Sophisticated like League of Legends, but on a tablet or smartphone: The Mobile-Moba Vainglory is especially popular with young players. An e-sports scene has also emerged. We were at the Spring Season final and talked to developers and pros.
Who needs a mouse and keyboard to play? The e-athletes of the mobile mobas Vainglory don’t: More than 100 times a minute the players tap on the touchscreen of their smartphone or tablet and try to farm gold, gain an advantage with ganks and destroy the base of their opponent, like in League of Legends and Dota 2. And like these two games, Vainglory also creates an active e-sport scene.
The special thing about it are the very young players. The youngest participant in the finals of the European Vainglory Championship Series was just 13 years old. We were at the tournament in Berlin and asked developers and professional players why very young players especially liked the game.
In principle, the developers of the Super Evil Megacorp wanted to transfer the gameplay from League of Legends to a mobile platform. The former developers of Rockstar, Riot Games and Blizzard observed that children and teenagers in particular played almost exclusively on smartphones or tablets: The idea for Vainglory was born.
“We had to make many big decisions to develop a Moba for a mobile platform,”
explains Q Wang, one of the founders of Super Evil Megacorp, in an interview with Golem.de. “We’ve set our sights on a game time of about 20 to 25 minutes, about half of a normal Moba game. That is from our view the shortest play time, in order to have nevertheless the important strategy phases in the play.
- Another difference to classic mobas is that a team consists of only three players.
- For a mobile platform, smaller teams make more sense.
- It’s also easier to play in a team with friends on the way to school, for example, says Wang.
- “On the road, you just get out your smartphone and have a little LAN party with your friends,” Wang says.
E-Sport came later
“At Vainglory, we left the e-sports aspect completely out of the equation. We just wanted to create a good game for the road,” Wang says in retrospect. But people would have suddenly started to record their game with a normal camera and upload it to Youtube. “We didn’t expect that. Nor that people suddenly organized small tournaments within the circle of friends.”
The developers liked the idea of a mobile e-sports scene. They added a Spectator mode to the game and started a small e-sports league in Germany that was very well received by the Vainglory community. A player who has been in the league since the beginning plays for Team SK Gaming. Arthur “Medic” Gentil played Vainglory only to relax from his medical studies. Since September 2015, he has been a full-time e-sports professional, the first of the scene. “When I first played the game, I was immediately thrilled. It played super intuitive,” he said in an interview with Golem.de. He hadn’t played another Moba before, like many Vainglory players.
The German player Alican “Greatkhali” Üzüm, who plays for the Mousesports team, had a similar situation. He had never owned a PC before. “I played mostly on my smartphone. That simply possesses as well as everyone, a PC against it not. I think that’s the reason why the game is so successful even among young people,” said the young e-athlete in an interview with Golem.de. With his 16 years he is not the youngest participant of the tournament, this is his British teammate Benedict “Mrkcool” Ward, who is only 13 years old.
Many young players
Vainglory has a very young player base, explains Q Wang.
“It’s just a generation thing. Children and teenagers don’t play on their PCs, they play on their smartphones. The developers profited a lot from the target group. “The young players are very creative when it comes to new tactics.