When you ask people what the best MOBA game is, they will usually only give you two answers: Dota 2 or League of Legends.
While both of those titles have amassed huge followings, this is not to say that there aren’t any new and enticing contenders.
What is MOBA?
Before I begin, I assume that most people who are reading this article might already have an idea what a MOBA game is, but for those people that still do not have an inkling what this means, then read ahead.
MOBA is just an acronym that stands for ‘Multiplayer Online Battle Arena’. As the name implies, you are teamed up with 4 or 5 other players and you need to battle it out against the opposing team.
The premise of this genre is simple: Get your characters strong enough to go to the enemy’s base and destroy a certain structure.
In Dota 2, for example, you start out as a level 1 character and once you start leveling up, some skills will be made available to you.
Each time you kill an enemy- may it be some ‘creeps’ (regular enemies) or heroes (player character), you will gain both experience and money- the latter of which you can use to buy items that can help boost stats and improve your character’s potential.
Depending on the game, there is usually a boss character that is situated somewhere in the middle of the battlefield. This boss character will drop some loot that you can use to your team’s advantage. This also means that you have to make sure that the enemy team doesn’t get to it first, otherwise they will have the upper hand.
While Dota 2 is quite enjoyable, it is not for everyone since a typical match would last at least 45 minutes (some can go for 2 hours or more).
Now that you now have a basic idea of what a MOBA game is, I will now talk about the best ones that you can find on the PC.
Best MOBA Games on PC
I think it should go without saying that Dota 2 is still the best MOBA game on PC in 2020. This game’s origins are actually pretty incredible.
Dota is just an acronym that stands for ‘Defense of the Ancients’ and by ‘Ancients’, the term is used to refer to the specific structures that are placed inside your base and the enemy’s base and the team that destroys the opposing group’s ancient structure first wins the entire game.
This whole thing started back when Warcraft III began. You see, the said game has a custom map editor that you can use to create a map of your own. That means that you not only have control over the terrain but you also have control over the things that are going to be utilized on your own map.
IceFrog, the original creator of the Dota custom map in the Warcraft 3 era, started with a couple of heroes and a rather basic map. The premise is simple: Get your team’s characters strong enough to invade the enemy base and destroy its ancient structure.
The idea at that time was novel but it has certainly won the hearts of many people. Since then, Valve (Steam) bought the rights to the said custom map from IceFrog, and then Dota 2 was born.
At the time of writing this article, Dota 2 now has 111 heroes to choose from, so you basically have the option to choose which one you really like to learn the most.
There are microtransactions available in the game, but you do not have to worry about it since real money can be used only to buy cosmetic items (or things that can help change the look of your chosen avatar).
One of its main advantages is, sadly, one of this game’s disadvantages as well. You see, you have plenty of characters to choose from, which means that if you are going to master a lot of them, you will need to be ready to spend hours and hours learning each avatar’s nuances so that you could be of great help to your team.
You also have to get acquainted with different roles. Of course, you should set that before you try to learn a new hero so that you will understand how you should operate within a team setup.
Some roles that you need to think about are the carry, support, mid, and so much more. Because there are certain spells that need to be available at a moment’s notice, you should get a competitive gaming mouse for that purpose.
2.League of Legends
While Dota 2 has set the stage for other game developers to follow, it was the League of Legends who took the formula and improved upon it.
Also known simply as ‘LoL’, this game has amassed a loyal following that, to this day, are still diehard fans.
You get a whopping 141 character roster which means that the learning curve is indeed quite steep. However, because of the unique battle style and strategies that you can employ, learning the characters that you want to use is much easier, at least, when compared to its main rival.
Although there are some game modes to choose from, the 5v5 Summoner’s Rift game mode is the most popular. Like Dota 2, expect to spend at least 30-50 minutes on a single league match.
There is a lot of learning to do when it comes to choosing a character and setting up an item list for which you should follow, but you will have a really fun time doing so.
While the community has some toxic players here and there, for the most part, the League of Legends player base is one of the best out there.
3.Heroes of the Storm
Also known as ‘HotS’, Heroes of the Storm was made by Blizzard, which is also the company that was responsible for the creation of Dota (albeit indirectly).
Although Blizzard was late to the party, this doesn’t mean that Heroes of the Storm doesn’t deserve a shoutout in this article.
If you do not want to spend an hour on a single game, then HotS is for you. Unlike the previous games that I’ve just mentioned, you do not have to worry about what items to purchase here simply because you only get to worry about the skills that you are going to get.
You see, at certain levels, your character will unlock new abilities and you will be the one to choose the right fit for the game and what your team needs the most.
The company used to host a lot of events that showcase the simplicity and prowess of this game, but Blizzard has its eyes focused more on mobile games in the near future.
It is sad that this game is now on ‘maintenance’ mode in that new features and game improvements will not be released as readily as it did before.
However, the game still has a solid player base and if you want a more polished MOBA game that doesn’t take too long to complete, then Heroes of the Storm is for you.
While the previous games allow you to control your characters by giving you an overhead view of the entire map, this next game takes things to a whole new level.
Smite is a rather new MOBA game but it is certainly gaining steady traction amongst fans of the genre because of its unique feature.
Instead of an overhead view of the entire map, you are going to control your avatar from a 3rd-person perspective. This not only makes things more immersive but it is an entirely new experience that is definitely more fun than the previously-mentioned titles.
Because of how the game is played, more and more people have gained an interest in playing Smite. This game allows you to control different gods but the premise remains largely the same, albeit played from a different perspective.
I am quite surprised by how the game has built a solid fan base. The community is quite large now that there are multiple online tournaments being played on a monthly basis with cash prizes amounting to millions of dollars.
Though it might not have the clout or the popularity of Dota 2 and League of Legends, Smite is slowly shaping up to be one of the best out there.
Unlike single-player games where all you have to worry about is yourself, MOBA games require you to be one with your team- both in strategy and coordination.
With that being said, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your playing experience:
It goes without saying that you should always communicate with your teammates as a more cohesive group has a higher chance of winning than one that is discombobulated.
Most games have in-game chats, so you can use your gaming headset to communicate with your mates in the game.
An alternative solution would be to download a chat software like Discord and talk to your team there. Discord is lightweight and doesn’t take a lot of resources to run, making it ideal in this situation.
2.Invest in Good Gaming Gear
Aside from getting a gaming headset, you also need to invest in good gaming gear as well. Not only will you need a gaming mouse but getting a competitive gaming keyboard can also improve your chances of winning as well.
3.Learn One Character at a Time
The thing about MOBA games is that you have plenty of characters to choose from. If you are still starting out, I suggest that you stick to one character until you learn everything there is to know about them before you go ahead and choose another avatar.
The problem with most beginners is that they try to master a lot of things all at once and this is not a good approach if you want to be good at this genre.
You can be well-rounded after sinking so many hours into the game that you want to play- not by magically choosing any character that you please without enough time to practice them.
4.Search for Strategies
The good thing about this day and age is that you can look at different community forums and guides online to help you improve your overall game.
Search for specific character guides or even just general game strategies to help you become an asset to your team.
The entire objective of playing a team game is to play it and enjoy it with your friends. Have fun!
Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service
It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.
Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.
Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.
Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.
Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.
It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).
That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).
With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.
Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.
Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.
1080p and 4K Gaming
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.
Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.
Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.
You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.
NVIDIA Hardware Use
According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.
That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).
Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.
Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites
Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.
The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.
This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.
New Controller with Alexa Support
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.
What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.
According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.
Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.
Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99
If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.
Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.
Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500
Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.
Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.
Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively.
Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.
The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.
Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.
It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.
I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.
The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.
For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.
The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.
You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.
Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.
However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.
It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.
I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.
Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.
Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.
How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.
It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.
This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.
With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.
Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.
Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.
HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.
In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.
Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.
I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.
Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.
There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.
This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup.
While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.
All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.
The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.
There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.
Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.
That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.
I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.
Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.
As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.
Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.
Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.
There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.
Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.
The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.
For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.
I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.
I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.
Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.
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