The Best MOBA Games of 2021

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Looking for the best MOBAs to sink into? Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games, or MOBAs, make up for a huge chunk of the gaming community despite originally being born as a custom map. The MOBA genre first came to light with the release of Starcraft's custom map, Aeon of Strife, but that was quickly overshadowed by the rise of a new mod for Warcraft III, Defense of the Ancients, also known as DOTA. Since then, the genre has come a long way and made a significant impact on the esports scene. Be it DOTA 2's The International and its staggering $40 million prize pool or League of Legends World Championship and its exquisite production, MOBAs have been dominating esports for quite a while.

However, learning about everything that's available in a respective MOBA game can be extremely time-consuming and even a little painful towards the beginning. Let's face it, no one likes getting stomped on by a bunch of smurfs during the early days of trying to learn a game.

We've rounded up the five best MOBAs to keep you busy for a long time to come with (mostly) minimal frustration.

Artwork for League of Legends: Wild Rift featuring Jinx
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League of Legends: Wild Rift

League of Legends: Wild Rift is available on Android and iOS devices and currently in Open Beta, but it's still worth your time and doesn't disappoint when it comes to in-game mechanics and visuals. Although the game is currently available only for mobile devices, Riot Games has confirmed that a console version of the game is under development and will be released soon.

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It is highly expected that Wild Rift's global launch will be accompanied by the release of the console edition and it could be happening sometime during 2022. Wild Rift is essentially the full PC version of the regular LoL game, but in mobile format, and it's must-play for anyone who loves the MOBA genre.

Artwork for Vainglory featuring Kestrel, the archer
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Vainglory

Dubbed as the "no-compromise cross-platform MOBA," Vainglory features fairly complex mechanics even on mobile platforms. Available on both iOS and Android devices, this game allows you to experience some of the most intricate micromechanics, such as last-hitting creeps for gold and ensuring proper movement with the character-rotation rates, and other, deeper mechanics that make MOBA games so much more fun.

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Vainglory supports cross-platform, thus making it an ideal choice for you to play with your friends if they don't share the same mobile platform as you. Then there's the massive pool of characters and items that you can choose from to diversify your in-game experience. Vainglory is definitely one of the games that every MOBA fanatic needs to try at least once.

Trainers with their Pokemon, including Pikachu and Wigglytuff, head into a Pokemon Unite stadium
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Pokemon Unite

Pokemon Unite features some of the beloved creatures from the Pokemon universe, although the game doesn't follow the traditional type rules established by trainers It's an authentic MOBA experience that's perfect for genre newcomers and a chance to use your favorite Pokemon in a completely new way.

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Players can upgrade and also modify the abilities present for each Pokemon in order to adapt according to the needs of the respective match. While there are in-game items, such as potions and stat-boosting items, your choice of Pokemon skills is ultimately what matters the most. Additionally, the game is designed on the Unity engine, making it an extremely smooth experience for you to enjoy without worrying too much about stuttering visuals or frame drops.

Artwork for League of Legends featuring Lux
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League of Legends

Designed by Riot Games with the help of Steve "Guinsoo" Feak, one of the modders who worked on the Defense of the Ancients mod, League of Legends was the first standalone MOBA title to be released in 2009. Although the game is only available on PC, LoL is one of the most popular MOBAs worldwide.

It's well designed in many ways, but League of Legends' focus on macro aspects of MOBA heavily outweighs its emphasis on the microelements of the game. Riot Games also maintains a regular update cycle for the game to ensure that the in-game experience doesn't become too monotonous for players.

The release of Arcane on Netflix has also created quite a buzz around the game, and this is arguably the best time for new players to join the game along with everyone else who's getting directed from the series.

Artwork for DOTA 2 featuring Juggernaut, Storm Spirit, Windranger, and several other heroes from the game.
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DOTA 2

DOTA 2 makes it to the top of the chart as the best MOBA title of the year for several reasons. Apart from the intricate and complex mechanics that the game has to offer for genre veterans, Valve has also stepped up its efforts to make the game more enjoyable for everyone.

On top of continuously improving the in-game experience and visual aspects, Valve has been focused on presenting new content regularly, with a steady flow of updates. 2021 saw the release of two separate Battle Passes with a wealth of additional cosmetics and visual modifiers to unlock. Leaving that aside, DOTA 2 arguably features the toughest and most complex gameplay that any MOBA title has to offer.

Additionally, the release of Dragon's Blood on Netflix has also created hype surrounding several popular in-game characters. Considering all of these factors, DOTA 2 is the ultimate MOBA to play for anyone who wishes to experience the toughest challenge that this genre has to offer.

The official announcement from Heroes of Newerth regarding the permanent shutting down of game servers.
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Honourable Mention - Heroes of Newerth

Developed by S2 Games and released in 2010, Heroes of Newerth has been around for over a decade and is undoubtedly one of the most iconic MOBA games to ever exist. However, the game eventually started falling from its grace, eventually coming out to a position where the servers are scheduled to be permanently shut down.

However, before the game shuts down forever on June 20, 2022, the developers have decided to allow players to make a few more memories in HoN. Apart from boosted resources, there will also be a bunch of farewell events to celebrate the game's tenure as well as to thank the community for one last time before shutting the servers forever.