First things first: I’m terrible at Defense of the Ancients. At the time that I was playing Warcraft 3 online, I just wasn’t that interested in competing with other players. DotA was big enough that it spawned an entire genre of games, evidenced by follow-the-leader and spiritual successor games, like League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth. I support the genre because I like the idea, I just don’t happen to like how any one developer has implemented the ideas thus far.

In Defense of the Ancients and other games in the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre (note that one of the earliest examples is a Starcraft map called Aeon of Strife that has since faded into obscurity) give you a map, a huge list of pre-generated characters to choose from, and a side to fight for. It’s sort of an RTS approach to the fighting game genre. Most entries in this genre have lame excuses or stories for why the characters are fighting each other. Not unlike fighting games, players in the MOBA genre have a reputation for being a bunch of unfun jerks.

I’m not a huge fan of the fighting game genre, so it’s another one that I support without necessarily participating in. What I really do appreciate out of both these genres, though, is the amazing diversity in character types that emerges. You get some truly bizarre tech/arts/magic/alien/etc. combinations when it comes to fighting game characters, and with MOBA games, you get some really interesting cooperative strategies among players. Maybe it’s the accompanying metagame and all its intricacies that fascinates me. Maybe it’s the rules and mechanical interactions, the character and level designs, I don’t know. I steal ideas from games in these genres all the time. :D