Mobile gaming, the two words that’ll make any serious gamer scoff in disgust and drive the phrase “Mobile Gaming isn’t real gaming” from their guts. While this may have been true 5 even 4 years ago, the technology and power inside our phones has developed rapidly to the point of being on the same graphical level as mobile gaming devices.
Vainglory Is probably the first incarnation of a true competitive mobile game, in the MOBA genre anyway. Players who are familiar with League of Legends, DOTA 2 or Heroes of the Storm will find peace in the layout and mechanics of Vainglory as they are distinctly similar and play to the stereotypes of what a MOBA game is, but brilliantly adapted to a handheld device.
Competitive play is often ruined by toxic players, this is true in League of Legends where players largely go unpunished and In ranked situations where players leave matches, it effects both quality of play, but also the rate In which a player can rank up. Vainglory has a brilliant system in place for game AFK / leavers. If you find a team member has left the battle, the two remaining players can instantly surrender the match. This loss does not impact the rank of the losing players and gives the leaving player a deserter queue time increase to each match, increasing if they continue to leave games.
What we are actually seeing with Vainglory is a bit more of a divide in terms of ages and this carries across to competitive play where some of the team members are 16 rather than the average of 20. This is because of the gaming background of each generation, with younger gamers being more mobile native and less bias towards mobile gaming in general. Kristian Segerstrale who is the COO of Super Evil Megacorp (developers and publisher behind Vainglory) has mentioned that some of the games pro’s are only 14 years of age.
The main map for Vainglory is known as the “Halcyon Fold” and is played left to right or right to left depending on what team you’re on, with minion waves leading out and other monsters appearing around the 45 second mark. Early game is all about farming but as players approach mid – late game the focus shifts onto the Kraken, a boss type creature that lurks in the centre of the map, making his first appearance around the 15 minute mark. For a mobile game, it’s surprisingly beautiful and the content rich area of play certainly gives the game an authentic feel.
Compared to games like Overwatch, there are actually a sizable amount of characters to choose from in Vainglory, although avid MOBA fans may spot some questionable rip offs of LoL champions. With assassin types characters like Taka and Kosha that are great at isolating the enemy, inflicting massive burst damage or Protector type characters like Lance or Phinn who “tank” the incoming damage and set up kills for the other two players.
With your character chosen it’s up to you and the rest of your team to decide who will be playing what positions. In vainglory there are 3 positions.
Each position requires a specific build / item choices to match creating a diverse team.
So, what do we think?
Competitively Vainglory is gaining attention and well known teams such as Team SoloMid and SK Gaming have trained up pro teams. To have these successful teams attached to the game, it really goes to show how relevant Vainglory is as a MOBA and an Esports.
Vainglory is paving the way for a more diversity in Esports, it’s about time we saw a mobile friendly competitive game. However, one of the things that may be Vainglory’s undoing is audience. The reason League of Legends is so fully fleshed out is because they have a massive audience size, meaning the demand for new champions, new skins is a lot higher and the developers can fit the need because of the income generated for the game.
Because the game is limited to IOS and Android devices, there is a massive market being missed out on, but in hindsight, it’s the fact that the game is exclusively mobile that it can compete with the big names who are unable to spread across platforms because of the way the games have been built. Overall a very well crafted game to twiddle your thumbs at until your heart’s content.