The problem with MOBA

Avatar image for sgtsphynx
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.

MOBA

Multiplayer

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

Online

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.

Moderator
Avatar image for laserguy
#1 Posted by laserguy (550 posts) -

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

Avatar image for nadril
#2 Edited by Nadril (648 posts) -

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

Avatar image for dukeofthebump
#3 Posted by duke_of_the_bump (313 posts) -

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

Avatar image for terin
#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.

Avatar image for wickedcestus
#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.

Avatar image for tennmuerti
#7 Posted by Tennmuerti (9460 posts) -

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

Avatar image for psychopenguin
#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 :)

Avatar image for shaunage
#9 Posted by Shaunage (933 posts) -

Dota-clone.

Avatar image for slag
#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.

Avatar image for painkiller80
#11 Posted by Painkiller80 (65 posts) -

Who cares what they call it...

You could make a shit post about RPG too.

Avatar image for zomgfruitbunnies
#12 Edited by Zomgfruitbunnies (1281 posts) -
@nadril said:

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

Avatar image for ripelivejam
#13 Posted by ripelivejam (13163 posts) -

Mere schemantics.

Avatar image for sgtsphynx
#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.

Moderator
Avatar image for ajamafalous
#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)

Avatar image for mister_v
#16 Posted by Mister_V (2442 posts) -
Avatar image for ripelivejam
#17 Posted by ripelivejam (13163 posts) -
Avatar image for wooliedood
#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.

Avatar image for flashflood_29
#19 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (4415 posts) -

I vote for FARTS

Avatar image for spoonman671
#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.

Avatar image for dizzyhippos
#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.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.