Multiplayer online battle arena (moba), also known as action real-time strategy (arts), is a genre of strategy video games that originated as a subgenre of real-time strategy, in which a player controls a single character in one of two teams. The objective is to destroy the opposing team’s main structure with the assistance of periodically spawned computer-controlled units that march forward along set paths. Player characters typically have various abilities and advantages that improve over the course of a game and that contribute to a team’s overall strategy. MOBA games are a fusion of action games, role-playing games and real-time strategy games, in which players usually do not construct either buildings or units.
The genre largely began with Aeon of Strife (AoS), a custom map for StarCraft where four players each controlling a single powerful unit and aided by weak computer-controlled units were put against a stronger computer. Defense of the Ancients (DotA), a map based on Aeon of Strife for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne, was one of the first major titles of its genre and the first MOBA for which sponsored tournaments have been held. It was followed by the two spiritual successors, League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth, and eventually a sequel, Dota 2, as well as numerous other games in the genre such as Heroes of the Storm and Smite. By the early 2010’s, the genre had become a staple of the emerging eSports scene.