[MOBA] Getting Kids Into Strategy Based Video Games


I've recently had the experience of playing League of Legends with a LAN Mobber by the name of soccershots.  He's new to the MOBA genre but loves the design of the game.  Loading into Summoner's Rift for the first time is quite the experience.  The music, the champion you were first drawn to awaiting your command, your strength compared to that of puny minions.  It's a whole new world.




The difference between a game like League and an RPG is that there aren't quests or story lines in MOBAs.  There may be lore, but your goal is clear-cut: Destroy the enemy base before the enemy destroys yours.  It's up to you to determine how this is accomplished.

I didn't recognize just how many little processes happen during the game.  Managing gold, trading, farming, team-fighting, controlling objectives are all incredibly important in a game of League.  I can't imagine not having any idea of how other champions function.  That's one of the first goals one has to reach in order to do well in a MOBA.  

Here I have Soccershots charging into the opposing tower trying to kill the enemy bots, not really sure why he keeps dying!  We get through minion control and understand that it's safe to walk up to the enemy tower if you have friendly minions to help.  The next challenge? Understanding that you can't fight enemy champions while under their tower.  The tower just disintegrates you and, once again, you wind up with a gray screen wondering what went wrong.  The process is a long one, one that goes beyond the innocent looking fantasy arena.  

There are plenty of people who give League players a lot of flack.  These are the people that think that playing a game with fantasy characters for hours on end is a waste of time.  These are the same people who don't see MOBAs like League for what they truly are: A giant game of chess with 100+ unique pieces, and just like chess, you need to know how the pieces work before you can create any meaningful strategy.  

I certainly don't have a good reason to suggest why a growing kid should play two hours of league instead of studying for the same amount of time.  What I will say is that if a kid is going to play video games anyways, MOBAs carry a unique depth that sets itself apart from most genres.  Every game is different but the field remains the same.  Your win conditions (the steps necessary to achieve victory) change based off of what pieces you have and what pieces the enemy has.  

It can be a healthy means of entertainment that leaves the player feeling satisfied and like they accomplished something alongside 4 other players.  Now, with the rise of eSports it's not uncommon for kids of all ages to find their way into the MOBA experience. 

 

Like anything competitive, it is not without its faults.  Nobody wants to lose, especially game after game.  Like any traditional competition, coming up short is not what we want to have happen.  There are plenty of videos supporting the fact that people get frustrated with the game.  The truth stands that we win and lose half of the games we play.  This, too, has it's silver lining.  Losing gives us insight into where we are fall short and how we can improve.  Carrying a learning attitude is something that goes beyond the game.  It helps us to look at situations more objectively and to problem solve more effectively.  

That about wraps it up!  I'll continue to play with soccershots whenever he comes in, in hopes that he'll become the next pro! You may find us streaming on our twitch channel so be sure to check us out there, too!  How do you feel about getting kids into MOBAs? Too big of a learning curve?  Think the community is too toxic?  Waste of time? Share your thoughts!
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