Trends come and go, and copying is abundant in the games industry. As soon as somone makes a hit game, everyone follows suit and steals the game's mechanics. Look no further than Halo 4. It took plenty of mechanics from Call of Duty because Call of Duty is a more popular game. I am not debating whether this made Halo 4 better or worse, but it is an undeniable fact.
The current trend, however, is creating MOBA games. I've never played them, heck, I don't even know what it stands for. As far as I can tell, people control a hero with special abilities and work as a team to destroy the other team's base. They do all of this while killing countless minions, earning gold, experience, and destorying towers.
There are two MOBA games that really stand out though, Leage of Legends and DOTA 2. I'm not sure how they are different, or why they are so good (I've heard DOTA 2 is punishingly difficult), but I'm curious why those two are so popular. Do people play DOTA and LoL above all other MOBA games because there simply aren't that many high quality MOBA games? Is it because not enough game companies have caught on to the trend and created MOBAs, or is there something unique about these two games?
I'm waiting for Activision to create a MOBA that draws millions of players away from DOTA 2 and LoL. What makes these two games specifically, better than the other MOBAs? I'm confused about this. Furthermore, why is the turnover rate so slow for MOBAs? How are people still content with LoL after all these years? It's been almost four years, and people are still playing it religiously. Are MOBAs more similar to MMOs than shooters? Why can't we keep the same Call of Duty for four years?
Perhaps it's a matter of economics? People buy champions and skins, so one could argue they would be reluctant to give them up, and would want to spend more time in an old game. This point, however, is not entirely correct. People buy skins in Call of Duty, yet they still buy the new version every year. So what is it about MOBAs that have people playing the same one years after release?
I can't pinpoint it, especially having never played one before. It seems that they are more like MMOs however, where the players expect the game to be there for years to come. Perhaps it is really just the players' mindsets; they know a new shooter is coming out the following year and they are trained to purchase it. If players don't purchase the new shooter, the community dies. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with playing an old game online; I would love to still play Halo 3, but the community is gone. If the community knows no one is leaving, then there is no need for players to jump ship. I only leave an online community (Halo 3, MW2) when it's dead. I hold on as long as I can until then to save money. If everyone has that mindset though, you don't have to migrate.
Hardcore MOBA fans likely got started with the original DOTA, which has been around for years. They were trained not to jump ship every year to a new game, so they carry along that tradition now, but who knows. What's your opinion?