Any MOBA's more streamlined than DOTA2?

So I haven’t really delved into DOTA 2 much at all, and today there was a Gamestop video showing you the ropes which I enjoyed… until you start getting into the ludicrous layers of complexity, which appear to exist only for complexity’s sake.

I mean seriously? You need to craft your items, some of which require components that ALSO need to be crafted? This looks like a system at home in something like Skyrim, not on a fast paced strategy game where everyone is insulting you for daring to miss a kill/deny/etc.

Other systems seem needles complicated as well, and some of the interface decisions seem more like they belong in a strategy game where you control a number of different units, and not a single one. I guess that’s a throw back to the original DOTA which was a mod for such an RTS.

So basically, the game looks like fun, until you realize that a bunch of die hard geeks (used lovingly) designed it so that only they and their super hard core friends would know what they were doing, and not people experienced in actual game design, along with the baggage of working with the engine of another type of game entirely.

What other MOBA’s are out there where the systems are more streamlined? Where the gameplay is more important than memorizing recipes? And maybe where the game mechanics are worked around the game and not around some other game.

I thought it odd that Valve is essentially just cloning DOTA instead of revamping it like they did with TF2, because a lot of the game, right down to core mechanics, is an artifact from Warcraft 3 that’s just bad design in the context of DOTA.

Anyway, there’s a fair bit of these MOBA games stripping out the RTS leftovers.

Demigod somewhat qualifies, in that the RTS remnants it keeps is because it actually uses some of them for RTS-like purposes, because many of the heroes can have a personal controllable army.

Smite and Super MNC might be more what you’re looking for, as they both focus on it as more of an action game, the latter going far enough to get some elements of shooter games in there.

DOTA 2’s interface is leaps and bounds better than the WC3 interface. It has clear ability icons, streamlined hotkeys, and a pretty good shop interface. Every hero has a list of recommended items, which is fine for new players to follow until they get the hang of things. Yes, the interface works better for controlling multiple units, but many heroes can already control multiple units (or illusions). DOTA 2’s spell animations are designed with keeping them distinct and clean so it’s easier to see what’s going on during fights, but there can still be some confusion.

League of Legends is certainly a simpler and shallower game, but it still has a lot of heroes and items. The interface is similar but the minimap is in the bottom right instead of bottom left, which is nonstandard from any strategy game (or shooter for that matter). Don’t know how the shopping interface looks. Spells get very muddled looking in team fights.

Neither one will be unfamiliar to anyone who’s played a real time strategy game, but if you’ve never played any of those you will probably be lost.

I’ve been playing a bit of the beta, so I can speak to the crafting thing. It seems very complicated at first, but the interface is actually rather well-done. Parts will automatically combine to form more complex items, and the store will show you possible recipes for what you need.

So, for example, you want to build a Staff of the Teeming Masses. The components are:

Doodad A (500 gold)
Doodad B (800 gold)
Doodad C (1000 gold)

If you have 2300 gold at your disposal, you can immediately build the Staff of the Teeming Masses, or you can buy the individual pieces and they’ll automatically combine when you have all three.

The more difficult thing is figuring out what items are best for which character.

The MOST difficult thing is that the vast majority of the DOTA 2 community is a bunch of acerbic jerkwads who will berate you ENDLESSLY for not playing perfectly. It’s a really, really unfriendly community, and the general consensus among them is that you should put up with it, because until you’re a good player you deserve it.

A smaller problem with DOTA 2 is that matches can easily take an hour, so sometimes the time commitment can be a bit much, especially when you’re losing.

In the end it’s a pretty good game, though, with good safeguards that prevent people from leaving willy nilly. Even better is that all of the items you can buy are completely cosmetic, so there’s no “paying cash money for an advantage” dynamic.

Super MNC is also a really good game, but there is a power gap between people willing to spend money and those who aren’t.

The reason items are craftable is that their components are useful in the meantime, which leads to more decisions. Do I start building my ultimate staff of dongnappery by first buying the goatshaft for the extra strength or the coke bottle for the extra refreshment? Is it worth making a trip back to base to pick up one component for this item, or should I wait until I can construct the whole thing? etc.

DOTA 2 actually makes this process go pretty smoothly - you can remotely purchase components so they’re ready to go, you can easily see what makes what … in the original DOTA, there was no way to tell what does what, and if you asked someone else for help they would gang rape you with a barbed nighstick.