Looking for a new MOBA game to test your competitive spirit? In this post, we’ve listed four of the best MOBAs to hop into right now.
Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas, or MOBAs, are one of the most popular competitive video game genres on the planet. After exploding in popularity thanks to the Defense of the Ancients mod for Warcraft III, these blends of RTS and action RPG have expanded into their own gaming category. Today, millions are poured into MOBA esports, with teams operating similarly to real-life sports clubs.
Getting into the MOBA genre is relatively easy as the majority of titles are free-to-play. They’re also straightforward to get into, even for a newcomer, though developing your skills can take some time. If you’ve been looking to get into MOBAs but aren’t sure which ones are worth your time, we’ve assembled below the best 4 titles to check out in 2022.
League of Legends & Wild Rift
Available Platforms: PC, Mac, iOS, Android
What is League of Legends?
League of Legends and its mobile counterpart Wild Rift has been enjoying a dominant spot as one of the most popular MOBAs in existence. Developed by Riot as a more accessible alternative to DotA, LoL quickly catapulted in popularity. Its more straightforward map and intriguing character designs are considered some of its most defining features.
Wild Rift is the more recently launched mobile version of LoL. Owing to its recognizable brand, it’s quickly gaining ground over other established smartphone MOBAs such as Arena of Valor. But it’s not simply PC LoL squished down to a mobile screen. Matches take nearly half as long to complete, and many Champions and items have been reworked to align with touch controls. Wild Rift has also adopted standard mobile MOBA design ideas, such as quick item suggestions.
Why is League of Legends worth your time?
In a nutshell, League of Legends stands out because of how simple it is to get into compared to other MOBAs. The game’s map is pretty easy to understand and memorize. There are plenty of Champions of all types with simple mechanics to ease new players into the experience. Furthermore, LoL has a rigidly established meta where Champions can be distinctly used in specific lanes and roles.
Riot has also invested a lot of time and money into creating a robust player management system. Reporting players for bad behavior is straightforward and has seemingly made the game a more positive experience.
Who should play League of Legends?
League of Legends and Wild Rift are both designed with a broad spectrum of gamers in mind. Whether you’re new to the genre or gaming as a whole, LoL has a variety of mechanisms in place that help ease you into the experience. At the same time, hardcore gamers and MOBA fans will find an intense and brutal ranking system that’ll push their skills to the limit.
Available Platforms: PC, Linux
What is Dota 2?
Dota 2 is dubbed as the official follow-up to the mod that put the genre on the map. Just like LoL, it’s one of the reigning titles in the MOBA landscape, with millions thrown into its esports leagues and teams. As a testament to its popularity, its main league is known simply as The International.
Compared to League, Dota 2 has a more extensive map that opens up many strategic possibilities. This makes the game slower-paced, but don’t let that fool you. Dota 2 is the more cerebral of the two games. For this and several other reasons, it’s considered to have a far steeper learning curve when compared to other MOBAs.
Why is Dota 2 worth your time?
Dota 2 owes its learning curve to its incredibly high versatility. Combining a large map and intricate mechanics means that the game is less reliant on fast reactions and more focused on how good your teamwork and strategy are. For example, getting ganked by multiple opponents doesn’t necessarily mean the end for you in Dota 2, as your team can quickly make their way to your position in many cases, thanks to teleportation scrolls.
What’s also unique about Dota 2 is that all characters are unlocked right off the bat. Where more MOBAs lock the majority of their cast behind paywalls and rotate their free offerings, Dota 2 keeps its roster open to all without asking for a single penny upfront. This means that you can immediately play any hero you want without restrictions.
Finally, Dota 2 has a more intricate character customization system. Where most MOBAs offer complete skins, Dota 2 allows you to change different parts of each champion so you can make them as unique as you like.
Who should play Dota 2?
Dota 2 isn’t going to be a game for everyone. Its steep learning curve means you’ll have to spend a lot of time learning the game’s mechanics and its large map on top of getting to grips with your characters of choice. However, Valve provides a robust set of tutorials within the game that aims to ease you into the basics. If you’re looking for a game that’s competitively challenging and rewarding, look no further.
Available Platforms: PC, Mac, PS4/PS5, Xbox One/Series X/S, Switch
What is Smite?
Smite is considered the first MOBA to adopt a third-person over-the-shoulder perspective. This camera angle change makes Smite’s gameplay dramatically different from that of traditional MOBAs like Dota 2, which uses a top-down isometric view of the battlefield. Its roster of characters is widely based on actual deities from various religions and myths. This makes Smite’s lore more recognizable and established to a broader scope of potential players.
While its esports league is smaller when compared to powerhouses like LoL and Dota 2, it still commands large prize pools and dedicated professional teams whose matches attract viewers in droves.
Why is Smite worth your time?
Two things make Smite different from other MOBAs: its camera perspective and the fact that it’s available on consoles.
The third-person perspective makes it possible to rely on your keyboard or controller for movement, making it perfect for people who don’t enjoy repeatedly clicking a mouse. It also makes the game more accessible to players who are used to third-person action games. Furthermore, the fact that you don’t have a bird’s eye view of the battlefield means strategies and teamwork are different from other MOBAs.
With Smite being one of the very few MOBAs on consoles, it has a large audience to tap into. Many Playstation, Switch, and Xbox owners don’t have a PC to run other MOBAs, so Smite is the natural option.
Who should play Smite?
Smite is as competitively sound as other games in the space. Its learning curve is significantly lower than Dota 2 and nearly on par with LoL. If you’re a console gamer or simply prefer using WASD keys to play your games, then Smite is definitely a MOBA to try out.
Available Platforms: Switch, iOS, Android
What is Pokemon Unite?
A MOBA based on the popular Pokemon franchise isn’t something we expected to come into existence, but here we are. Pokemon Unite features the titular pocket monsters in 5v5 MOBA-style battles and has a lot of commonalities with other titles in the space. Because of its brand, Unite is targeted towards younger players, which means the game is relatively easy to learn.
Furthermore, it’s one of the only MOBAs to release on consoles at launch, so it’s squarely looking to grab a bit slice of that market.
Why is Pokemon Unite worth your time?
Brand recognition and ease of access are definitely the stand-out features of Pokemon Unite. Its gameplay is relatively similar to most other MOBAs, with very few differences. Combining that with the game’s main platform being the ever-popular Nintendo Switch, you’re looking at a pretty large playerbase, which means you’re never starved for matches.
A key feature that makes Unite unique amongst other MOBAs is its map variety. Each map contains its own set of rules that can alter the way matches play out. For instance, during games, Legendary Pokemon appear at certain intervals, and these change from one map to the next. Furthermore, maps determine team sizes and time limits.
At the same time, Nintendo has ensured the game doesn’t include certain social features, which means toxic players have fewer ways to ruin your day.
Who should play Pokemon Unite?
It’s evident that Pokemon Unite targets fans of the franchise. Being able to engage with your favorite Pokemon in an entirely new way from mainline titles is a big plus. Furthermore, the game is straightforward to play because of its younger target audience. If you love Pokemon or want a more chill MOBA experience, Pokemon Unite is for you.