19th Oct, 2013By Softmints

Reviews: (lane-pushing games from an era gone by)
Game Design: (analysis of the mechanics and principles of making good mobas)
  • Armours and Resistances: An assessment of the use of both armour types and resistance tables across mobas.
  • Three Paths to Victory: A brief look at arcade game Killer Queen and how it implements multiple victory conditions.
  • Alternate Victory Conditions: The derivation of what distinguishes lane-pushing games from general mobas, and how this knowledge can be used to construct cohesive non-standard victory conditions.
  • MTQ: A breakdown of lane-pushing games using decision-making psychology and chess analogies.
  • Drafting Without Bans: A look at how drafting unfolds, as well as how we might remove banning while maintaining an interesting draft.
  • Equipments: A broad overview of the incremental bonuses which augment heroes over the course of a match.
  • Ability Resources: The pros and cons of mana, energy, and pure-cooldown heroes.
  • Beating the Odds: Why do mobas still use random number generation? What would a moba look like without it?

Interviews: (the people behind the maps)
Further Reading: (other game-design resources worth checking out)
  • Sirlin.net: Some great insight into many facets of multiplayer game design and balance, by David Sirlin. The Multiplayer Game Balance series and Playing to Win book are must-reads.
  • Why Dota Sucks: A provocatively titled series which aims to expose many of the weaknesses of the lane-pushing genre, written by game critic Michael Lowell. This is difficult and sometimes uncomfortable material, but is also well-researched and thorough. Anyone seriously looking to educate themselves about lane-pushing games should invest the time to read it properly.
  • Nome's Wisdom: An old design blog by game designer Richard Liu during his days working on Heroes of Newerth. Offers interesting insight into the commercial hero creation process.
  • From Masher to Master: Chapter 1: Patrick Miller writes a very detailed examination of arcade fighter games, and how the various characters form different twists on a core skeleton of gameplay.
  • The Geography of the MOBA Map: A feature piece by Josh Calixto about map layouts in commercial mobas, and how various staple genre features evolved. I was interviewed as part of it.
  • Reddit AMA with Neichus: A pleasant Q&A session in which one of the developers behind DotA Allstars describes his experiences working on the map.