Vainglory (video game) Edit

Vainglory is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game by Super Evil Megacorp for iOS and Android. Designed for mobile platforms, it is a simplified version of the PC-based genre wherein two opposing teams of three players fight to destroy the enemy base by controlling the path between the bases, which is lined by turrets and guarded by enemy minions. Off the path, players battle for control points that supply extra resources. The game was released for iOS on November 16, 2014, after being soft-launched for over half a year. The Android version is expected in 2015.

The game's development began in early 2012 when Super Evil Megacorp was formed by a team of game development veterans to design and build a MOBA for tablet devices. The game was unveiled at Apple's September 2014 iPhone 6announcement event to demonstrate the platform's Metal graphics API. The team sought to make a game that would entertain players for thousands of hours and encourage in-person multiplayer experiences similar to that of a LAN party.

Vainglory received generally favorable reviews. Critics praised the game's graphics, characters, and level design, but criticized its lack of team communication features. Reviewers disagreed on the game's degree of accessibility to newcomers. The Guardian named Vainglory the "best" iOS game of 2014.

Gameplay Edit

Vainglory - Koshka attacking

Vainglory is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game in the style of League of Legends and Dota 2 but designed for smartphones. As standard for the genre, two opposing teams fight to reach and destroy the enemy's base while defending their own in a tug of war for control of a path, known the "lane", which connect the bases. In Vainglory, teams have three players and each controls an avatar, known as a "hero", from their own device. Computer-controlled creeps, known as "minions", spawn at team bases and follow the lane to the opposite team's base, fighting enemies and turrets en route. Lining the lanes are turret towers that repel the flow creeps and enemy heroes. The player's objective is to gain experience and gold currency by fighting off enemy creeps, towers, and other players, en route to destroy the crystalline Vain objective in the enemy's base.

In the area off the lane, also known as the jungle, players work to capture "control points" for rewards such as gold and increased minion strength. These control points include the Minion Mines (guarded by a neutral enemy who rewards the team that kills him with stronger minions), the Gold Mine (guarded by a Gold Miner who rewards with an income of gold), and the Kraken (a powerful enemy that appears fifteen minutes into the match and can be recruited to fight the enemy team). Those who control the Kraken usually win the match. The opposing team can recapture and steal these control points. The jungle also has thick undergrowth to hide heroes from play, neutral minions to kill, and a shop to purchase upgrades.

There are ten hero options, with the developers of the game continually adding more, each with different skills but balanced for fair play. For example, a hero may be powerful in a lane but too slow for use in the jungle, while another may be the inverse. Players choose between three attack skills that upgrade via a commontechnology tree. A selection of free characters rotates weekly and others can be purchased. The game uses two in-game currencies for in-app purchases: one that can be earned through play, known as Glory, and one that can be purchased with money, known as Immensely Concentrated Evil (ICE). The most powerful heroes are most expensive. Vainglory has no team communication features, such as text or voice chat.

Vainglory Halcyon Fold map.tif

Development Edit

In February 2012, game developers "veterans" from Rockstar, Riot, Blizzard, and Insomniac founded Super Evil Megacorp in San Mateo, California to make a mobile online battle arena (MOBA) game for tablet devices, and thus began development on their first game, Vainglory. Apple chose the game to demonstrate the graphics capabilities of their iPhone 6 and Metal graphics API at the iPhone 6's announcement event. The game was soft-launched for six months prior to this September 2014 event, and was released on November 16, 2014.[6]

Kristian Segerstrale, the founder of Playfish and former head of EA Digital, joined Super Evil Megacorp as its COO. Segerstrale expected Vainglory to popularize the MOBA genre like "Halo did for first-person shooters". They wanted to make a game that could be played for hours and years, and that players "will organize their lives around" rather than something to pass spare time. The game is designed for tablets, which the company felt was the most fitting platform despite its lack of "core games" (games that rewarded "teamwork and strategy" over thousands of hours of play). They told Polygon that tablets were "inherently social", "less alienating to new players", and "possibly the best space for multiplayer play". Super Evil Megacorp CEO Bo Daly said he saw PC MOBA games as solitary experiences and thought tablets could make the experience better for groups as a reinvention of the LAN party, where players share a common gaming experience in the same shared physical space on separate devices. The company also intended for the game to become an eSport.

On March 5, 2015 at the Game Developers Conference 2015, it was announced by Super Evil Megacorp that Vainglory would be getting a Android port. It is currently in closed beta.

Reception Edit

Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 84/100
Review scores
Publication Score
IGN 8/10
Pocket Gamer 7/10
TouchArcade 5 stars

The game received "generally favorable" reviews, according to video game review score aggregator Metacritic. Reviewers praised the game's graphics, characters, and level design, but criticized its lack of team communication features. While IGN's Mitch Dyer wrote the game was accessible to newcomers, Matt Thrower of Pocket Gamer felt otherwise. The Guardian named Vainglory the "best" iOS game of 2014.

Matt Thrower of Pocket Gamer noted how the PC-based MOBA genre has had issues adapting its precise controls to the mobile platform, but that Vainglory trimmed features in the right areas. IGN's Mitch Dyer wrote that the game was its own "scaled down, rather than scaled back" version of the MOBA genre, and not an attempt to "approximate" League of Legends and Dota 2 experiences for mobile devices. Dyer praised the game's character and map detail, and wrote that all ten of the heroes had "fun" designs and were enjoyable to play. Thrower felt similarly about its graphics. Dyer praised the iPad controls, but felt "cramped" on the iPhone 6 Plus. TouchArcade '​s Ford described the controls as "flawless" and felt that the game's tutorial was among the best he had seen in iOS MOBAs. He added that he considered the game's in-app purchases "very fair" and not "pay-to-win".

IGN's Dyer reported his games to be about 20 minutes in length and noticed that they tended to snowball out of balance by the time the Kraken creature appears at the 15-minute mark. Dyer added that the advantages of in-person team communication made games feel "lopsided". Pocket Gamer '​s Thrower wrote that the game's "depth" was in learning how to use the individual characters, and that beginners were subject to an "impenetrable learning curve", especially without organized teams. Ford of TouchArcade said his only issue was with players leaving their play session while the game was still in action, but felt this was mitigated by the game's "Karma" matchmaking system. Ford otherwise reported that Vainglory played well as a whole as "probably the best MOBA on iOS".