If you don’t know what a MOBA is, you’re not alone. Short for ‘Multiplayer Online Battle Arena’, MOBA’s are a genre that has just started to blossom among the hardcore PC crowd. Pitting players against each other in a world populated by AI controlled minions, MOBA’s are known for demanding technical mastery and teamwork in order to come out on top of the highly competitive matches.
Many wonder how the genre will translate to consoles, though as one astute forum poster pointed out, people said the same thing about FPS titles once upon a time. Regardless, Guardians of Middle-Earth looks to forge ahead, bringing gamers a true MOBA experience set in the world of Lord of the Rings.
Some mechanics have understandably been tweaked in order to better suit the console environment. For instance, items will not be purchased in-game as your character gains points or gold. Instead, players will design an “item tree” before the match that will unlock as your character progresses. Without the need to grind for gold in the game’s early stages, and with three abilities unlocked from the onset, the early game (known as the “laneing phase”) should play out much faster than in their PC counterparts.
MOBA’s also tend to be heavy on single-target clicking. Knowing that this can be clunky and awkward with a controller, abilities are directional and area-of-effect (or point-blank area-of-effect) oriented. While these changes may make the hardcore DOTA fan cringe, they should translate well to the console based experience.
While Monolith hasn’t confirmed a complete roster for the game, there looks to be a good number of characters taken from Tolkien lore. As Peter Jackson’s film based on The Hobbit draws near, the game will see additional characters from that series in the form of DLC.
We’ve compiled a trio of videos that have been released since E3 earlier this year; one takes a look at the gameplay while the other two talk playable characters. Check them out below:
Gandalf and Gollum
Galadriel and Ugluk
There are still a lot of questions to ask. How well received the genre will be in the home console market? Can the game can stand as a legitimate entry in the traditionally closed-off community? Still, everything we’ve seen so far looks promising. The fact that the game will be a downloadable title through PSN and XBLA just makes it that much more exciting.
Look for Guardians of Middle-Earth to launch on those platforms later this year.Posted in Previews by Steve R Gibson on August 14, 2012