Best MOBA Games of All Time

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Since their first introduction, MOBAs have become instant favorites. These titles merge everything we like about video games: fast-paced action, team coordination, and utilizing wits and reflexes to prevail over the opponents.

Unlike some other genres, there haven’t been that many MOBAs. Simply put, these games are extremely hard to pull off. While map design is pretty straightforward, and you can live with subpar graphics, developers usually struggle to create heroes and items and properly balance them.

Furthermore, some of the games are simply not fun enough to attract enough players, which is why they perish rather quickly.

Key Info Up Front

MOBA stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. In these games, two teams pinned against each other are trying to accomplish a certain goal that would win them a match. MOBAs require a high degree of coordination with teammates and a solid strategy.

MOBA Basics

MOBA titles are very straightforward in terms of their goals. Commonly, you have to destroy the main enemy structure to win the game. Teams usually consist of 5 players, each with a specific role. The best examples of MOBAs are League of Legends and Dota. While both of them have alternate mods and events, most players will focus on the original map and basic All Pick mode.

The reason why these games don’t become stale over time is due to their numerous characters. Every now and then, developers would introduce new heroes or change the old ones keeping things fresh. These alterations often affect how the game is being played. Every patch has an optimal hero pool and strategy so, by the time a patch becomes boring, developers will introduce something new with an upcoming patch.

The majority of these games have a leveling system. As you kill automatically generated opponents, you will gain gold and experience. Each new level provides several options for building a hero. In that sense, characters in MOBAs are the same as characters in RPGs.

Again, similar to RPGs, gold is used to buy new items. This allows for fine-tuning and customization as most MOBAs have a wide range of objects you can collect. An interesting thing about these games is that most players will buy items that benefit the whole team and not just their hero.

Titles such as Heroes of the Storm, Dota, and League of Legends have a laning system. There are paths leading to and from your base. Waves of automatically generated allies will walk on them as they head to meet NPCs from the opponents’ team. Every now and then, there will be a tower on the path protecting against these units.

At the end of these roads, there are structures called barracks or inhibitors from which the units spawn from. By destroying them, you get stronger versions of minions, which will help your overall ability to attack the enemy base.

Best MOBA Games of All Time

Here are some of the best MOBAs ever created. The list is made based on the overall impact they had on the genre.



Dota is the first MOBA ever made. It was a mode for Warcraft 3 that gained enormous popularity, becoming the main reason why people launched Warcraft client long after its heydays. The mode was released in 2003, and it was called Defense of the Ancients, which later on became DOTA.

The game changed a lot over time and had numerous iterations. As it was an open-source map, a lot of modders would tinker with it creating their own versions. Its final form was DotA Allstars, released on February 3rd, 2004.

Given that MOBAs didn’t exist at that time, the creators of the game had to experiment a lot and try different things. The map, the system, the heroes; every single thing in the game had its fair share of modifications and alterations.

One thing that always remained the same was the basic map structure. You had one base in the bottom left corner and the second one in the top right corner. Three lanes would lead to the other base, which we up to this day refer to as Top Lane, Bottom Lane (or bot lane), and Middle Lane (or mid lane). There was also a river running in the middle of the map, from the upper left corner to the bottom right corner.

Creators quickly realized how difficult it is to balance these games. Some of the versions of Dota were simply absurd, where certain heroes would have complete dominance. It took years and numerous patches for the game to be truly playable.

As the mod became more polished, the first competitive teams started to emerge. The competitive scene started around 2004-2005, but like with everything else, it took years for it to take shape.

The title was pretty revolutionary for the time. It has shown us that game mods can gain a life of their own. The game was completely free from the start, and numerous players would take advantage of piracy to play Dota without ever paying for Warcraft 3 discs. Even when other MOBAs hit the market (such as League of Legends and Dota 2), Dota 1 still existed and was regularly updated.

Heroes had 3 basic spells that you can upgrade to level 4 and one ultimate spell that you can level 3 times. The ultimate spell was available at hero level 6, and it would provide a major boost. A hero could potentially reach level 25 and have 6 slots for items.

League of Legends

League of Legends

League of Legends is a MOBA that launched video game developers Riot to stardom. It was released on October 27th, 2009. The title was inspired by Dota 1, but it also had lots of new, cool features and updated graphics.

League of Legends or LoL features 140 champions. All of them can be classified into assassins, fighters, mages, marksmen, supports, tanks. By combining specific roles and champion archetypes, you can create a well-balanced team that can deal with almost any enemy composition.

The game was, for the most part, free. As such, it represents one of the first serious titles by a gaming company that you didn’t have to pay for. This was a big deal at the time because there was a handful of free games on the market, most of which were not worth playing.

League of Legends changed all of that by creating a payment system where you didn’t actually have to pay anything. Each week, you had a rotation of 10 new heroes that you could enjoy. Otherwise, they were locked, and you had to wait for their turn in the rotation so you could play them.

Heroes (in League of Legends referred to as “champions”) could be unlocked by getting enough Riot points. If you’re impatient, you also have an option to purchase these points. So, by playing for enough hours, you could basically unlock all the content in the game.

In Dota 1, magic casters would lose their potency as the game went on. They didn’t have the ability to improve their overall damage, unlike physical fighters, who could become stronger by investing in physical damage items.

League of Legends changed this with the introduction of AD and AP. AD refers to attack damage, while AP is ability power. Basically, AD is used when you auto-attack with a hero and when you use certain physical abilities. AP is meant to improve your magic damage. As you have items that increase AP, you can become every bit as potent in the late game with a spellcaster as you would with a traditional fighter.

Another new feature that League of Legends gave us is the summoner spells. These are abilities that are not connected to a particular champion. Before a match starts, you can choose two summoner spells from a list of 12. This provides additional modifications to the hero.

Lastly, I would like to mention passive abilities. Besides 3 spells and 1 ultimate, each champion has a passive ability that is an important part of his kit. A champion can get to level 18.

Heroes of Newerth

Heroes of Newerth

Heroes of Newerth is a game that came between League of Legends and Dota 2. It was released on May 12th, 2010, by S2 Games. While League of Legends was only inspired by Dota 1, Heroes of Newerth was more of a spiritual successor replicating or slightly altering Dota 1 heroes and items.

While the game experienced major success and had a big player base at its peak, it was plagued by several issues. First off, you had to purchase the discs, being on a backfoot compared to League of Legends, which was free. It is worth noting that the developers changed this after some time, making the game free-to-play on July 29th, 2011. Similar to League of Legends, you had a rotation of 15 heroes, and you could purchase the rest by playing the game and getting coins.

Heroes of Newerth was released one year later after League of Legends, giving the latter enough time to make an impact within the community. League of Legends had a very aggressive marketing strategy so, by the time HoN hit the shelves, they were already dominating several markets.

Nevertheless, players loyal to Dota 1 would gravitate more to Heroes of Newerth than to League of Legends. A lot of professional Dota 1 gamers would transition to this title but, this transition was only a temporary one as most of them were eventually lured to Dota 2 due to its enormous prize pools.

Heroes of Newerth had updated graphics compared to Dota 1, and the game felt much smoother. The introduction of new heroes made the game exciting and fresh, but, at the same time, you could fall back on all the good things from its predecessor.

The game had a total of 139 heroes, each with a specific role. They are classified as solo, jungle, carry, support, initiator, ganker, and pusher. Like in Dota 1 and Dota 2, these characters could be further classified based on their primary attribute as strength, agility, and intelligence heroes. The maximum hero level is 25.

Dota 2

Dota 2

If Heroes of Newerth was almost the same as Dota 1, Dota 2 is its carbon copy. Designed by one of the people behind Dota 1, IceFrog, the game was an instant hit. It was developed and published by Valve Corporation, and for the longest time, it was associated with the company’s gaming platform – Steam.

Dota 2 has 121 heroes ensuring there is always enough content to experiment with. We can classify all the characters in several archetypes, including carries, nukers, initiators, disablers, durable, escape, support, pusher, and jungler. They also vary in terms of complexity, and some of them require months and months of continuous gameplay to master.

Like all previously mentioned titles, Dota 2 is a very competitive game. The tensions often run high, sometimes causing stress to the players. Nevertheless, the feeling you have after winning a tight match is superb.

One significant difference between this title and League of Legends is that Dota 2 games tend to be much longer. Some of them can last for an hour or more, keeping the participants glued to their monitors. In fact, this makes it one of the most exhausting competitive titles.

Dota 2 International is the holy grail of esports. The inaugural event was back in 2011, and it changed how we view electronic sports. It had a total prize pool of 1.6 million, which was unheard of at the time. As time went by, the prizes went up mostly due to the success of virtual transactions. Nowadays, the tournament is mostly sponsored by fans who contribute to more than 95% of the prize pool.

While the game was initially the same as Dota 1, and the company did its best to replicate the old heroes, they did introduce a lot of changes over time. Throughout the patches, some of the heroes were completely altered. Besides changing their basic stats, the company would remove certain spells from the game.

One of the biggest improvements came with the introduction of the talent system. At certain levels (10, 15, 20, and 25), players can pick between two talents that would further improve their hero. Most of these talents are meant to alter your skills, adding features to them. As such, the talent tree provided extra customization options.

We also cannot forget neutral items. Back in the day, when you killed woods creeps, you would only get gold and experience. Nowadays, you also have the chance of getting neutral items. These objects go in a special slot, you can carry just one, and they are shared between the teammates.

A hero can get to level 30.



Smite is an often-overlooked title. While the game has a lot of advantages and plays differently from Dota 2 and League of Legends, it never managed to reach their cult status.

The game was published by Hi-Rez Studios and had its official Windows release on March 25th, 2014. In the subsequent years, the game became available on Xbox One, Play Station 4, and Nintendo Switch.

The most interesting thing about the game is that you play as a god. The developers used numerous historical and current gods for inspiration. In fact, this has even led to some controversies and pushback from religious groups. Similar to League of Legends and Dota 2, the game has more than 100 playable characters and a very vivid competitive scene.

Unlike its predecessors, Smite has a behind-the-back view. It isn’t top-down like other MOBAs, which gives the game a completely different feeling. Like other titles within the genre, you gain gold and experience by killing computer-generated units enemy heroes and by taking certain objectives. Experience is used for leveling up skills (maximum level is 20) and for purchasing items.

All gods are categorized into 5 groups: assassins, hunters, warriors, guardians, and mages. Another thing that separates the title is its vast amount of game modes. You can choose between conquest, joust, clash, siege and duel siege, assault, and arena.

While the game has received favorable scores from critics, it is plagued by numerous issues. A lot of players are dissatisfied with bugs and other in-game problems. So much so that Smite can occasionally feel unplayable. Some players also criticize its freemium system.

Like League of Legends, you need to play the game to unlock new gods, or you can instantly purchase them for real cash. However, the players often cite that you can never accrue all the gods this way, and instead, you would have to eventually pay to get them all.

Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard’s attempt to penetrate the MOBA scene. The game was released on June 2, 2015. Unfortunately, by the time it came out, there were too many established titles on the market, and there wasn’t a real need for another MOBA. Despite that, the game still managed to gain large followership, especially among Blizzard fanatics.

A thing that is really cool about this game is that you can play as one of the numerous heroes from Blizzard’s universe. Most of them are from Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo, but you can also go with Overwatch and Nexus classes.

You can play as a tank, bruiser, support, healer, ranged assassin, and melee assassin. Each hero has 3 basic abilities, a passive ability and a heroic ability (similar to Dota 2 ultimate ability). However, unlike other games, you can choose between one of two heroics that will affect your overall gameplay. This single choice can completely alter the dynamic of the game.

Heroes of the Storm have some of the best customization options in MOBAs due to the talent tree. At levels 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, and 20, you can choose talents that can alter the existing abilities. In theory, the game allows you unlimited tinkering. This was especially noticeable in professional games, where you can always surprise the opponents with your choices.

The game has the same business model as Smite and League of Legends. Initially, you have a few heroes available, and you can permanently unlock more of them as you enjoy the game. Alternatively, you can unlock them by paying money. Of course, there are numerous other cosmetics you can buy.

At this moment in time, Heroes of the Storm is in a funky limbo. The game has discontinued its competitive scene, but people can still play it. The servers are active, and the company continuously pumps out new content.



Vainglory was released on November 16, 2014, on iOS. In the later years, it was made available on Android, Windows, and Mac. The game was made by Super Evil Megacorp, and according to many reviewers, it was far ahead of its time.

Vainglory had a very unique concept for that time. In the niche that was dominated by microtransactions, the developers managed to create a title that was very fun and wasn’t “pay-to-win.” Instead, you could get new heroes by simply playing the game.

For a mobile game, it has a very sophisticated design, characters, and levels. You could control the action with two index fingers, and you didn’t have to hold the device while playing. Among others, you could see a larger portion of the map compared to some similar titles where vision was reduced by the games’ poor design.

Another thing that set Vainglory apart is that it had just one lane and a jungle section below it. You could play 3v3, which made for much more dynamic matches. In fact, the majority of games would end in 10 minutes, with longer matches lasting up to 20, 30. The long laning phase was removed, and players would focus on team engagements early on.

The heroes were very interesting, and you could categorize them as junglers, roamers, and laners. There was a total of 56 heroes, which could take up to 3 abilities and upgrade them via technology tree.

A really cool feature in Vainglory was the jungle boss called Gold Miner. He spawns at a 5-minute mark, and the longer he is alive, the more gold you will get once you finally kill him. At 15 minutes, he is replaced by Kraken, a massive monster that can only be taken down by the whole team. But, once you kill the Kraken, he will accompany your team in an attempt to destroy the enemy base, often providing a decisive advantage over the enemies.

Arena of Valor

Arena of Valor

Arena of Valor is a game produced by Tencent, a company that has acquired Riot Games in 2015. Tencent wanted to have a good mobile MOBA that would rival Vainglory, the only mobile game within the genre.

This title was made to resemble League of Legends, a game that attained major success by the time Arena of Valor was launched. The hero types are carbon copies of League of Legends. You can play as an assassin, fighter, mage, marksman, support, or tank.

In order to unlock heroes, you can grind gold and gems or purchase vouchers for real money. You have a ranked matchmaking system that allows you to compete against other players. In fact, the game has a really solid esports scene, a rarity for mobile titles. For example, the latest AIC 2021 tournament featured a prize pool of a million dollars.

Unlike most other games, you don’t have the standard item shop in your base. Instead, you make purchases by clicking on an icon placed to the left of your screen. So, when you buy something, it will instantly be placed in your inventory without having to revisit the base to equip it.

What’s very interesting about this title is that you always start from the bottom left, regardless of the team. So, you will always attack in the same direction, which might take some adjusting, too (if you played other MOBAs, that is).

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang

Mobile Legends Bang Bang

Mobile Legends became notorious as a League of Legends knock-off. The game was published and developed by Moonton on 14th July 2016. By that time, you already had a few interesting mobile MOBAs, such as the previously mentioned Vainglory and Arena of Valor.

Due to numerous similarities to League of Legends, Riot filed a lawsuit against Moonton in July 2016. Unfortunately for LoL creators, the lawsuit was dismissed. Since then, Moonton made strives to alter the game so that the two titles wouldn’t resemble each other.

The game has a whopping 112 heroes to choose from. The developers relied heavily on local legends and folklore to increase the popularity of the title. You can choose characters such as Lapu Lapu, Badang, Nyai Roro Kidul, and many others, which have a major cultural significance in certain parts of the world.

Even in terms of roles, Mobile Legends are completely the same as League of Legends. All heroes are categorized as marksmen, assassins, tanks, supports, mages, and fighters. Each hero has a passive, two basic skills, and an ultimate skill.



Awesomenauts is a breath of fresh air within the genre. Initially released on May 2, 2012, by Ronimo Games, the title went through numerous changes over time.

One thing that instantly separates this game from other MOBAs is its colorful design. In fact, it is probably the most visually appealing title within the genre. Unlike League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, and Dota 2, this game is set in a 2D environment. The lanes are actually placed on different platforms, and you can access them by jumping up and down.

The game is very fast-paced, and a lot of matches will be over within 10 minutes. Each team has 3 heroes on their side. There are also health and gold pickups on the map.

Awesomenauts featured 19 characters categorized in 5 unique roles: assassin, fighter, tank, support, and harasser. Each one of them has access to 4 skills.

Due to the nature of the game, it wouldn’t make sense for players to buy standard items like in other MOBAs. Instead, gold is used to purchase direct character upgrades from the shop. There is a total of 24 upgrades separated into 4 rows. The first two rows improve Awesomenauts’ skills. The third one improves auto-attacks, while the fourth one is for utility.

The first three rows are unique, while the 4th-row upgrades are commonly the same for all Awesomenauts. A player can take 3 upgrades per row, for a total of 12 upgrades.


Question: What is the No. 1 MOBA Game?

Answer: According to various stats, League of Legends is the best MOBA ever. It has the largest player pool and enormous viewership. However, in terms of online reviews and event prize pools, Dota 2 is the better game.

Question: Should I Play LoL or Dota?

Answer: No matter which title you start playing, you will likely have a lot of fun. League of Legends has faster games and is easier to pick up, while Dota 2 is preferred by gamers looking for a challenge.

Question: Why are MOBAs so Addictive?

Answer: People love MOBA titles because of their competitive nature. Matches can have an enormous impact on our hormones and emotions, which is why winning a long, close game can be such a thrilling experience.

Best MOBA Games of All Time: Last Considerations

MOBA titles have completely changed the gaming industry, especially esports. They are very fast, dynamic, and require great team coordination. You can play titles such as League of Legends and Dota 2 for months without scratching their surface.

What makes it even better is that the developers are continuously improving their respective games. Their main goal is to keep these titles fresh, which is why MOBAs introduce new heroes and items every once in a while.

If you’re looking for a real challenge and want to dedicate yourself to a game, try Dota 2 or League of Legends. You won’t be disappointed!

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