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What is the Difference Between MOBA and Battle Royale Games?

What’s the Difference Between MOBA and Battle Royale Games?

Zach Cabading
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Battle royale and MOBA are two of the most popular types of PC games. Some of the most-played PC titles in history belong to one of the two genres, and they’re so popular and competitive that they’re often played in eSports competitions. But what exactly is the difference between battle royale and MOBA? And which one is a better game type for you? Let’s answer these pressing gaming questions.

What is a battle royale game?

A battle royale game is a video game in which there are a large number of players competing in a “last man standing” game mode. Think of it as a game mode that’s similar to the fight-to-the-death competitions in the movies The Hunger Games and Battle Royale. Let’s identify a few of the key elements of battle royale.

Gameplay

In most battle royale games, the player can’t respawn after they’ve been killed. Once you’re dead, you’re out of the game for good. This is a very important aspect of battle royale games because it’s what makes them so competitive, strategic, and exciting. Because it’s a single-elimination match, players can’t recklessly charge into gunfights and must rely on stealth and finding new equipment (“loot”) around the map.
Most battle royale games pit single players against one another, but there are some games, like Fortnite Battle Royale, that allow two-players teams to compete against one another.

Map

Battle royale maps are usually very big. In fact, maps are big so they can accommodate a large number of players. Also, so players can navigate the map without being seen by other players. Large maps encourage players to use stealth elements and it makes it more difficult to find hidden loot.
Battle royale maps have one distinctive feature: as the game progresses, the map shrinks. The shrinking map forces the remaining players into battle, and so the pace of the game escalates as it nears the finale. It also keeps the game from coming to a standstill when there are only a few remaining players dispersed across a large map.
In some games, players begin each match by parachuting out of an aircraft. Players can choose which part of the map they want to land in, which can be an important strategic decision. Do you want to land on a part of the map where there’s lots of loot, but more players fighting for it? Or do you want to land on the outskirts and engage in stealth-and-fortifications gameplay? Battle royale maps encourage players to employ whatever playing style they want.

What are the best battle royale games?

The two most popular battle royale games are PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and Fortnite Battle Royale. PUBG essentially made the battle royale game popular, but it wasn’t long before Fortnite Battle Royale came along to challenge its dominance.
If you enjoy PC games that go for a gritty military aesthetic, you’ll probably get the most enjoyment out of PUBG. There’s a raw intensity to the game because of the realistic and moody environment, and also because players must rely on stealth and collecting loot.
Fortnite Battle Royale offers a vibrant contrast, literally. The Fortnite graphics are more colorful and cartoony, which matches the game’s manic gameplay. What really differentiates Fortnite Battle Royale is that players are able to construct fortifications while you battle other players. You can build defensive structures to provide you with cover, or you can build ramps and stairways to reach higher elevations - a great tactical advantage.
Apex Legends is one of the newer battle royale games on the market and it’s free-to-play. It’s a spinoff of the Titanfall series, but you can’t hop in any giant Titan mechs in this game. A unique feature, though, is that the battle royale matches are squad-based so you’ll always be playing in a team of 3.

What is a MOBA game?

“MOBA” stands for “multiplayer online battle arena.” Sometimes MOBA games are referred to as “action real-time strategy.” In fact, the very first MOBA games were user-created mods (modifications) of real-time strategy games.
MOBA games utilize real-time strategy gameplay, but they eliminate resource collecting and army building so there’s more emphasis on battle tactics.

Gameplay

MOBA games are similar to RTS games in that:
  • There’s a top-down perspective
  • You control units of fighters
But unlike RTS games, MOBA games:
  • Don’t require you to spend time collecting resources and building armies, so gameplay is faster-paced
  • Require you to play as a single hero, instead of controlling vast units of soldiers
Heroes usually come with abilities that are tailored for:
  • Attacking
  • Defending
  • Healing/support
Players can pick a hero that’s best-suited for their preferred gameplay style.
Matches usually last for about 40 minutes and can be played between 2 players or 2 teams of players. Typically, the goal is to destroy the other player’s or team’s base, which is defended by enemy units and turrets. Players and teams must also defend their own base from attack and establish efficient fortifications.

Map

Most MOBA matches are played on a square map. One base is located on the southwest side of map, while the other base is located on the northeast side of the map. There are 3 “lanes” that run between each map: 1 central lane and 2 lanes that run alongside the borders of the map. The central lane is the shortest route to the enemy base, but it’s usually more fortified than the other 2 lanes.
Between each lane is an uncharted area where there may be valuable items to collect or neutral enemies to combat.

What are the best MOBA games?

The first MOBA games were developed from mods of StarCraft and Warcraft III. The Warcraft III mod, Defense of the Ancients (Dota) basically created the MOBA game as we know it today. The sequel, Dota 2, is still a hugely popular eSports game.
League of Legends is one of the most popular MOBA games ever released. While Dota was simply a mod of a pre-existing RTS game, League of Legends was developed exclusively as a standalone MOBA game, and there’s a huge amount of playable heroes with varying abilities.
Other popular MOBA games include Heroes of Newerth, Heroes of the Storm, and Smite.

Battle royale vs. MOBA: which one’s better?

If you enjoy first-person shooter games, you’ll probably enjoy battle royale games more because most battle royale games are shooters.
But if you enjoy point-and-click RPGs or real-time strategy games, you’re probably going to find more enjoyment with MOBA games.

What’s the best gaming computer for battle royale and MOBA games?

Both battle royale games and MOBA games feature a large number of players and AI units, so you’re going to need a gaming rig that has a top-notch processor. Battle royale games, in particular, have very large maps and so they require a graphics card that’s up to the task.
HP OMEN gaming computers are built to tackle processing-intensive PC games like battle royale and MOBA games. Our HP OMEN desktop PCs are fully customizable and you can choose which powerful processors and graphics cards you want included in your PC. If you enjoy gaming-on-the-go, check out our HP OMEN laptops, which are travel-ready but equipped with only the best gaming hardware and hardware ventilation that’s far superior to the standard laptop.

About the Author

Zach Cabading is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Zach is a content creation specialist based in Southern California, and creates a variety of content for the tech industry.

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