MOBA games have become extremely popular over the years, with their forerunners having several millions of players. The variety of these titles took an important part in increasing their own fanbases, which appreciate what is unique in the game of their choosing. Those games usually differ by their in-game worlds, their characters with individual sets of skills and the goals that players need to achieve. Control systems are what makes them alike.
MOBA games are fast-paced, so they require a great deal of concentration and commitment. The player must be entirely focused on what is happening on the screen. That’s why the controls should be as simple as possible - the fewer control keys, the less distraction from the on-screen action.
That is the reason why most of these games have become rather similar in their mechanics. Considering the limitation of controls, no game was able to introduce much (if any) innovation in its steering. That was one of our main challenges during Ignis: Duels of Wizards development. We wanted our game to be unique, to stand out from the crowd of MOBA games. But without meddling with the core of the genre we wouldn't be able to show anything fresh.
We’ve decided to break the rule of limiting the controls. Sure, players are controlling the wizards, but they are not only meant to simply choose spells and cast them until the enemy’s health bar runs dry. We also wanted them to come up with individual strategies, and we’ve given them the means to do so. The amount of damage that you can deal is not the sole factor deciding on the victory in a battle. During the duel you’ll need to set a strategy: you can either decide to summon support or dodge an incoming spell; when you’re wounded, you’ll need either to conjure a stone shield in front of you or cast a health regen spell. When playing most of the MOBA games players can rely only on the skills of their hero. We wanted to go further than that: we allowed our players to also modify the environment in the arena according to the strategy they have chosen or the situation they have found themselves in.
Rumour has it that the death of MOBA genre is slowly approaching, considering how many of the games released between 2010 and 2018 have already terminated their server support. We believe that it’s a mistaken prediction. Some of them were too similar to each other which resulted in a decrease of their player base - instead of playing two identical games, players chose the more popular one. This tendency made us draw conclusions which helped to shape Ignis in a different way. We have used familiar mechanics and combined them with unique and extraordinary skills, which makes the gameplay easy to learn but takes time to master. That way, the players will smoothly get acquainted with the flow of the game, they’ll still experience novelty and refreshment in the genre.
A popular genre still might be innovative. The MOBA gameplay is truly remarkable and resonates with a vast number of players, and even today it still hides many features to discover. It’s just the matter of the developers to hit upon a unique idea, not to repeat the well-worn ones.