If you're new here, you might like to check the Reading List, which introduces some of the important concepts on this site.
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  • How to Make Objective Timings More Intuitive

    26th Oct, 2018By Softmints7 minutes

    I want to draw attention to one of the most interesting developments we've seen in the last five years of lane-pushing game design: the battlefield of Korean studio Nexon's recent lane-pushing game Ascendant One. It's a sphere.

    This sci-fi themed game takes place on a planet: an actual 3D planet! There are six lanes which run from north to south, with bases at the poles. Gameplay takes place on the half of the planet that is "sunny" at any given time.

  • How DotA is Getting Deeper

    25th Aug, 2018By Softmints11 minutes

    Three years ago, Dota2 finally broke away from maintaining parity with DotA Allstars, and started to explore new horizons under the continued stewardship of its lead developer Icefrog. Moving to a new platform is an exciting thing, and being on the source engine has opened up "infinite" possibilities for what Dota2 could become.

  • How To Make a 6v6 MOBA

    16th May, 2018By Softmints6 minutes

    I was recently asked about 6v6 in mobas. What an interesting topic! There aren't any commercial lane-pushing games which use 6v6 as a serious/primary game mode, probably because there's no reason to mess with what's tried-and-true in your big-budget production.

    In this article I want to explore how 6v6 could be done right. Lets dive right in!

  • Armours and Resistances

    10th Jan, 2017By Softmints9 minutes

    The moba genre has largely settled on an equilibrium with two armour types: Physical Armour and Magical Armour. Why is this the case, and could expanding the use of armours or resistances lead to greater complexity and depth?

    In this discussion we're focusing on armour types and resistances that players interact with. The rules that decide how much damage a ranged troop deals to a catapult are "environmental tuning", and aren't the focus of this article.

  • Alternate Victory Conditions

    30th Jul, 2015By Softmints6 minutes

    Just about every commercial MOBA shares the same victory condition of "destroy the enemy base". Isn't there anything that could be done to introduce some variety?

    Before we begin, the word MOBA is used more inclusively by some people than others, so for clarification we need to divide the answer into two cases: lane-pushing games, and arenas.

  • MTQ: Strategy Lessons from a Chess Grandmaster

    26th Feb, 2015By Softmints11 minutes

    I have recently been reading a book called How Life Imitates Chess by former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, in which he describes strategic analysis and decision-making as he has learned them in chess, and relates how the same techniques are applicable to decision-making in other areas of life.

  • Cherry Pick: Competitive Drafting Without Bans

    22nd May, 2014By Softmints5 minutes

    I'm sure most of you are familiar with the concept of drafting, the pre-match ritual in which players negotiate the characters that will be in-play during a match. Typical drafting phases consist of an alternating sequence of picks and bans. I've listed the drafting sequence for several commercial games below. There's some variation, but they're all pretty similar:

  • In this article, I'd like to introduce a broad classification of gameplay elements which I find useful when describing a lane-pushing game.

    As players progress through a match, they have the option of outfitting their hero with various long-term bonuses. I collectively refer to these bonuses as equipment. Each type of equipment has a maximum number of slots, and a variety of things which can be equipped to these slots.

  • Ability Resources

    20th Oct, 2013By Softmints2 minutes

    This article is about ability resources: a type of mechanic which a moba designer can use to direct when a player should use their hero's abilities.

    If an ability is free, a player will use it in every situation where it is beneficial (or at least, more beneficial than attacking, which is also free). It is usually more elegant to make this kind of ability passive or toggled.