Let’s talk about MOBAs. Yeah, we know, “What the hell, more MOBAs?”. But these aren’t the MOBA games we all know about already – these are the upcoming MOBA games, those that are still very much under the radar at the time we’re making this top 10. Most of them are either under NDA or not playable at all. So don’t expect to see games like Dota 2, Infinite Crisis, Dawngate, Smite or Prime World here, among others, those are already in beta for a while and have been played to death by a lot of us.
Let’s talk about the rest, the MOBA games that are still fresh and, in some cases, deeply mysterious. Oh, and sometimes a MOBA really is a MOBA, no matter what other names the studio tries to give it. Here’s our Top 10 Upcoming Free MOBA Games 2014~2015.
10: SINS OF A DARK AGE
Some of you may see the hint in the Sins of a Dark Age name – this is a game from the makers of Sins of a Solar Empire, the acclaimed science fiction real-time strategy game. Sins of a Dark Age is entering a much more competitive battlefield though, so this medieval fantasy MOBA needs to bring its best game to make a stand. The closed beta is live at the moment and the quest system seems to be a favorite right now. The particular look is also different from the most, one that fans of classic RTS Age of Mythology will certainly appreciate.
9: PIRATES: TREASURE HUNTERS
Spanish studio Virtual Toys is working on a new free-to-play MOBA game titled Pirates: Treasure Hunters. Currently this game is only expected to launch in South Korea only, thanks to Netmarble. Pirates: Treasure Hunters features different kinds of pirates battling it out in lush settings. One of the big features of this game is the addition of vehicles, something that changes the gameplay entirely.
8: ENDWAR ONLINE
EndWar Online is a free-to-play episode from one of Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy franchises and is described as a next-gen browser game, a tagline that seems to be gaining a lot of popularity when it comes to marketing your game. While it’s being announced as a tactical multiplayer online arena, this just sounds like a fancy name for a MOBA, a label that many publishers are actively trying to avoid. Judging by a particular screenshot, you have three lanes and an enemy base to destroy, so how more MOBA can it get? Anyway, EndWar Online looks sharp, detailed and explosive.
Deadbreed hails from Sweden and from one ex-Just Cause developer. Expect plenty of creepy characters and grim scenarios to play in 3 versus 3 battles. The current selling point is the deep character customization, which will bring different gameplay styles to the arenas. There’s also a sentinel which will act as an endgame bossfight challenge. Nothing particularly new or groundbreaking, but it looks good and hopefully the customization will rank among the best of the genre.
6: DEAD ISLAND: EPIDEMIC
Dead Island Epidemic’s announcement was one of the most unexpected of 2013, but here it is, it’s real and we’re kinda interested in it. Not only because this MOBA, I mean, ZOMBA, is capable of bringing a refreshing change of setting – to a lush, inviting tropical paradise – but also due to the fact that development duties are on Stunlock Studios, the capable team that already brought us Bloodline Champions. And then there’s the cherry on top of this rotten cake, so to speak: three teams of four players each fighting between themselves while dealing with waves of AI-controlled zombies. There are also some bosses that will require all teams to cooperate, letting go of past offenses. All this labeled by the designers as PvPvPvE, which just sounds awesome to us!
5: MAGICKA: WIZARD WARS
Anyone who played the original Magicka knows just how crazy and ridiculously funny this indie game is. The idea of taking the original co-op fun to a PvP spin-off is a great one, since the spells and humor have enough potential to make a great MOBA, one that definitely brings some originality. Two teams of four wizards fight in extremely chaotic battles, all with friendly fire in effect, which will surely result in some laughs and the occasional crying. The amazing on-the-fly combination of effects to create new and surprising spells is definitely the highlight of this game.
4: TOTAL WAR: ARENA
What is there to say about Total War: Arena besides that it’s the first free-to-play chapter in the acclaimed Total War series and one that adds MOBA elements to the familiar realtime strategy? Not much. This game will feature 10 versus 10 battles, with each player controlling 3 units, each containing up to 500 men. And that’s everything so far. Certainly the largest scale MOBA yet, Arena just has to be great; otherwise, this awesome franchise will see its name sullied in an unnecessary way.
3: CORE MASTERS
Core Masters is coming to the West courtesy of Rockhippo, the Microvolts publisher. While this looks like just another MOBA, the core collecting mode should be enough to draw hordes of players to this game for quite some time. It’s a fun and very challenging mode where players collect cores and carry them around, killing other players to collect the cores they are carrying until they reach the match goal. While graphically Core Masters may look a lot like League of Legends, that doesn’t make it any less fun to play.
Strife is the new MOBA from S2 Games, makers of Heroes of Newerth. This is a studio at the top of its game and they’re confident enough to call Strife the premier second generation free-to-play MOBA. It begins on a high note by having all heroes unlocked and available to all players, something that is still a rarity in the genre. Strife also encourages teamwork and not competition among teammates, with a fair resource distribution. We would also like to highlight the desire of reducing the tedious tasks and the toxicity and flaming so familiar to the MOBA genre – you won’t be able to talk to enemy team players. A Karma system should help reward good and fair players, while punishing those who are usually… well, assholes. Strife may look familiar by the screenshots, but it’s the details and the studio’s experience that will make this game truly shine.
1: HEROES OF THE STORM
There are few things more exciting than getting such an amazing roster in one single game. Playing as Diablo, Kerrigan or Raynor, among others, is certainly something no respectful videogames fan would refuse. Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard’s take on the MOBA genre, something like the studio’s answer to Valve’s Dota 2 and all the mess that happened in the last few years. More than just a MOBA, Heroes of the Storm is a free-to-play team-based brawler with a few ideas that will surely tell it apart from other games, such as the in-depth customization or the battlegrounds with events that can be true game changers. If there’s one game to go against the colossal League of Legends and Dota 2, Heroes of the Storm is certainly that game.
So there you go, ten upcoming MOBAs different enough to please every fan of the genre, no matter what they’re looking for. Some of them will eventually crash and burn in the reckless free-to-play market, but a select few will thrive and challenge the current trinity of MOBAs: Dota 2, League of Legends and Smite. Let us know in the comments which are your favorites and why.