Whatever you want to call Total War: Arena, don’t get it confused with Dota, League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth and their ilk.
The acronym MOBA stands for “multiplayer online battle arena”, and was promoted by League of Legends developer Riot in place of the more familiar “Dota clone”. But The Creative Assembly wants fans to know that Total: War Arena is not just another
“This is not a MOBA-game. It’s not a DOTA clone,” lead multiplayer designer Gabor Beressy told Eurogamer.
“How do you define a MOBA game? If you just say it’s a multiplayer online battle arena, yes, it is. But it is Total War, so it’s not a DOTA 2 clone. We’re not going to have lanes and creeps and towers.”
Lead designer James Russell admits that MOBA is the best word for the kind of game Total War: Arena is.
“We definitely think the concept of a MOBA, the multiplayer online battle arena game, is what this is, but generally when people say MOBA they mean DOTA clone or League of Legends clone, and that is not what we are,” he said.
“Some people would call this an MMO, and it is an MMO in that it is massively multiplayer and it is online only. So yeah, you could call it an MMO. MOBA should be an appropriate term, but it’s been taken over to mean something else. We could say this is a Total War MOBA, and then when they’re playing it people would go, ‘No it’s not!’ But it is an appropriate acronym. It is a mutiplayer, online, battle arena.”
Total War: Arena is a free-to-play effort announced at GDC. It gives players just three units to play with, as opposed to the 20 a core Total War game might front, but aims to provide a similar on-the-field commander experience.
Players command units based on history’s greatest leaders, beginning with ancient cultures and later adding more time periods for an ultimate cross-history showdown. Units used in battle earn upgrades and customisations which make them moe effective, and microtransactions offer accelerators for those who haven’t got time to grind.
The next core Total War game is Rome 2, due later this year on PC; the team hinted that Arena beta access may be included in the purchase price.