The problem with MOBA

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Posted by SgtSphynx (2617 posts) -

Please bear in mind that this is entirely my opinion and I am in no way an authority on this subject. Also, I am almost certain that I am not the first person to hold this opinion or come to this conclusion. One final aside, I am mainly concentrating on the way it seems that most people only refer to the DotA-likes when using the term MOBA.

Anyway, I went to answer @Mike's poll about MOBAs and a thought occurred to me. First, I was going to answer that I have never played a MOBA before. I have the same problem that @jeff does with these DotA-likes; they take my least favorite part of an RTS and make it the entire game. That is where I stood initially, but as I said before, a thought occurred to me. Let's breakdown the acronym/initialization/whatever.



This descriptor is accurate though it does not hint that the player is controlling what is essentially an RTS unit.


Again, an accurate descriptor, but again it doesn't hint at the play style involved with the genre.

Battle Arena

This is where I have the biggest issue. This descriptor is too vague. When you think about it, any online competitive shooter (CoD, Quake, Unreal) takes place in a Battle Arena. The maps that matches take place on fit the descriptor just as well as map(s) in Dota 2, LoL, HOTS, and other so called MOBAs. Sure, only Unreal and Quake are considered Arena Shooters, but the fact remains that even though the maps in other shooters aren't called arenas, that is essentially what they are. Merriam-Webster gives a definition of Arena as "an area of activity, interest, or competition." That describes maps in CoD pretty well. It cannot be argued that what take place on maps in CoD is not a battle, therefore those maps are Battle Arenas.

A Battle Arena
A Battle Arena

This fact is further demonstrated by fact that there are third-person shooter MOBAs. The only difference I see is that generally in MOBAs AI controlled entities are present and the player isn't necessarily just going for the most kills but none of this nuance is addressed by the acronym.

To be honest, I don't really have a problem with the acronym. It is in wide enough usage that most people understand what you are referring to, but I do feel it is far too vague considering none of the words the letters stand for address the specifics of the genre. Just my two cents.

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#1 Posted by laserguy (550 posts) -

I can't play moves right now I'm going to be busy with Metal Gear.

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#2 Edited by Nadril (648 posts) -

Acronyms are dumb. that's really all you need to say.

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#3 Posted by duke_of_the_bump (313 posts) -

I agree, Fast Action Real-Time Strategy is a much more accurate descriptor

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#5 Edited by Terin (20 posts) -

The way I see it, the term isn't Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. It's moba. Only way I can really rationalize it.

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#6 Edited by WickedCestus (3781 posts) -

The best genre name has already been proposed and established: Lords Management. LoMas for short. No one calls them MOBAs anymore.

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#7 Posted by Tennmuerti (9460 posts) -

So are pretty much 90% of game genre acronyms and categories.

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#8 Posted by PsychoPenguin (232 posts) -

+1 for LoMa. or maybe Multiplayer Lords Management? MLM? The more friends you get to play the game with you the more fun it becomes :)

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#9 Posted by Shaunage (933 posts) -


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#10 Posted by Slag (8157 posts) -

I'm not going to deny it's a terrible acronym and one coined by Riot for seemingly less than altruistic reasons. It is however the name that has gained mainstream acceptance.

At this point any name involving the term DotA or DOTA or d.o.t.a or any other variant of Dota you choose is a total non-starter after the Blizzard-Valve legal settlement.

I think the horse is out of the barn on this one. Certainly competitors to Riot are certainly trying to put their flag in the sand with their own names (ARTs, team Brawler, HAGs, what have you), but I think it's too little too late.

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#11 Posted by Painkiller80 (65 posts) -

Who cares what they call it...

You could make a shit post about RPG too.

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#12 Edited by Zomgfruitbunnies (1281 posts) -
@nadril said:

Acronyms are dumb. that's really all you need to say.

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#13 Posted by ripelivejam (13163 posts) -

Mere schemantics.

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#14 Posted by SgtSphynx (2617 posts) -

@slag said:

I think the horse is out of the barn on this one. Certainly competitors to Riot are certainly trying to put their flag in the sand with their own names (ARTs, team Brawler, HAGs, what have you), but I think it's too little too late.

I don't disagree.

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#15 Posted by ajamafalous (13816 posts) -

Action Real Time Strategy (ARTS) is what the genre was called (along with, and more commonly, DotA-clone) until Riot invented the term/genre Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) for their League launch marketing. League hit mainstream, colloquialized MOBA, and then 30 other developers decided they wanted to chase the Riot money so they, too, started calling their new games MOBAs.

Basically Riot ruined everything by making up a new name for a genre that had already existed for 6+ years (like most of the other colloquial terms for things common to other games in League, but that's a rant for another day)

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#16 Posted by Mister_V (2442 posts) -
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#17 Posted by ripelivejam (13163 posts) -
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#18 Posted by WoolieDood (11 posts) -

It's just a dumb acronym and it's not like MOBA is the official word for those kinds of games just because RIOT made it up.

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#19 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (4415 posts) -

I vote for FARTS

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#20 Posted by Spoonman671 (5874 posts) -

I always thought they were more like competitive Diablo-style action-RPGs than they were RTSs.

I agree that the term MOBA is dumb, but the ambiguousness of it actually works in its favor somewhat. The reason you can have third/first-person shooter MOBAs is because the term indicates a specific structure, and not specific core gameplay. Teams will have minions, and towers and bases in anything called a MOBA. There will be a jungle. It is a complex concept that is very difficult to distill down into a comfortable short-hand phrase. Competitive Tower Assault?

I guess the names aren't that important. We still call things action-adventures afterall.

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#21 Posted by Dizzyhippos (4624 posts) -

If it makes you feel any better IceFrog (the person that maintains and has run dota for around a decade now has said he hates the term MOBA as well.

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