Friday, June 15

Stop Using The Term 'MOBA'; Its Retarded

You may have heard of a game called League of Legends (LoL). You may have also heard its genre referred to as "MOBA". MOBA? What the hell is that, you ask? In this genre of game there are 2 human controlled teams, 5 players on each side. You pick a hero and your aim is to destroy the enemies base. Similar to an RTS, but there is much less focus on macro management, less resources to gather and you typically only control 1 unit. The genre started with Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) which was a Warcraft 3 mod. DOTA was immense popularity and eventually the highly derivative LoL and Heroes of Newerth (HoN) were created, among others. Somewhere along the line "MOBA" was used to describe the genre. According to this thread ( the term MOBA was applied to DOTA like games after the beta release of HoN. The term  gained in popularity due to the rise of LoL. There is a problem though.

MOBA is a fucking stupid term. MOBA stands for "multiplayer online battle arena". What does that tell us? Its multiplayer and online, which would include games like Mario Kart DS, Assassins Creed and Call of Duty. Its includes battling and is set in an arena. "Battle" is an ambiguous term. You can have a "battle of the minds", an arena is an enclosed area in which some sort of competition or conflict occurs. So any game with an enclosed map, and conflict (which is basically all FPSes) could be considered arenas. So what you are left with is an acronym that describes nothing. Most FPS could be considered MOBAs, Fat Princess could be considered a MOBA. So why did anybody created such a stupid term and why do people continue to use it?

The terms we use to define genres should be informative. I mean it seems pretty simple right? First person shooter (FPS) are a genre in which the game is primarily played in the 1st person perspective, with heavy emphasis on using guns. Roleplaying games feature a heavy emphasis on experience a world filled with characters, dialogue, story and customisation. Now while many genre names aren't perfect, and we have come to understand them to mean certain things, they all happen to be informative. So again, what is the informative about MOBA?

We had a chance to name the genre whatever we wanted, and MOBA is what we picked? So how about some alternatives? Valve, creators of DOTA 2, have referred to the genre as Action RTS. That seems reasonable right? Its a real time strategy game with more focus on action. Don't like that term? Then find something better. But please don't settle for crap.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to play some OBUVS (online building unimpressive visuals simulation, its what I call Minecraft like games).