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How to Create a MOBA Game in a saturated market

The MOBA genre is quite unique as it presents you with a team-based action adventure with a pinch of RPG elements like leveling or gearing on top of showing everything in the RTS format. If you are interested in the genre and want to know how to create a MOBA game, then you will find this blog entry helpful.

What is MOBA, and how to create a MOBA game?

MOBA stands for “Multiplayer Online Battle Arena,” the genre that offers a unique session battle experience on special mirrored maps. In such titles, the gameplay is based on two main principles: leveling/gearing up your characters and killing enemy heroes that protect the base, destroying which is the ultimate goal of each match. Join Argentics’ lead designer, an avid fan of MOBAs, who will explain what this genre is all about and why it is so popular these days.

A quick history of MOBA

Many gamers think that the progenitor of this genre was a mod for Warcraft III, but they are wrong. In reality, MOBA is a grandson of Herzog Zwei, an RTS released in 1989. The key difference between it and all modern MOBAs is that the player has full control of all characters, not just one.

Herzog Zwei had zero turn-based elements forcing two players to act simultaneously. So the success of any mission largely depends on the decision-making speed. Each opponent has a central base and a hybrid transformer plane capable of transporting military equipment and attacking the enemy forces. An important building to protect, a “hero” to control, units marching to destroy opponent’s defenses – any MOBA fan already sees the similarities.

The modern MOBA game concept emerged after the mod called Defense of the Ancients had been created. It all started with the release of the legendary RTS Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos by Blizzard Entertainment in 2002. The strategy had a tool for making custom maps – Warcraft III World Editor – that attracted many modders to experiment with the game. One of them was Eul, who took a popular StarCraft map Aeon of Strife, and remade it within Warcraft III. Little did he know that he was making a MOBA. In the new version of the map, characters could level up, upgrade their abilities, use various equipment bought from vendors, and so on. The map was called Defense of the Ancients or just DotA.

The concept of DotA is a battle of two teams with five unique characters on each side. As a player, you need to control your hero, level them up, farm gold to buy new equipment and consumables, kill players from the opposing team, and ultimately destroy their stronghold. Apart from human-controlled heroes, the three lanes on the map are flooded with creeps (cannon fodder NPCs). These creeps march the lanes and attack enemy structures and characters. It is the main source of XP and gold in every MOBA game. Experienced players understand how to utilize creeps to their advantage and advance with minimal losses towards the main base that is protected by towers at certain locations on the lane.

Why is the MOBA genre so popular?

MOBA games offer a truly unique experience, a mix of real-time strategy and action-adventure, but if you dig deeper, there are other reasons why audiences of all ages love this genre.


This is one of the main competitive advantages of MOBAs. While you cannot get a new shiny PC or console title without spending $60 or more, nothing stops you from downloading a MOBA game to see how it plays. If it is not your poison, then just delete it from your drive for good. Or continue playing for free if you enjoy it.

Easy to start

It takes a few minutes to get into the main mechanics and rules, and you are good to go. Sure, mastering any competitive game takes years of practice, but not everyone aims to be a cyber-athlete. MOBA games are perfect time-killers as they don’t require regular gaming sessions and spending hours on them. It is a nice choice to pass the time after a long day at school or work.

Constant development

In order to stay relevant and interesting for the audience, MOBA games have to evolve and bring something new to the table. While the core gameplay elements remain the same, the developers create new characters with original abilities, organize events, and add new equipment and other content to feast on.

Gameplay variety

Modern MOBAs know how to make every battle exciting: different character picks, enemy hero bans, various equipment combinations, and so on. There is no such thing as a matchup in most games. If you have more than a hundred characters to choose from, calculate the number of unique team compositions for 5v5 battles, and you will be amazed. Battle experience also depends on the synergy between chosen champions, tactics, meta-strategy for the game, and pure skill, of course. That is why each new game is different from the previous.

Notable MOBAs

Professional and casual players alike love MOBAs for the greatest PVP experiences out there. But not all of them are worth your attention. So we have brought together a shortlist of the best games in the genre that we have played and can recommend trying.

League of Legends

If you are looking for the classic MOBA experience, then League of Legends is what you need. Traditional three lanes, five roles, and ten players are key components of the recipe for the world’s most popular MOBA. Although the game is 13 years old, the developers from Riot Games are doing their best to keep it fresh and enjoyable.

LoL now boasts an incredible 159 playable champions, literally thousands of skins, and cosmetic items. The game mechanics have been carefully refined year on year to keep addiction levels high. League of Legends is easy to learn but making your way up to master's ranks is incredibly hard. We believe these components make LoL the best MOBA game for the majority of players.


Every genre has a beginning, and MOBAs began with Defense of the Ancients as you already know. DotA is the story of a truly creative mod for Warcraft III that was eventually reborn years later as a fully-fledged sequel by Valve. Just like League of Legends, DotA 2 is a titan of the genre though they are two different birds.

For instance, Valve’s game has more game modes and features a bunch of extra mechanics, such as the ability to call down items to your lane via a courier or killing your own minions to deny the enemy gold and experience. On top of that, DotA’s item systems are much deeper which makes it the most complex MOBA on the market. Years of updates made this game polished and exciting for both playing and watching.

Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard’s answer to the MOBA genre is far more accessible than DotA or LoL. HotS is stripped from unnecessary stuff like runes and equipment systems instead of providing you with a linear talent tree. It super flexible and easy-to-use mechanic that won’t require careful planning or strategic preparation, so it is kinda another MOBA game type.

There is a multitude of maps in Heroes of the Storm with different objectives. The main goal – destroying the enemy’s base – is always the same but completing objectives gives you an upper hand in the battle. For example, how about summoning an aggressive giant that will smash his way through the opponent’s defenses?

League of Ancients

It is a Mobile MOBA NFT inspired by League of Legends and DotA2. LoA combines free-to-play mechanics with play-to-earn, which means that players can profit by playing the game or selling in-game items. League of Ancients features three game modes: standard match, NFT battle, and tournaments. Take it as classic unranked games for practice, a season of competitive play, and a tourney with prizes, respectively. The prize for winners is LOA tokens. The game is not ready yet – it is in the early stages of developing NFT and LOA tokens. The open beta is expected this summer. The release is scheduled for the 4th quarter of 2022.

League of Legends: Wild Rift

So you want to play League of Legends on the couch or on the go? Riot Games has got you covered with their latest title – Wild Rift! It is almost impossible to believe that a complex MOBA can be packed neatly to work on mobile devices comfortably. But somehow, they managed it. The developers have made tons of adjustments to make the game feel natural on a new platform. Easy ability management, gold looting without last hits, and minor reworks for some abilities – other than that, it is still good ol’ LoL.

Find the right developer to create a MOBA

Such games might look simple and easy to produce, but don’t get fooled by this perception. Making a MOBA requires just as many skilled developers as any other big multiplayer title. Here are just a few examples of what you need in it:
  • Character/environment/props/UI designs;
  • Basic and advanced AI programming;
  • Basic and complex animations;
  • Pathfinding calculation algorithms;
  • Sound design;
  • And much more.
To maintain the order in the development, you will also need good managers with gamedev experience. So as you see, a MOBA project can be rather difficult and even touch the territory of AAA titles. That is why you might want to work with a studio that will take control of all the things to be done. Argentics specializes in such project development providing all necessary expertise in any department you might need. If you’re making a MOBA or just planning to do it, feel free to reach out and consult with our specialists to figure out how we can be of service to each other!
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