Multiplayer online battle arena
Video game genre / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA)[lower-alpha 1] is a subgenre of strategy video games in which two teams of players compete against each other on a predefined battlefield. Each player controls a single character with a set of distinctive abilities that improve over the course of a game and which contribute to the team's overall strategy. The typical ultimate objective is for each team to destroy their opponents' main structure, located at the opposite corner of the battlefield. In some MOBA games, the objective can be defeating every player on the enemy team. Players are assisted by computer-controlled units that periodically spawn in groups and march forward along set paths toward their enemy's base, which is heavily guarded by defensive structures. This type of multiplayer online video games originated as a subgenre of real-time strategy, though MOBA players usually do not construct buildings or units. Moreover, there are examples of MOBA games that are not considered real-time strategy games, such as Smite (2014), and Paragon.[lower-alpha 2] The genre is seen as a fusion of real-time strategy, role-playing and action games.
The first widely accepted game in the genre was Aeon of Strife (AoS), a fan-made custom map for StarCraft in which four players each control a single powerful unit and, aided by weak computer-controlled units, compete against a stronger computer. Defense of the Ancients (DotA) was created in 2003 by the Warcraft III modding community for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion, The Frozen Throne, with a map based on AoS. DotA was one of the first major titles of its genre and the first MOBA for which sponsored tournaments were held. It was followed by two spiritual successors, League of Legends (2009) and Heroes of Newerth (2010), as well by a standalone sequel, Dota 2 (2013), and numerous other games in the genre, such as Heroes of the Storm (2015).
By the early 2010s, the genre had become a big part of the esports category. In 2018, prize pools reached over US$60 million, 40% of the year's total esports prize pools. Major esports professional tournaments are held in venues that can hold tens of thousands of spectators and are streamed online. A strong fanbase has opened up the opportunity for sponsorship and advertising, eventually leading the genre to become a global cultural phenomenon. For example, 2018 League of Legends World Championship had the biggest prize pool out of all League of Legends esports championship finals, awarding almost $6.5 million.