Vainglory is a multiplayer online battle arena game produced exclusively for mobile devices. It is the most successful videogame of this genre that can be played on smartphones and tablets powered by iOS and Android operating systems. Vainglory was developed by Super Evil Megacorp who brought into the spotlight the mix of classic and innovative concepts. In this game players are supposed to earn resources by controlling strategic point on the map, level up and ultimately defeat the opposing team.
Gameplay of Vainglory
The Vainglory gameplay is heavily influenced by the fact that it was developed for mobile devices. The two versions for Android and iOS were released over the course of six months and both were praised for the great graphics. The core concepts from multiplayer online battle arena games are present, but they were slightly tweaked to be compatible with mobile devices. This game is a simplified version of League of Legends and Dota 2, but the goals are largely the same.
Players are divided right from the start into two teams of five heroes each and they battle for supremacy on several maps. Each team starts from one end of the map and advances towards the opposite end, but there is a single battle lane. The reason for why developers decided to scratch two lanes is that on smartphones and tablets players can’t handle three. The other core elements haven’t changed and minions will still spawn in both bases and advance towards the other.
The AI controlling minions is effective at handling the task at hand, but these characters don’t pose any real threat to heroes. The gameplay of Vainglory has a smooth learning curve, with players leveling up their heroes to make them more effective on the battlefield. Experience points are accumulated at a different pace for killing enemy heroes and minions, as well as structures. The game concludes when one of the teams pushes all the way to the enemy base and destroys the Vain Crystal.
To maximize the results and create a more effective team, players need to pick heroes that complement each other. Character’s election is particularly important and the ultimate setup includes damage dealers, thanks and support heroes. Super Evil Megacorp has created a game that is essentially well-balanced, but not to the same extent as flagship MOBAs. To perform well despite the limitations of smartphones and tablets, their abilities and movement mechanics were simplified.
Vainglory emphasizes the importance of teamwork, but competent players are able to carry the entire team if they level up quickly enough. The limited number of available heroes means that players have fewer difficult decisions to make and can master one character. To unlock more heroes players are supposed to accumulate Immensely Concentrated Evil points. These can be earned by winning games or they can be purchased with real currency, to speed up the process.
Vainglory Heroes and Abilities
There are significantly fewer Vainglory heroes than the number of characters available in other popular MOBA games such as League of Legends and Dota 2. What they lack in terms of sheer numbers, the game compensates through quality and these heroes are responsive and easy to control. Their abilities are different enough as to keep players motivated, but still simple enough to be compatible with mobile devices. In the late stages of the game, some heroes tend to become slightly overpowered.
The videogame developers were confronted with a couple of challenges, including the one of keeping the game balanced throughout the entire match. That’s why a standard Vainglory game doesn’t last more than 15 minutes and most of them are significantly shorter. However, when this threshold is crossed, balance issues become a problem and it’s very difficult for teams to rebound. Building an advantage is far more important here than in pretty much any other multiplayer online battle arena games for PC or mobile.
When the game was initially released, the entire roster of Vainglory heroes didn’t exceed more than 10 characters. Their number more than doubled in a matter of months and players were provided with a clear path to unlocking them all. The number and nature of abilities didn’t change, but more AI controlled creatures were introduced. The most important of them is the Kraken, which spawns after 15 minutes. Whatever team manages to control this creature will gain a huge advantage over its counterpart.
Vainglory Multiplayer and eSports Potential
Vainglory is essentially a multiplayer game, so the best way to enjoy it is by competing against fellow players. The biggest problem is obviously the fact that on mobile devices it is more difficult to control heroes during large-scale team fights. The developers decided to keep the roster small and provide players with the incentive to finish the match as soon as possible. That’s the role of the Kraken creature, but its addition backfired for eSports enthusiasts as it gave players controlling it a too big advantage.
Vainglory scored higher marks in single player than many of its counterparts, because of the unique relationships between characters. Heroes complement each other in terms of abilities, but also have narratives that are beautifully intertwined.
For eSports, the short nature of the game was a problem right from the start, since 15 minutes is regarded as too little for professional matches. There are few tournaments online, but the advent of the Vainglory Cup keeps the dreams alive for those who hope to see that game turned into an eSports contender.
Popular and Critical Reception
Vainglory was met with positive reviews by the critics and hailed as the best multiplayer online battle arena games for mobile devices. Its popularity continued to grow ever since and it kept attracting more players and new heroes were introduced. The game was also celebrated for its beautiful graphics, and the interesting choice for characters. Criticism was in regard to the somewhat steep learning curve and the fact that players were not presented with effective team communication features.
Key Features of Vainglory
- Vainglory is the most popular multiplayer online battle arena game for mobile devices.
- The roaster of heroes is relatively small, but players can choose between original characters.
- Vainglory has won several awards for its iOS game and it released an Android version soon after.
- Matches are shorter than 20 minutes and heroes tend to become overpowered after 15 minutes
- Vainglory is plagued by a high rate of abandoned matches because it is played on mobile devices.
The Bottom Line
Vainglory is an original concept, multiplayer online battle arena games. Super Evil Megacorp succeeded at making a swift transition from computers to mobile devices with minimal compromises. The game lacks the depth of the most popular MOBA, but that’s a small price to pay to have it run smoothly on smartphones and tablets.
The small number of heroes isn’t a problem and this is amply compensated by the originality of these characters. Its eSports potential is limited, but the game is immensely entertaining in multiplayer and provides an alternative for fans of the genre. This is a game easy to recommend to anyone who owns an iOS or Android powered device and has played League of Legends and Dota 2.