The Best Games for Your Guild: MOBA Edition

Just a few weeks ago, we compiled a list of the best (read: most active) MMOs for guilds. But team play happens in more than just one genre. Although the word “guild” might be specific to MMOs, the need for a good team and an active community is not. So this time around, we’re going to shine the spotlight on some MOBA games that are perfect for you and your guild.

MOBAs are great for groups that want shorter play times and more competitive elements. They tend to be much more fast-paced and goal-oriented than MMOs, and don’t demand as much of a time commitment. (But we can’t promise you won’t willingly sink all your hours into them anyway.) 

MOBAs are also a great way to break into the eSports scene, if that’s what you and your team would like to do. There are tournaments happening all the time – from small, local competitions to the big leagues. Now that Gamer Launch has an eSports feature, it’s easier than ever to set up scrims and connect with people who might be interested in playing competitively.

If you happen to be the lone wolf type, MOBAs may not seem like your thing. But think about it – if you don’t like your team, you can dump them at the end of the match with no consequence to yourself or your in-game progress. That’s a pretty sweet deal – and something you definitely can’t do in a guild setting. Who knows – you may find some fantastic teammates in a random match, or by using the aforementioned eSports feature to search for other players

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You may recall that we didn’t mention World of Warcraft in our MMO article. That one was just too obvious. Because League of Legends is to MOBAs as World of Warcraft is to MMOs, we won’t beat a dead horse by recommending it to you. Everyone knows by now that it’s a good game. But if League isn’t to your liking, here are some other MOBAs that your guild might enjoy.

SMITE

If you want a LoL or Dota 2 clone, look elsewhere. If you want a MOBA experience with a twist, SMITE is the game for you. It allows you and your teammates to play as gods in a ton of different modes that range from 1v1 jousts to the standard 5v5, 3-lane maps. (Plus, Gamer Launch is an official sponsor of SMITE. So it’s like your team has VIP status.)

Unlike the top-down view of other MOBAs, SMITE uses a third-person view that requires players to be much more aware of their surroundings, and also makes sneak-killing a viable tactic. If you’re used to playing MMOs with your guild, the combat will feel more familiar than in other MOBAs.

If you’re looking to get into the eSports circuit, SMITE has a healthy competitive scene. Because it doesn’t quite have the same crowd as Dota 2 or League, you may find it a little less intimidating to take that first step into the amateur arena.

For all you non-PC gamers, SMITE will soon be the only mainstream MOBA available on console. It’s releasing for Xbox One on August 19th, proving that MOBAs don’t have to be exclusively a keyboard-and-mouse affair. Hooray for inclusion!

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Dota 2

We would be remiss in our duties if we didn’t mention Dota 2. It’s the prodigal child of Dota – the Warcraft III mod that made MOBAs a thing. There’s been much debate about whether League of Legends or Dota 2 is the superior game, but that’s not what we’re here to decide.

Although Dota 2 looks and feels relatively similar to League, there are some differences that might really matter to you or your team. MOBAs in general have a pretty steep learning curve, but a lot of gamers seem to think that Dota 2 is a little harder to learn than most MOBAs. The game not only punishes you for dying, but its battles are more frequent and abrupt. Heroes in Dota 2 are very powerful (moreso than the champions in League), but that power comes at a higher mana cost. Some say that Dota feels sluggish due to long attack and casting animations, but the fights themselves pack a bigger punch.

Where League is more about making matches fun and exciting, Valve has made sure that Dota 2 is more balanced. All heroes are immediately available to the player on login, so you don’t have to purchase any of them – a big perk for players on a budget. Dota also has (arguably) the most active eSports scene around.

One last thing to consider is that vanilla Dota has only one map to play on, with the standard three-lane setup. But Valve has recently opened up modding support for the community, so players can now create and participate in custom games with Dota 2 Reborn. We’re betting that some of them will get pretty outrageous.

Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard took the MOBA formula and overhauled it to create Heroes of the Storm. Some hardcore players have taken to describing it as a MOBA-lite game, but that tends to give people the wrong idea. Heroes of the Storm is certainly more straightforward and more accessible to newer players than other MOBAs, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.

HotS is significantly more team-oriented than several of the other MOBAs on this list. Blizzard did away with last-hitting; instead, teams share experience. When one player levels up, so do all of their teammates. It’s nearly impossible for a single player to carry a game on their own. While there are times when your team will want to split up, more often than not you’ll find yourselves playing as a single five-member unit.

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There’s no currency of any kind, either, so there aren’t any in-game items to purchase or benefit from. Blizzard replaced the usual item store with a talent system – as you level up, you unlock talents that either augment your current abilities or give you brand new ones. This makes it significantly easier to familiarize yourself with new heroes. It’s also worth noting that because there are no items to modify a hero’s play style, combat roles are much more rigid.

Although it’s less complicated than other entries on this list, HotS keeps things fresh with every game – maps are randomly chosen when you start a new match. These randomized maps aren’t just aesthetically different. Each one is a different size, and they all have their own unique objectives and strategies for victory. But the surprises don’t stop there. Because HotS isn’t a MOBA giant, Blizzard has the privilege of playing around a little. They’ve included some pretty odd heroes that you wouldn’t get to see in more established games – The Lost Vikings, for example, are three guys controlled by one player. Pretty neat, right?

Strife

Attention all MOBA newbies: Strife is made for you. It’s deliberately easier than games like League and Dota, making it the most accessible game on this list. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t for veteran players, too. It can actually prove to be pretty tricky if you approach it the way you approach other games – you’ll end up seeking out mechanics that simply don’t exist.

Strife has a smaller hero pool than most, but each hero can play multiple roles. So you can have several different strategies with the same lineup of heroes. This also means that new and experienced players alike can customize characters they like to better fit their play style.

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Like HotS, Strife focuses more on team play than soloing. You still receive gold for killing enemies and reaching objectives, but all gold is shared among your teammates. This makes for a much more relaxed atmosphere – especially if you prefer to play support roles. Non-AD players won’t have to stress over not getting enough gold keep up with everyone else.

Aside from its newbie-friendly gameplay, Strife has a unique crafting system that further sets it apart from other MOBAs. The game lets you craft new elements for items that you build during matches, which means you can further customize a character to your play style. Would you rather have extra damage on that sword you always build than the mana that’s currently there? Craft a new part for it. Strife also has pets that can follow you onto the battlefield, level up with you, and bring new abilities to the table – something that hasn’t been done in any other MOBA.

AirMech Arena

Are you disappointed by the lack of giant robots in your MOBA? AirMech can fix that. You play as a towering mech that can transform into a flying vehicle – helicopter, armored jet, UFO etc. This game is what happens when MOBAs and Transformers meet. You can take to the air to build and position battle units, then transform back into a robot to fight on the ground alongside them. If you’re thinking that this sounds an awful like like an RTS game, you’re right – AirMech combines elements from both genres.

How you wield your giant robot power is up to you. Want to build a few massive tanks that can roll over anything that stands in your way? You can do that. Prefer to have an army of speedbikes that can plunge the opposing side into two-wheeled turmoil? You can do that, too. Earning gold and experience in-game will help you unlock new mechs to wreck things with.

Of all the games on this list, AirMech has the most praised community we’ve found. Not only is it full of active players, but there are giveaways and events on a fairly regular basis. Word on the street is that its players tend not to take things as serious as League or Dota players, which makes this a great MOBA for more casual play.

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There you have it, folks. All of these games have their merits, and any one will be a blast to play with your team. Whether you want hard-hitting heroes or killer robots, these MOBAs have you covered. Grab your friends and queue up.

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