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Bill Murphy: MOBAs and MMORPG.com

Column By William Murphy on June 30, 2011

They may not be MMORPGs, but there’s no sense in denying that the MOBA is becoming one of the prime examples of PC gaming’s resilience.  You may be saying, “Why, Mr. Bill… why are you talking about all this at MMORPG.com?”  We know they’re not quite what any of us would call an MMORPG, but the same way we’re covering third-person shooters at FPSGuru on the side, we’re looking at different sorts of games here at MMORPG that might share similarities.  League of Legends, Rise of Immortals, Heroes of Newerth, Bloodline Champions, and Realm of the Titans are all games which are quickly gathering a lot of steam in the online space.  What’s more is that the whole cadre of them has aspects which closely resemble both the MMO and the RPG part of our favorite videogame industry.  For that reason alone, you’re going to see a bit more coverage of MOBAs here at MMORPG.com.  If not because they’re actually MMORPGs, then because these sorts of titles are of a common interest to many gamers who might visit this site.

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How will this Effect MMORPG.com?

In short, we’re just treating MOBAs like any other game at MMORPG.com.  You may see an entry on the Game List one day that denotes these games as a “MOBA”, but by and large they’ll be getting features, news, interviews, and the like just as any other game at the site would.  We’ll be reviewing them, critiquing them and chatting about them on the forums just as any other game.  So basically, if you don’t care about League of Legends or any game of its ilk, then it will still be up to you to avoid that coverage.  In no way, shape or form are we going to stop covering the other “true” MMORPGs we already cover.  This is just a logical step for us as the MMORPG genre continues to spider-web out into a million different subgenres. 

But I don’t like it!

We wholeheartedly understand that many of you probably just don’t give a fig about these games.  Maybe you’ve tried them and maybe you’ve long since sworn them off.  But as a business and a publication our goal is to cover pretty much anything that factors into the MMO space.  It’s been years now since this site was just about the hardcore strictly categorized MMORPG, and that’s because the industry has added so many more layers to what exactly constitutes an MMO.  And on top of it all, these MOBAs are fun. We like them.  They’re great games that fall into a nice little corner of the online world, that’s quickly becoming a very large section of the MMO space.  Nope, they don’t have persistent worlds, but they do have persistent character development.  Nope, they don’t allow thousands to play at once together, but they have millions of registered players regardless. 

In short think of it this way: you may not like one of the MMORPGs we cover, but we still cover it.  Similarly here, you may not care much for League of Legends, but we’ll cover it because there are plenty of other folks who do. 

But why these games?

Did you know that the recent championship webcast for League of Legends had over one million unique viewers last week?  Yeah… it’s kind of a big deal.  And as many of you are probably aware, those viewers are likely MMO gamers too.  I view LoL and other MOBAs as a sort of offshoot of the core MMORPG, and there’s absolutely no reason we can’t cover them.  They’re games which are catered exclusively to a style of play.  If someone loved only Battlegrounds in WoW but hated everything else, I’d offer them something like LoL to see if they liked that instead.  In the same vein, a growing part of the entire videogame industry is the notion of eSports.  From Blizzard’s stable of games to FPS and RTS and Street Fighter IV tournaments: eSports are a very big deal.  The MOBAs play right into that category.  If you ever go to a PAX, you’ll notice that there’s always a huge crowd around the Riot Games booth, and it’s largely because of the competitions going on there.

But what does it all mean, Bill?

It’s kind of simple really.  MOBAs are big.  They’re an offshoot of the MMORPG and RTS.  Our coverage of these games and their competitions is going to ramp up.  And that’s pretty much it.  We really hope you’ll engage in the same lively discussions as always, and more importantly we hope you’ll guide us in what topics you want to see covered.  Is there a game at the beginning of this article that I forgot to mention?  Is there one on the Game List that we’re missing?  Tell us.  As always, we’re trying to be a very community driven site here at MMORPG.com and at our two sister sites: RTSGuru and FPSGuru.    So if there’s something you want to share, please do so in the forums below or feel free to e-mail me at BillMurphy at MMORPG dot com.  We’re all ears.  And MOBAs?  They’re here to stay.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.

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Bill Murphy
Bill Murphy came on as a full time writer with MMORPG.com in 2010, his extensive knowledge of the genre and ability to turn a phrase have been a welcome addition to the MMORPG.com team.
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