Entry 44 - MOBA + Building

Let's briefly summarize the main problem at hand: managing a complex entity like a "settlement" requires a significant flow of information, which is difficult to achieve in practice among players who are unfamiliar with each other.


To reduce this flow, we should resort to a time-honored practice: the division of responsibilities. Each player takes charge of one specific aspect of the overall team effort, fulfilling their role. To avoid conflicts, one person should handle resource management, while the others focus on their own character and the tasks assigned to them. In essence, one person on the team is essentially playing an RTS (Real-Time Strategy), managing all resource-related tasks, while the others play an RPG (Role-Playing Game), focusing on operational tasks. The most successful example of team-based combat among RPG heroes is the MOBA genre, which is why I decided to redesign my current gameplay as a blend of MOBA + Building.


I believe most players are familiar with the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) genre, but I'll briefly describe it just in case. In this genre, all players are divided into two teams. Each team has its own base where players can strengthen themselves and recover. Between the bases lies the battlefield where the main gameplay takes place. Each player controls their own hero. The goal is to destroy the opponent's base. Besides the heroes, the base itself actively contributes to achieving this goal. For defense, it uses towers that are present from the beginning and automatically shoot at any enemies within range. For offense, the base generates mobs that automatically march out to attack anything hostile. There are several predetermined paths (lanes) between the bases, along which the mobs travel and towers are placed.



In a MOBA, the base plays a significant role but operates automatically. Therefore, it makes sense to assign one player the role of managing the base. This player, whom I call the builder, should be the only one in each team with this role. The builder gathers resources, constructs and upgrades defensive towers, enhances mobs (and possibly controls them), and produces useful items for the heroes. Meanwhile, the heroes engage in battles, gain experience, level up, and enhance their abilities. Heroes also have different roles – some focus more on offense, some on defense, some on magic, and others on support. The only resource available to heroes is gold, which they earn in battles and can use to purchase upgrades. To avoid resource conflicts, each hero has their own individual wallet.


The gameplay for the builder and the heroes differs significantly. The builder focuses on resource collection and management, as well as overseeing the overall flow of the battle, while remaining relatively safe. The heroes engage in local skirmishes, concentrating on combat tactics. These roles are asymmetrical – is this good or bad? Initially, I saw only positives in this:

  • Such asymmetry will distinguish the game from other MOBA titles, which are numerous and often very similar to each other.
  • By blending genres, the game may attract a larger audience.
  • The game features gameplay familiar to a large number of MOBA genre fans, making it accessible to them with a low entry barrier.

Imagining how the matches will unfold, another example of a custom map came to mind, this time from another cult classic game, Half-Life – the map was called Natural Selection. In this mod, a very similar idea with asymmetrical roles is implemented – one player on the team focuses on base development, while the rest engage in combat. The battles, however, didn't take place in an RPG genre but rather in a first-person shooter genre. This mod was so popular that it even got a sequel in the form of a standalone game, Natural Selection 2. Interestingly, the asymmetry in this game was even more pronounced – not only did different players within one team engage in gameplay from different genres, but the teams themselves also differed significantly from each other.



Well, there's a new idea, new references for other games. This idea does not have the shortcomings that the previous idea had. We can move on!

Write a comment

Comments: 2
  • #1

    Kaezengamedev (Tuesday, 04 June 2024 22:33)

    I think the idea is very interesting, but have some reservations. One of the biggest complaints I have heard over other asymmetry games is 'i just want to play x role, not the others' MOBAS like league already struggle with a large majority of players not wanting to play non dps roles. I know many people in Evolve who would simply leave a lobby if they did not get to play as the monster.

    With this new idea you've got, you may potentially be appealing to a larger crowd by mixing different systems, but you are also going to potentially have issues filling out each team. If the gameplay between the builder and the other roles is too drastic/different. I could easily see people who want to play the game, but refuse to play other roles.

    I don't think this is necessarily a critical flaw in your idea, but I've seen it often enough in different games that I think it warrants consideration in the design process. There are ways the game can be built to make players feel good about each role, it to encourage players to play more than one role.

  • #2

    Artem (Wednesday, 05 June 2024 11:29)

    Kaezengamedev, you're absolutely right! That's exactly the conclusion I came to. But, unfortunately, much later. There is no asymmetry in the final version, but I want to talk about everything in order. With all the mistakes I've made.