Arena of Heroes is a new free-to-play multiplayer online game that focuses on competitive, tactical gameplay. It is in the same vein of traditional MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena), but adds a new spin-off to the team-based battles with some key differences.
Arena of Heroes is set in the center of the Galaxy, where a giant metal dome preserving the greatest power of the universe is safely guarded by the elite group of Guardians. The guardians are tasked with training and controlling Heroes in constant battles in the Arena for fame, fortune and influence. As one of newly assigned guardians, you have fierce battles before you.
The game offers eight free Heroes you can choose from to make your four-member team. The game is all about one-on-one competition in turn-based battles. Once you are in, you can either invite an opponent or be auto-matched with a random player, then choose four heroes and finally go the battlefield. You and your opponent will deploy your own team simultaneously. Then battle begins.
Symmetric maps, the power-cores of two groups at each side, lanes with sentries and minions, leveling-up by kills, and the goal of destroying enemy’s base to win – all the basic elements are there. But it’s different experience in many ways because battle is turn-based. Two groups take turn to attack, Minion Turn in-between. In your turn, you have 3 minutes’ attacking time when you control heroes one by one, ordering them to move, attack or retreat. Both movement and attack consumes Action, which is gained by 3 points per turn. Therefore, compared to real-time battles, positioning here is as important as the hero skills.
Each hero has its own body type, weight, weapons, attack range, skills, etc., so that you can have a completely different experience every time you choose different team members. From melee fighters to archers, from cyborg to priest, the in-game heroes provide a variety of choices for you to make your ideal team, whether it is purely aggressive or versatile with balance.
Each hero has four different skills, ascending in power one after another and true to its own archetype, to use. The archer has the base one-shot, slightly more powerful poisoned shot, then a shot barrage from the air and finally the poisonous blast to take on all enemies around, for instance. Most heroes have their own area-of-effects skills that deal damages to all foes within attack range, regardless the shape being a cone, straight-line, loop or radius. Some heroes can grab enemies from afar to close blowing heavy hits, while some can assault enemies nearby while knocking them away after. And there are a lot other cool abilities – switch spots with one teammate while dealing damage to enemies in the way, suicidal flame attack that hurt both enemies and assaulter, group heal and so on. You may have your favorite types but you will have a lot fun with every hero.
The in-game map is small-sized, on which there are only three lanes with one stationary sentry each standing in the middle blocking enemies from the biggest power-core for each side. But small size of the map doesn’t lead to a quick, short match. In contrast, a battle sometime takes half an hour or more because of the turn, the limited move circle and attack range, as well as the recovery of dead heroes. It’s more like tug of war. Nevertheless, you will see the battlefront sliding from the middle to one side after several rounds and finally know to yourself whether you win or lose. There is the option of Surrender, humiliation for the losing side of course but really worth considering for the sake of saving time for both sides when there is not the possibility of turning the tide of war.
Besides the aforementioned Classic gameplay, there will also an Asynchronous mode with 3-days turn timer marked “coming April”. Currently, there is not much customization for heroes except the few Skins. And that’s another field with promised additions for later on. The present Beta version is downloadable for Windows and Mac, with iOS in the agenda.
In conclusion, Arena of Heroes offers a fun, solid strategic gameplay. It’s not the classic team-based, real-time MOBA you are probably familiar with, but it offers you a great team you are in total charge and relieves you from the pressure of being in a team. It’s more of a tactical game for single players instead of MOBA. Most importantly, it’s fun.
Update: Arena of Heroes is now adapted to an iOS version with the name of Arena of Heroes: MOBA. Now you can be played it on the go.