Strategy 1

Differing MOBA Mindsets

Massive Online Battle Arenas are nothing new. Ever since the introduction of Warcraft III’s Defense of the Ancients there have been plenty of games that fit the genre. Vainglory is a different game all on its own, but the players come from differing backgrounds and some varying mindsets which I’m hoping to delve into here.

I recently played in Pinnacle of Awesome with another Pinnacle player (imadooble) and a Vainglorious player (NeedsCoach). While I lack experience playing with an organized team in Vainglory, I’m no novice to team play. I competed in the AGHL a few seasons back with my corporate League of Legends team and defeated Qualcomm in the finals of the B League.

While playing with these other skilled players we started to discuss different strategies in TeamSpeak. It started with me asking NeedsCoach just some general questions about the Vainglory. He expressed that he was really impressed with the depth of the strategy in Vainglory. He couldn’t believe that a mobile game was pioneering MOBA elements and changing the MOBA scene.

We played 11 games together in a row. However, we had not played together before that, so it took some time to discover who plays best in which role. It took some convincing for NeedsCoach to let me play Krul. NeedsCoach started in lane on Ringo, imadooble on Koshka, and me on Krul. We won a few games, and then NeedsCoach offered to jungle to let someone else rotate into lane. I stepped into lane as Ringo, and this was when our MOBA backgrounds started to shine through.

I started Book of Eulogies, which NeedsCoach didn’t have a problem with. He starts with the same item for the early sustain. He plays lane very aggressively, trading at every opportunity. Having the ability to heal up on a character without innate heal is very strong. I play more passively, trading when optimal, but keeping myself healed to full with my Book. From there I transition to Sorrowblade for my first item. I keep the Book until I need 150 gold or I need the item slot. After Sorrowblade I built Tyrant’s Monocle. He was surprised I would get a critical strike item before buying any energy items.

After NeedsCoach saw my build he challenged me to a 1v1, Ringo vs Ringo. The 1v1 would be played until level six, at which point we would quit and see who had more gold. His early aggression was intense. He was clearly the better Ringo player. I stayed calm and did my best to last hit in order to restore my diminished health bar. I shoved the lane, forcing my minions towards his turret, and I recalled. I went with my standard build, rushing Heavy Steel and Six Sins. I popped Twirling Silver just to move back to lane faster.

Now things got real. NeedsCoach had just returned from shopping with a Void Battery, boots, and potions. I knew that he would win the long game, so I used his aggression against him. I immediately picked a fight, and stuck with him. He realized that I had way more weapon than him just a split second too late. He was still in range for me to land the last auto to finish him off.

As soon as he went down I shoved lane into turret as quickly as I could. Due to my itemization choices, I didn’t have the energy to refresh my skills and push the lane effectively. I was still sitting at turret when NeedsCoach showed up, full health, full energy, with boots active available. I tried to run at first, but Achilles Shot proved too strong, and I wasn’t able to turn without energy. I fell, and he was able to push a full wave before reaching level six. I lost by less than 200 gold, but died as a result of miscalculating my pushing potential.

This really got us talking. I noticed that his Achilles Shot was slowing more than mine. As a weapon carry that focuses on finishing the highest weapon items in the game first, I felt it was my duty to max B skill to maximize my DPS. With more research I found this to be a HUGE mistake. The largest benefit potentially comes at level eight, when Twirling Silver is maxed and grants a 19% attack speed increase over the previous level. However, this pales in comparison to the 55% you get for the first point spent in the skill. You also see a dramatically increases energy cost with higher levels.

When we contrasted Twirling Silver with the other option, Achilles Shot, we found that I had been doing it wrong. Achilles Shot increases with each point, lowering the cooldown, increasing the damage, increasing the slow amount, and increasing the slow duration. Include the fact that you also get 165 bonus damage for overdriving this ability and it makes it an easy choice.

We transitioned from abilities to item choices. My MOBA background came from League of Legends, the most popular game on the planet. I’ve played since beta, and have the King Rammus and PAX Twisted Fate skins to prove it. NeedsCoach is a DOTA2 fan. He didn’t just play, he played at a high level, being ranked nationally.

In League of Legends the ranged weapon carries don’t buy mana items. Instead, they focus on investing their money in items that don’t have immediate return on investment, but carry a large impact when the game goes late. The best example of this would be Infinity Edge. While Infinity Edge is the most expensive item in the game, it also gives stats that aren’t extremely useful in the early stages of the game.

Infinity Edge gives 80 attack damage (equivalent of weapon), 20% critical strike chance, and a passive of +50% critical strike damage (this passive does not stack if you own more of the same item). While 80 attack damage is appealing at every stage of the game, 20% critical strike damage has a much lower chance of occuring when you have base attack speed and you are lower level, as attack speeds of champions increases with levels. Also, you only have one physical item, and where your critical hits scale off of your total damage, it’s really not ideal to have first.

Then why do people rush an item first that doesn’t give them an early-game advantage? Because when the game goes late, the carry with Inifinity Edge has a large advantage when everyone is max level. Critical hits are a chance on hit, so the more hits you have, technically the more often you will crit. With 20% critical strike chance, I get more crits if I attack ten times than if I only attack five.

In DOTA2 there is a larger emphasis on surviving in laning phase. Early kills can lead to snowballed leads that are very difficult to overcome. Having a bit of health or mana regeneration in lane can mean the difference in a won or lost trade. The only way to return to base is with a purchased item that has a cooldown, so if you use it to return to base, you spent gold, and you must wait to use it to get back to lane.

Also, heroes in DOTA2 don’t have as much mana, and their abilities cost quite a bit mana, so if you use one or two spells early on you’ll be lacking the resources necessary to stay and compete in your lane.

This set the stage for our differing builds. I knew that I was a four second recall from base to refill my energy, but that I would need a powerful starting item to set the stage for my dominance in the late game. NeedsCoach plays aggressively and relies on Achilles Shot to continuously win trades in lane. If Ringo constantly has energy then he has access to an attack and movement speed steroid, an attack timer reset, and long ranged harass.

It was awesome to see the game from a different point of view from another experienced MOBA player. We had a good time playing, and learned a lot from each other. It was really fun to see that Vainglory could bring together players from two competing games, and have them improve from one another. Regardless of your MOBA background (or lack thereof) there are things you can learn if you take the time to learn from other players’ experiences.

Thanks for the tips, (Needs)Coach!


1 Comment

  • Reply
    Apr 02, 2015 1:03 pm

    Wait… are you saying Vainglory is the MOBA equivalent of Switzerland (i.e. neutral territory)? 🙂

    Actually, it’s very rare that I hear people comparing Vainglory to other MOBAs. It’s almost as though they just enjoy it for what it is – not for what it isn’t.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *