Top 5 Free MOBA Games
The Multiplayer Online Battle Arena – affectionately known as the MOBA – is perhaps the hottest genre in gaming right now. It’s the genre that supports professional players across the globe, with thousands waiting in the wings for their shots at glory. It’s also a genre that is by and large made up of free to play games. Sure, you can spend thousands on the game if you want to see everything, but all it takes is an e-mail address and a little bit of time to get all the basics. There are dozens of games in this genre, but these really stand out above the rest. Let’s take a quick look at the best of the best.
League of Legends
Talking about MOBAs without talking about League is nigh-on impossible. This might not have been the first real MOBA, but it’s definitely the biggest game in the genre right now. Its unique heroes, fast-paced gaming, and absolutely horrible community are all the stuff of gaming legend. League has really made a name for itself by its continuous attempts to keep the game moving forward and the developer’s relationship with players. It’s certainly not an easy game to get into by any means, but it’s one that has kept players intrigued for years.
League’s famed toxicity belies the fact that this game caters to many types of gamers. You can certainly try to go pro, but there are plenty of players who just like to mess around with the game. There’s something in here for everyone.
Download here: League of Legends
DOTA 2 is an odd game if you think about it. Yes, it’s probably the direct successor to the biggest of the original MOBA game mods, but its slightly later release date made it feel like it cribbed from games like League. It’s also a sequel in number only – this game is far different than the original Defense of the Ancients. It’s also incredibly popular and successful, largely thanks to having the juggernaut of Valve behind it. It’s also got an incredibly toxic fanbase, made all the worse by the highly-competitive nature of the game.
It’s that competitive nature that really makes DOTA 2 stand out. There’s something of a feeling that the vast majority of players think they can go pro. This means you’ll see a higher quality of play in this game than in most others. It’s not for everyone, but it’s nice to know people take the game seriously.
Download here: DOTA 2
Heroes of the Storm
The MOBA genre really got its start when modders started playing around with Blizzard’s Warcraft 3. It’s only natural, then, that Blizzard would enter this arena with its own game. A relatively recent arrival that has morphed into its second iteration, HOTS features characters from across Blizzard’s many franchises. The main draw is getting to play around with characters players already love, but there’s a solid MOBA underneath the fanservice. The game also tends to be a bit faster and a little more friendly, making it a good choice for casual players.
Heroes is also a great game to play if you like to synergize between your various Blizzard games. There are always events going on, some of which unlock gear in World of Warcraft or card backs in Hearthstone. It’s a nice bonus for people who are already heavily invested in Blizzard’s games.
Download here: Heroes of the Storm
Smite took the MOBA to a place in which it had limited success early on – consoles. The god-based game allows players to take on the role of a number of mythical deities in a MOBA style that is a little simpler and faster paced than most of the games in the genre. While it’s hard to say that it stands up to the leaders in the field, it’s absolutely the best representation of the genre on consoles. If you’re looking to play a MOBA with a controller, this is the one at which you should be looking.
Smite is also known for having a particularly friendly community. In any other genre, that would hopefully be a given. In the world of MOBAs, though, that’s a rare treat. The game is gaining traction as it goes on, so it’s hopeful that the good attitude of the community will eventually pay off.
Download here: Smite
Heroes of Newerth
One would think that Heroes of Newerth would be the dominant force in the MOBA field. This is, after all, a genre in which people get very attached to their games. Premiering way back in 2010 (and in development since 2005), it’s among the oldest entries in the genre. Plus, it’s one of the most technically complex, requiring a level of play that puts even the leaders of the pack to shame. The age (and the original pay-to-play model) do hold the game back a bit, as does a community that demands perfection. It’s a great game if you can get into it, but the learning curve is much higher than in any of the other entries.
Download here: Heroes of Newerth
If you want to play a MOBA, you’ll probably find something you like in one of the five above. Whether you’re looking for friendly competition, a bit of fanservice, or just some highly-technical gameplay, there’s something to be found here. While there are certainly many more also-rans in the MOBA world, you can’t go wrong by playing one of these five.