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I've lately heard the term Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) used as a video game genre. The Wikipedia entry redirects to the "Defense of the Ancients" genre, hinting that this is used exclusively to describe DotA-like games (e.g. creeps, lanes, heroes, towers etc. etc.)

However, I've also seen this term used to describe games that deviate further away from DotA (in my opinion) such as Monday Night Combat or Bloodline Champions (here's one source, though I've seen other places where these games are mentioned as MOBAs).

So, what exactly does MOBA mean? What are the characteristics of MOBA games?

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Been asking the same question since I started playing LoL –  camiloqp May 30 '11 at 15:40
    
Hmm, "Multiplayer Online Battle Arena" sounds like it would cover something like the multiplayer minigames in Dead Rising 2. –  Matthew Read May 30 '11 at 15:41
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It sounds like a catch all term turned genre to mark the popular gaming style that doesn't fall into RTS, MMORPG, or FPS. Has anyone referred to TF2 this way? Great question! –  Robb May 30 '11 at 15:44
    
@Robb - I think you have the right of it, though TF2 is strictly a class-based FPS. –  Raven Dreamer May 30 '11 at 16:24
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1 Answer

There is not a clear definition of MOBA out there, so let's define it.

MOBA is a genre definition for multi-player games where not only two parties struggle for resources or attack/defend, but each party/person is against all others in a confined space, therefore the term arena.

Battle arenas in real terms had a pre-defined resource collection: Multiple entry points for opponents, and spread out in the arena, weapons and shields.

Loosely defined, one can see it as a mixture of RTS/RPG and Free-for-all deathmatch, the emphasis is in some games on the former part (DoTA-type games) and in others on the latter (Monday Night Combat).

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+1 for "There is not a clear definition of MOBA". –  Raven Dreamer May 30 '11 at 16:23
    
Won't that also cover games such as Quake (in multiplayer mode) and Team Fortress? –  Oak May 30 '11 at 16:24
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Multiplayer shooters (Unreal Tournament, Quake, Battlefield Series, etc.) are too haeavy on the shooter side and don't need much battle strategy other than proper map control and timing. Team Fortress Arena mode, maybe. Still a bit weak on the resource management side. –  Bora May 30 '11 at 16:30
    
MOBA is just DoTA-type as far as I can tell. LoL like to call it MOBA rather than DoTA-type to build brand differentiation from DoTA2, etc. –  Nick Jul 24 '12 at 14:52
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