The term Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) first came into existence with the inception and recognition of the Defence of the Ancients mod of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft: Frozen Throne. That was just a mod of a game that gained such popularity that a cult formed around it and it was eventually picked up by Valve to make into a game of its own, a decision that miffed Blizzard to no extent.
The game that was created from that mod was called Dota 2 and was destined to become the biggest draw of the professional gaming world till date. Dota 2 has such popularity that its crowdfunded tournaments have become one of the highest paying in not just e-sports, but in the global sporting community, beating the likes of World Poker Series and even the NBA.
Now you may be wondering why I ramble on about a game that I am not even reviewing, but I feel that it’s important to understand where the concept of MOBA came before reviewing a game of the genre. And it was particularly because of this popularity of Dota that birthed games like League of Legends on PC, Mobile Legends, Vainglory and Arena of Valor on mobile.
Now, Arena of Valor is by no means a new game, but it is still a very relevant prospect among all the MOBA games on the mobile platform right now. The game comes from developers Tencent and has a very high rating on the Google Play Store besides having over half a million download.
Arena of Valor puts emphasis on its 5v5 mode which the classic MOBA genre and like any of the other games of the genre, offers a wide variety of heroes for players to pick and choose from.
The main menu shows all the important modes that are there to play and gives access to all the sections of the game as well. The biggest draw is the casual match, and its banner occupies the largest space on the main menu. And in the casual match section players get options to train or create a custom match or just play a normal player vs player game. While in this section players have the option again to choose between a 5v5 grand battle, a Valley Skirmish, Hook Wars, Abyssal Clash, Solo Battle or a Death Match.
But going by how the game is designed to focus on the 5v5 MOBA aspect, which is evident from the placement in the casual match as well as the Ranked game system. Like the other games, ranked games have tiers to it like Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond and Master. Honestly I found the competition in the lower ranks to be a bit of a joke. The opponents as well as the teammates turned out to be rather bad, but that is kind of the case in all MOBA games. The competition starts getting better in the middle ranks.
The heroes in the game seem diverse and well, frankly inspired from the popular characters of the most popular MOBAs. This again is the case with every other game of the genre and I admit it must get difficult thinking up new and unique things that a hero will be able to do. The inclusion of the DC characters like Batman, Superman and Joker seems rather interesting and seem fun to play with. Heroes are rotated and the designs seems pretty nice and so do the extra skins that can be bought. Though, the game could do with a larger pool of heroes.
Now, let’s come to the game experience, the controls are classic and there seem to be no apparent bugs that I encountered. Balanced games are competitive and no hero seems too overpowering. The towers go down rather quickly though which makes pushing easier and the vice versa as well.
The performance of the game seems stable and if the internet connection does not fluctuate, the experience does not suffer. Tencent has excellent servers in the South East Asia region and I encountered no lag that was server side. One of the helpful features that I found in the game is the option to display FPS which is not there in most other games of the genre.
The ingame screen displays all the relevant data and gives quick access to all the options that one might need to access. The item suggestion is clever and can be customized pre game, but the default one will do just well enough for beginners.
To sum up and give a verdict to the game, I have to say Arena of Valor is one of the better games of the MOBA genre on smartphones right now. Along with excellent graphics, good controls, and a very clean experience, Tencent seems to want to provide a unique experience for the gamers. This is evident from the addition of the DC characters. The only thing that one could point at as grounds for improvement, would be the hero pool, which could definitely do with more than the 52 heroes that are currently there. An excellent option for someone who wants to be introduced to the MOBA genre of games.