely different way to play the game without taking away from the core mechanics that give the genre its identity in the gaming community.
Since it’s extremely difficult to complete with the established titles, the only hope that other developers can do is to choose a different platform like mobile gaming or create an entirely new way to play the game. The short answer is, yes, MOBA games can be changed but the market is currently monopolized by those who like the current iteration of the genre. It will stay that way even if it leaves MOBA games outdated.
The Future of the MOBA Genre in League of Legends
League of Legends is arguably the frontrunner for the MOBA genre and is the title that will decide how it goes into the future. As League of Legends continues to evolve in how the game is played, it concerns people that the changes being made are often met with negative feedback rather than giving the community something to be excited about. Riot Games has done everything to make the game feel like it’s constantly changing but fans aren’t happy with these moves.
If the future of MOBA games were at the mercy of League of Legends’ success, we can foresee that it will stay relevant for the next 5 years, at least. With the esports scene having a lot of viewership and coverage, it’s safe to assume that League of Legends is still a top dog not just in MOBAs but in the gaming community as a whole. However, the moment titles like League of Legends and Dota are gone, it will spell the end of the MOBA game era.