MOBA Games 101: Beginner’s Guide to League of Legends, Dota 2 & More


MOBA Games 101: Table of Contents


Do you want to try out the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre? I don’t blame you. It’s exploding across the landscape of RTS gaming, and the most popular multiplayer game in the world right now is a MOBA (League of Legends). Unfortunately, MOBAs are a bit esoteric to new players, and the community is often downright toxic to those that aren’t great at the game. I should know; I’ve been playing MOBAs in some form or another for almost ten years now. So here’s a handy guide for all those strange words and concepts you see bandied about in chats and forums.

As you read this article, you’ll be introduced to a lot of the major concepts universal to the genre and be poised to learn more. While execution is obviously a matter of practice (a lot of practice), you’ll be in a great position to improve if you know how the basics work. Since almost all MOBAs come from the same stock, learning these will also make sure you can shift around to whatever game suits your fancy. For reference, important concepts will be marked in bold.

The basic MOBA formula has been essentially the same since the earliest days of the genre. Ten players gather together for a five-on-five fight, and each player selects and controls a single powerful RPG-style character. Computer players control non-hero units, which move down preset paths to attack the enemy base. The end goal of each match is to destroy the enemy’s primary structure (ancient, nexus, whatever), which results in a win for the attacking team and constant, unending rage for the losing team. Lanes, however, tend to complicate this. We’ll take a look at them on the next page.

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