I used to resist using the term MOBA because I thought it was too obscure. These days, I’m pretty confident that you’ve all at least heard of the term before.

The multiplayer online battle arena is a newish type of video game that features teams of player-controlled heroes battling each other, towers, and computer-controlled minions, all in the hope’s of destroying the other team’s base. Two MOBAs, League of Legends and Dota 2, are consistently the most-played PC games every month, and they bring in millions of dollars with their free-to-play models.

So, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing a lot of potential competition on the horizon. In fact, it’s getting hard to keep track of all of the upcoming MOBAs. That’s why we created this guide, which gives you a little information on each one (at least those for PCs, not mobile) and tells you how far along it is in development.


Infinite Crisis

Joke's on you! Heh, original comic book humor.

Above: Joke’s on you! Heh, original comic book humor.

Image Credit: Polygon

Developer: Turbine
Current status
: Open beta

Infinite Crisis gives some comic book love to the MOBA formula by adding characters from the DC universe of superheroes and supervillains, like Superman, the Joker, and the Green Lantern. It’s also in open beta, so you can play it right now.


Heroes of the Storm

A picture of a character select screen with ten iconic Blizzard characters as the choices.

Above: I know who Diablo and Kerrigan are, and I don’t want either of them anywhere near me.

Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment

Developer: Blizzard
Current status
: Alpha

Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard’s take on a genre that actually got its start as a modified map for its Warcraft III real-time strategy game. Heroes of the Storm brings together characters from its three big franchises: Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo. It’s also a friendlier sort of MOBA, ditching the complicated shopping mechanic from League of Legends and Dota 2.


Strife

How are we supposed to make a fun acronym out of a name like Strife?

Above: How are we supposed to make a fun acronym out of a name like Strife?

Image Credit: Shacknews

Developer: S2 Games
Current status
: Closed beta

Strife is actually S2 Games’ second MOBA. It already has Heroes of Newerth, a successful if formulaic title that never quite reached the mass appeal of League of Legends and Dota 2. Strife seeks to improve the player experience by removing a lot of the toxicity usually associated with MOBAs. You can only chat with players on your own team, so that elimates at least half of the people who can yell at you. You share resources with your teammates, which S2 hopes will foster better teamwork and better manners.


Dawngate

Dawngate

Above: EA’s Dawngate certainly looks like a classic MOBA.

Developer: Waystone Games
Current status
: Open beta

Dawngate represents megapublisher Electronic Art’s entry into the MOBA arena. It has a similar structure to Dota 2 and LoL, but it promises a stronger metagame with flexible characters that don’t get stuck into specific roles. Since it’s in open beta, you can try it right now.


Battleborn

Do you notice how all these MOBA characters start to look the same after awhile?

Above: Do you notice how all these MOBA characters start to look the same after a while?

Image Credit: 2K

Developer: Gearbox Software
Current status
: In development

A 2K representative told us that the recently announced Battleborn isn’t a MOBA but rather that it’s a hero-shooter. I don’t buy it. Some publishers seem terrified of the MOBA moniker, probably because they’re avoiding comparisons to LoL and Dota 2 (and thus look like another copycat), so they invent their own genres like “hero shooter.” Well, a MOBA is pretty much nothing more than two teams of heroes fighting against each other. Making it a shooter doesn’t change that. In fact, Super Monday Night Combat is an existing shooter-based MOBA, so it’s hardly unprecedented. I mean, just look at that picture of those five heroes up there. If that doesn’t scream “MOBA,” I don’t know what does.

Sins of a Dark Age

Well, it's certainly dark.

Above: Well, it’s certainly dark.

Image Credit: Dual Shockers

Developer: Ironclad Games
Current status
: Steam Early Access

Most MOBAs are cartoony and colorful, so Sins of a Dark Age stands out a bit thanks to its darker, more medieval look. It’s from the same developer responsible for the popular strategy game Sins of a Solar Empire. You can try Sins of a Dark Age right now on Steam Early Access for $5.


Deadbreed

How can you breed when you're dead? Ew.

Above: How can you breed when you’re dead? Yuck.

Image Credit: Steam Community

Developer: Deadbreed AB
Current status
: Steam Early Access

While most MOBAs feature two teams of five fighting each other, Deadbreed features 3-on-3 battles. It also features tools that enable for deeper character customization than those you find in most of its competitors. Like Sins of a Dark Age, it features a darker art style. You can also play it now via Steam Early Access, although it’s a bit more pricey than other MOBAs (most of which are free-to-play) at $20.


Dead Island: Epidemic

The MOBA epidemic might actually be worse than the zombie one.

Above: The MOBA epidemic might actually be worse than the zombie one.

Image Credit: MMOBomb

Developer: Stunlock Studios
Current status
: Steam Early Access

Dead Island: Epidemic claims that it’s the first ZOBA (zombie online battle arena). Cute. It’s an action-focused take on a MOBA that’s also a spinoff of the open-world Dead Island series. It’s available right now on Steam Early Access for at least $17 (you can buy more expensive bundles that give you more content).


Magicka: Wizard Wars

Magicka: Wizard Wars

Above: Kill it with lightning!

Image Credit: Paradox Interactive

Developer: Paradox North
Current status
: Steam Early Access

Magicka: Wizard Wars is a competitive take on the Magicka series, a cooperative action role-playing game that already had plenty of elements similar to most MOBAs. Like in the original, teammates can combine spells for powerful effects. It’s also on Steam Early Access, but it’s free-to-play.


Arena of Fate

Arena of Fate features an interesting collection of heroes.

Above: Arena of Fate features an interesting collection of heroes.

Image Credit: Crytek

Developer: Crytek Black Sea
Current status: Steam Early Access

Arena of Fate is publisher Crytek’s bid for MOBA dominance. It features characters from history and legend, like Little Red Riding Hood, Joan of Arc, and Tesla. It promises a streamlined experience that’ll give new players greater accessibility.


Transformers Universe

Teamwork and tactics will be key to success in Transformers Universe. Brute force might help at times, though.

Above: Transformers, MOBA meets the eyes. Transformers, MOBA in disguise.

Image Credit: Jagex

Developer: Jagex Games Studio
Current status: Open beta

Transformers Universe brings everyone’s favorite Decepticons and Autobots into the world of MOBAs. Developer Jagex is hoping to create an experience accessible for the franchise’s younger fans. It just entered open beta, so you can try it for free right now.

More information:

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is a leading global interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the Company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for ... read more »

Crytek is an independent company at the forefront of the interactive entertainment industry, and is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of gaming by creating standout experiences with their cutting-edge 3D game technology, CryENGINE. F... read more »

2K develops and publishes interactive entertainment software games for the console, PC, and handheld gaming systems through its three divisions: 2K Games, 2K Sports, and 2K Play. 2K publishes titles in today’s most popular gaming gen... read more »

Blizzard Entertainment® is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software. After establishing the Blizzard Entertainment label in 1994, the company quickly became one of the most popular and well-respected makers of compu... read more »

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