MOBAs and Approachability

How Blizzard borrows from real sports to make their eSport more approachable.

What makes a sport (any sport, not just an eSport) approachable? Why has basketball spread around the world, whereas only a few countries know what a game of cricket even looks like. Obviously, there are a huge number of factors. Amongst them, as one of the key factors, must be approachability. People play basketball because all you need is a couple of people, a ball, and something to shoot into. The rules are easy; get the ball in the basket. Most baskets, wins. Cricket needs bats, a ball, stumps, a few more people and an understanding of a rule set that goes from quirky to outright weird.

So, my theory must be that basketball is more popular because it is more instantly approachable and, therefore, attracts more players. Which sounds great, until you look at eSports like MOBAs and RTSs which, as someone new to the eSports scene like me can tell you, are much more like cricket than basketball. They are a hive of jargon, complex rules and hardcore fans.


Which is why Blizzard’s approach to the MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, intrigues me. I’d heard that Blizzard wanted to make MOBAs a little less terrifying and a little more inclusive. As a sports fan it was fascinating to experience how, when playing my first few games, similar playing Heroes felt to picking up and learning a new sport.

HotS, possibly unintentionally, seems to me to share much of its DNA with basketball. It is these parallels I want to explore.

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First Draft of First Room

It’s been a while since my last update, but my floating prison has been looming all the while. I’ve made a number of changes, all of which has pushed the design forward considerably.

The aim of the most recent changes is to get the first room into a state where it is, in a first draft state, complete. That way I can copy it twice to make the other two rooms of my three room level. Each will serve as an identical base which can be tweaked to fit the tone of the game and the narrative, as required.

First off, this meant upgrading the textures and and lighting. In a prison it would make sense that each section of the building be constructed in the same way, with the same materials, so covering each wall was just a matter of choosing a believable texture for a floating building. You can’t overstate the feel good moment that comes after the last blue and grey polygon has disappeared from your draft!

Alt angle - 1st draft

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