There aren’t many MOBAs on mobile devices. But here is Vainglory, an excellent, addictive example of a really great MOBA that you can play on mobile devices. (If you don’t know already, MOBA stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena.)
You start out Vainglory with a mandatory tutorial, which really helps you understand the game’s mechanics. Even if you are still confused after the tutorial, you can go to “The Academy,” which provides videos to help people new to the game and masters alike. Although real learning comes from hands-on experience, these tutorials help a lot.
Vainglory is similar to other MOBAs in that when you battle, you select a hero that you want to be. Each hero has a different class and set of abilities, and is largely different from any others. There are lots of different heroes to suit every player’s different play style. In Vainglory you can also buy character skins for certain characters, which look cool and reward you for grinding cards for a while in order to get them.
The actual Vainglory matches aren’t exactly combat-based. They are largely based on strategy. Different heroes play different roles – most of these depend on their class. For example, certain heroes that have high health points might protect the weaker heroes. Back to the point: in Vainglory battles you spawn on either the right or left side of what is called The Halcyon Fold. At the top of the map is “The Lane.” In The Lane there are several defensive automatic gun turrets that defend the two bases, and you need to destroy all the turrets. But don’t worry, your team of three players won’t fight alone. Near your team’s base, little guys called Minions spawn. Minions are great at distracting enemy players and defensive turrets. But tfurrets aren’t the only thing that you need to destroy to win the game. In each base, there is a large crystal called a Vain Crystal, and if your team destroys it you win the match. The Vain Crystal has very high durability and can only be harmed once all turrets have been destroyed. Some of the best moments of Vainglory are when you kill all of the opposing team, and then you charge in and destroy the enemy Vain Crystal just as the enemies re-spawn.
There is also what is called “The Jungle.” The Jungle is just below The Lane and it has monsters, an item shop, miners, and eventually a monstrous creature called The Kraken. You can kill monsters in the jungle for gold — the in-battle currency you use to buy items to give you special bonuses in battle — and xp to level up your hero. That xp only effects the level of your hero in that match. There are two types of miners in The Jungle. One is called a Minion Miner, and if you defeat one, or two, as there are two minion miners, your minions get a health and attack bonus. There is another type of miner that mines gold in the center of The Jungle. If you kill that miner, your team gets a lot of gold. The shop in The Jungle does not offer any special items, but is useful to grab an item fast and then return to battle. Eventually, the gold miner disappears and The Kraken takes its place. The Kraken is a huge creature that has high HP and high attack. Once you attack him, a bar appears above his head that says Capturing… and the more damage you deal the more the bar fills. Both teams can deal damage to The Kraken, but whichever team hits The Kraken with the final blow that fills it’s Capturing bar captures The Kraken. What the captured Kraken does is simple. It goes up and starts beating up the enemy turrets. In one battle mode in Vainglory, called Battle Royale, there is no Jungle, and only The Lane. In the other main battle mode, Standard, The Jungle is there. Some players, called Junglers, hang out in the Jungle, rack up their level, and occasionally come out and wreak havoc and set up ambushes.
Oh yeah, did I mention the guilds? You can join any guild you want, and each guild has a guild level, guild chat, and eventually a guild chest. The name of your guild also appears on your username in battle.
Vainglory is awesome. There is no doubt about it. And aside from the minor frustration when your team sucks and the other team is full of elite players, and you get creamed, Vainglory is a really good game.