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How would you innovate on stagnant genres - MOBAs

AeanderAeander Member LegendaryPosts: 6,086
edited November 2019 in General Gaming
So, I thought it would be fun to throw around ideas and desires for genres that have arguably stagnated - such as MMORPGs, MOBAs, ARPGs, etc. Each thread will be focused around a specific genre.

This one is focused around the MOBA - League of Legends, DotA, Smite, etc. This is a genre that essentially reached saturation point within a few years, before much major innovation could happen. The only successful shift being the creation of a third person subgenre.

If you were given full creative freedom and unlimited funding for a new game in this specific genre, what would you do?

My entry would focus on character creation

I would make the first real MOBA to use custom characters rather than preset ones. This game would take place in the third person perspective in order to fully capitalize on this.

Your character will be fully visually customizable, with race, gender, body type, hair, etc. options akin to a full RPG. It would also have multiple stages of visually customizable gear, but we'll get to that later. While cosmetics would be the main source of monetization, there would also be a substantial assortment of starting options and in game rewards.

Players would be able to slot any passive of their choice alongside any four active skills, with the following stipulations:

1) Skills are grouped into ultimate and regular skills. Only one ultimate per build.

2) Skills are grouped into categories such as Damage, Control, Survival, Mobility, and Support, and no more than two skills from any given category may be slotted.

3) Skills are grouped into families such as Water, Lightning, Earth, Psychic, etc. No more than two different families may be equipped on a single build.

Your build will also include an upgradeable weapon and an upgradeable armor that must be enhanced from its most basic form to its ultimate form every match. You will get to choose what the various stages of your weapon and armor look like as part of your character creation.

Builds can be swapped at will, for free, when you are not in a match. No part of building a character's abilities would ever be monetized, but unlocking more than a handful of character slots could be. You would also have multiple build template slots per character, and those not interested in buildcrafting would be able to import entire builds directly from an ingame library of player made and player rated meta builds.


The game would offer not only PvP modes, but also a substantial cooperative PvE component, with the main PvE mode being a tower defense horde mode. There would also be an ongoing story mode with central heroes and villains, with the potential for expansion packs that expand the story and offer new modes and PvE maps.

The PvE mode would add in long term character progression in the form of an expansive passive skill tree. It would work very much like Path of Exile's one.
Post edited by Aeander on

Comments

  • cameltosiscameltosis Member EpicPosts: 2,666
    Interesting topic! I never got into the sorts of MOBAs you are talking about so I don't have the experience to get too detailed about the subject. That said, here are a few ideas that I think would have made me more likely to get involved:


    1) Character creator - won't go into this much, but enough studies have shown that the more we're allowed to create/customise our characters, the greater the retention.

    2) Deep combat mechanics. It is my understanding that there is a deep meta-game to current MOBAs, but the actual experience in combat is pretty shallow, with just a few skills available for use at any given moment. This is the primary reason I couldn't get into the genre - the combat was shit. So, I'd like to implement deep combat mechanics. By deep, I mean that it must be difficult to decide what skill to use next. This means you must have a good amount of choice, and the impact of your choice must be meaningful. With only a few skills, the choice is easy and thus shallow.

    3) Persistent horizontal progression. These are PvP games, so you cannot allow players to gain more power over time, otherwise you kill the game (this is why pvp in mmos always sucks). But horizontal progression is perfect. So, let us earn XP over time, unlock more skills/gear/passives or whatever that give us more options, but not more power. This would give me a reason to keep coming back.

    4) 3rd Person / over the shoulder. If we're giving the players a character creator and lots of customisation, it makes sense to give them a much better point of view so they can connect better.

    5) Map / base building. Let players design their own maps, or maybe just their own bases or something. My base can only be used if I'm in the match, and I get some sort of bonus if we win, or penalty if we lose.

    6) More players! MOBAs always seemed to small-scale for my tastes. Small scale is fine for really competitive players, but for more casual players (or just for fun!) then more players works out better, as it takes the pressure off individual performance. So, lets have some 32v32 maps, or 100v100. The bigger the better as far as I'm concerned, just make sure there are a variety of options.

    7) Better IPs. Beyond the shit combat, this is one of the main reasons I didn't get into MOBAs. All the IPs looked shit, and the graphics style made them look worse. I just didn't feel any desire to spend time in those universes, I felt no connection to them whatsoever. Warhammer and Star Wars would be top of my list for preferred IPs.



    The tl;dr version of the above is "give me Warhammer: Age of Reckoning's Scenario's with long term horizontal progression and base building".

    Whether you'd still class that as a MOBA or not I don't know. It would clearly still be a multiplayer online battle arena game, but then so is CoD, Apex Legends etc and they don't get classified as such.
  • lahnmirlahnmir Member LegendaryPosts: 3,770
    Randomly generated maps, now that would be exciting.

    /Cheers,
    Lahnmir
    'the only way he could nail it any better is if he used a cross.'

    Kyleran on yours sincerely 


    'But there are many. You can play them entirely solo, and even offline. Also, you are wrong by default.'

    Ikcin in response to yours sincerely debating whether or not single-player offline MMOs exist...



    'This does not apply just to ED but SC or any other game. What they will get is Rebirth/X4, likely prettier but equally underwhelming and pointless. 

    It is incredibly difficult to design some meaningfull leg content that would fit a space ship game - simply because it is not a leg game.

    It is just huge resource waste....'

    Gdemami absolutely not being an armchair developer

  • lotrlorelotrlore Managing EditorMMORPG.COM Staff UncommonPosts: 215
    I LOVE this thread.
    Amathe
  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 17,990
    Well to start,an Arpg should not be using the letters rpg,it is NOTHING what an rpg should be.

    As for moba's,well just like an arpg we need to add more effort into the design and to be frank,that could go in many directions but basically ,show me a MUCH better effort.

    I feel with the tech we have right now any and all forms of rpg's should have housing,exploration,secrets to uncover,open world not instances.

    What all games using characters should have is in depth character customization.This does NOT mean visual sliders and it does NOT mean point spending or any idea revolving around gear,such as gem sockets.It should be strictly about the character/race.

    I need to see SKILLS and skill levels not player levels.

    NO ladders or bragging platforms because they give a FALSE impression as to why people are playing the game.I want games to be luring people in for the game play,not the ranking systems.

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • AmatheAmathe Member LegendaryPosts: 7,488
    Maybe make one a turn based card game. I dunno. Don't play them myself.
    AlBQuirky

    EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

  • TEKK3NTEKK3N Member RarePosts: 1,115
    Mobas aren't broken, unlike MMORPGs.
    They are the most profitable type of games.
    Why fix what isn't broken?
  • AeanderAeander Member LegendaryPosts: 6,086
    TEKK3N said:
    Mobas aren't broken, unlike MMORPGs.
    They are the most profitable type of games.
    Why fix what isn't broken?
    Three mobas are the most profitable. The rest, not so much. A stagnant market full of corpses and zombies is broken.

    Not unlike MMORPGs. But don't worry. They'll get a thread too.
    Gdemamikertin
  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid Member EpicPosts: 10,437
    I don't know, really. The three mobas i actually enjoyed for a while all shutdown. Dawngate, Infinite Crisis, and Paragon, and all three had unique mechanics that made them different from LoL, Dota and Hots which are just carbon copies of each other.

    The only thing i can think of on how to "innovate" or expand a moba is to add it as a game mode in a much bigger game.
    BruceYeeAlBQuirky




  • BruceYeeBruceYee Member EpicPosts: 1,995
    What someone with a lot of money should do is bring back two of THE BEST moba ever made Dawngate and Infinite Crisis. Maybe start a kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to license both games from their previous owners Turbine/WB & EA. After raising enough money convince them to allow a developer close to them to run both games aka keep games in maintenance mode for a certain amount of time depending on license arrangement.




    Gdemami
  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Member EpicPosts: 6,361
    Aeander said:
    TEKK3N said:
    Mobas aren't broken, unlike MMORPGs.
    They are the most profitable type of games.
    Why fix what isn't broken?
    Three mobas are the most profitable. The rest, not so much. A stagnant market full of corpses and zombies is broken.

    Not unlike MMORPGs. But don't worry. They'll get a thread too.
    Did those "dead ones" innovate? Or were they just terrible copies?

    I don't know as I don't play MOBAs.

    I thought MOBAs were perfect. Quick matches, little wait time, fast action, and cosmetic cash shop.
    Azaron_Nightblade

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR


  • AeanderAeander Member LegendaryPosts: 6,086
    edited November 2019
    I don't know, really. The three mobas i actually enjoyed for a while all shutdown. Dawngate, Infinite Crisis, and Paragon, and all three had unique mechanics that made them different from LoL, Dota and Hots which are just carbon copies of each other.

    The only thing i can think of on how to "innovate" or expand a moba is to add it as a game mode in a much bigger game.
    A genre in which Dawngate could fail is not what I'd call a healthy one.

    Infinite Crisis and Paragon had very minor changes, but later patches actively moved them closer to the LoL model.

    AlBQuirky said:
    Aeander said:
    TEKK3N said:
    Mobas aren't broken, unlike MMORPGs.
    They are the most profitable type of games.
    Why fix what isn't broken?
    Three mobas are the most profitable. The rest, not so much. A stagnant market full of corpses and zombies is broken.

    Not unlike MMORPGs. But don't worry. They'll get a thread too.
    Did those "dead ones" innovate? Or were they just terrible copies?

    I don't know as I don't play MOBAs.

    I thought MOBAs were perfect. Quick matches, little wait time, fast action, and cosmetic cash shop.
    Dawngate did indeed innovate. IMO, it was the best of its genre. But ultimately, League of Legends took a few of its innovations to improve its own warding and gold farming mechanics in Season 4. While Dawngate was shuttered by everyone's favorite publisher.
    Post edited by Aeander on
    AlBQuirky
  • XiaokiXiaoki Member RarePosts: 3,358
    AlBQuirky said:
    Aeander said:
    TEKK3N said:
    Mobas aren't broken, unlike MMORPGs.
    They are the most profitable type of games.
    Why fix what isn't broken?
    Three mobas are the most profitable. The rest, not so much. A stagnant market full of corpses and zombies is broken.

    Not unlike MMORPGs. But don't worry. They'll get a thread too.
    Did those "dead ones" innovate? Or were they just terrible copies?

    I don't know as I don't play MOBAs.

    I thought MOBAs were perfect. Quick matches, little wait time, fast action, and cosmetic cash shop.
    They were all terrible copies ....but with one new gimmick.

    You are not going to beat Dota 2 and LoL by being the same as them. HotS failed because it was the same as Dota 2 and LoL but with Blizzard characters.

    Something like Battleborn or Gigantic had the right idea in being completely different but the games just sucked hard. Unfortunately, their failures will be interpreted by publishers as going that route with MOBAs wont work either.

    Happened with MMORPGs when publishers tried to beat WoW by being WoW but with a gimmick and its happening now with Battle Royale games.
    AlBQuirky
  • AeanderAeander Member LegendaryPosts: 6,086
    edited November 2019
    Interesting topic! I never got into the sorts of MOBAs you are talking about so I don't have the experience to get too detailed about the subject. That said, here are a few ideas that I think would have made me more likely to get involved:


    1) Character creator - won't go into this much, but enough studies have shown that the more we're allowed to create/customise our characters, the greater the retention.

    2) Deep combat mechanics. It is my understanding that there is a deep meta-game to current MOBAs, but the actual experience in combat is pretty shallow, with just a few skills available for use at any given moment. This is the primary reason I couldn't get into the genre - the combat was shit. So, I'd like to implement deep combat mechanics. By deep, I mean that it must be difficult to decide what skill to use next. This means you must have a good amount of choice, and the impact of your choice must be meaningful. With only a few skills, the choice is easy and thus shallow.

    3) Persistent horizontal progression. These are PvP games, so you cannot allow players to gain more power over time, otherwise you kill the game (this is why pvp in mmos always sucks). But horizontal progression is perfect. So, let us earn XP over time, unlock more skills/gear/passives or whatever that give us more options, but not more power. This would give me a reason to keep coming back.

    4) 3rd Person / over the shoulder. If we're giving the players a character creator and lots of customisation, it makes sense to give them a much better point of view so they can connect better.

    5) Map / base building. Let players design their own maps, or maybe just their own bases or something. My base can only be used if I'm in the match, and I get some sort of bonus if we win, or penalty if we lose.

    6) More players! MOBAs always seemed to small-scale for my tastes. Small scale is fine for really competitive players, but for more casual players (or just for fun!) then more players works out better, as it takes the pressure off individual performance. So, lets have some 32v32 maps, or 100v100. The bigger the better as far as I'm concerned, just make sure there are a variety of options.

    7) Better IPs. Beyond the shit combat, this is one of the main reasons I didn't get into MOBAs. All the IPs looked shit, and the graphics style made them look worse. I just didn't feel any desire to spend time in those universes, I felt no connection to them whatsoever. Warhammer and Star Wars would be top of my list for preferred IPs.



    The tl;dr version of the above is "give me Warhammer: Age of Reckoning's Scenario's with long term horizontal progression and base building".

    Whether you'd still class that as a MOBA or not I don't know. It would clearly still be a multiplayer online battle arena game, but then so is CoD, Apex Legends etc and they don't get classified as such.
    As far as deeper combat mechanics go, I'm not sure if a larger skill bar is the best option. Much of what makes these games appealing, ironically perhaps, is the limited resources available to you. Each one of those cooldowns is a major resource to be used wisely. Ideally, you'd want to make the act of attacking more engaging.

    Smite/Paragon have a bit of this with third person shooting for ranged heroes.

    Melee heroes could do with a rudimentary combo system combining light and strong attacks in order to achieve different attacks with different functions. Like Dynasty Warriors, but with combos that start with Strong Attacks as well, not just Light Attack openers.
    Post edited by Aeander on
  • kertinkertin Member UncommonPosts: 252
    I don't think any MOBA can beat League of Legends and Dota 2, they are just so superior...just unbeatable games for many years and for many future years i pretty much believe...even HotS and Smite were pretty bad compared to those 2, good games overall but so bad at the same time comparing it to what LoL and dota brings...
    If you've never played league or dota, just do it, i'd even recomment dota 2 cause there are lots of slow boomers on this site so it's ideal, dota 2 is harder to master but it's gameplay is very slow indeed whit mostly point click abilites, so ideal for slower reflexes unlike league where you need to be actually very quick and precise with so many skillshots
    Aeander
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