This article will tell you about the most popular MOBA games, the best tournaments, and upcoming competitions in 2022.
The acronym MOBA means “multiplayer online battle arena” — a strategy video game genre to be played in real time. As a rule, the player only controls one hero, part of one of the two teams, and the goal is to destroy the enemy’s main structure and save one’s own. What are the most popular games in this genre?
In 2013, after two years of beta testing, Valve Corporation released Dota 2, a standalone sequel to the DotA map idea suggested for Warcraft III. It is played by two teams of five people each, and the main goal is to destroy the enemy team’s central building. The game is very popular in Southeast and North Asia, South America, and Europe.
The International is the largest tournament in the Dota 2 title. The prize pool gets bigger with each passing year: in 2019, it was $34 million, while in 2021 — $40 million. Valve recently announced that The International 11 would be held in Singapore in October.
Also popular are the Major tournaments — qualifying tournaments for The International. From May 12 to 25, ESL One Stockholm 2022 was held — the first Major of the Dota Pro Circuit 2021/2022 season. Dota Pro Circuit is a professional Dota 2 tournament system introduced in 2017 by the game developer, Valve. These tournaments help determine the teams that will get a direct invitation to The International. The PGL Arlington Major 2022, the second Major of this season, is expected to take place in Arlington, Texas, on August 8–14. PGL has confirmed that the competition would be held in the LAN format with spectators.
By the way, the Kyiv Major 2017 was the most popular Major tournament by broadcast views – more than 840,000. Among the Majors, WePlay AniMajor took first place by hours watched, breaking the record with 37.3 million hours, and second place by peak viewers — 645,000. It’s worth noting that WePlay AniMajor continues collecting awards even now. On May 24, 2022, the Emmy Awards ceremony was held, where the WePlay AniMajor Grand Final got the silver in the Outstanding Esports Tournament Coverage category.
League of Legends
League of Legends is a video game released by Riot Games in 2009. Three years later, in 2012, the company announced that LoL had become the most popular game in the world, with 70 million registered players.
Many tournaments are held in this discipline, one of which was the Mid-Season Invitational 2021. The tournament gathered 1.84 million viewers. But the most important competition in League of Legends is the World Championship. In 2021, the broadcast gathered more than four million viewers at its peak, and the tournament also broke the record among all esports events by hours watched — 174.83 million hours. The prize pool of the 2021 World Championship was $2 million, while the biggest one — $5 million — was recorded at the 2017 World Championship. The game is most popular in East Asia, South America, and Central Europe.
The Mid-Season Invitational 2022, the pinnacle event of the 2022 Spring Split and the first cross-regional competition of Season 12, has just ended. It was held from May 10 to 29 in Busan, South Korea. In the final, team Royal Never Give Up from China defeated South Koreans T1 with a score of 3:2. Also, according to Esports Charts, the final was watched by almost 2.2 million viewers, which is a record for the MSI event series at the moment.
Also, in October of this year, the final tournament of the World Championship 2022 will be held in North America. The play-in stage will take place in Mexico City at the Liga Latinoamerica (LLA) esports arena, while the group stage and the quarter-finals will take place in New York at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden. The semi-finals will take place in Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena, and the final will take place in San Francisco at the Chase Center.
Wild Rift is the mobile version of the League of Legends strategy video game. It was developed from scratch and published in 2020 by Riot Games. In terms of geography, it is most popular in Southeast Asia, South and North America.
The Wild Rift Origin Series 2021 Championship is the official League of Legends: Wild Rift tournament that was first held in 2021. Its prize pool was $180,000. Also, late last year, the Horizon Cup 2021 was held — the top tournament in the Wild Rift discipline, in which 10 teams from all regions fought for the champion’s title for eight days, with a prize pool of $500,000.
In 2022, from June 14 to July 9, the Icons Global Championship 2022 will be held. It’s a large-scale final tournament of the Wild Rift esports season. It will be attended by 24 teams from eight regions that will fight for the world championship. The prize pool of the tournament is $2 million.
Heroes of the Storm
Heroes of the Storm is an online fantasy and science fiction video game developed by Blizzard Entertainment for PC. It was released in 2015. In the game, two teams of five people each must destroy the opponent’s citadel. The game enjoys the biggest popularity in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North America.
In 2019, Blizzard announced that the main tournaments in the title — Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm — would no longer be held. Now, from time to time, special gaming events are held, which are limited in time, dedicated to a specific topic, and involve rewards. There are also regional tournaments, for example, the 2021 Storm League Season 3 or the SkyLine Cup, with prize pools of almost $3,000.
SMITE is a unique third-person multiplayer game developed by HI-Rez Studios and released in 2012. The game features gods and mythical creatures from different mythologies as heroes. It is most popular in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
The main SMITE esports event of the year is the SMITE World Championship. In 2021, the prize pool was $600,000. SMITE World Championship 2021 set the record for hours watched among similar SMITE tournaments, getting 2.8M hours. The game has a large and loyal audience and the potential to become one of the most successful games in the future.
In 2022, the SMITE Pro League season will happen in three stages, with two inter-league Masters tournaments at the end of stages 1 and 2. The first stage ran from April 1 to 24, the second will run from July 10 to 31, and the third — from August 26 to October 23. Both of this year’s SMITE Masters are two-week inter-league LAN tournaments. The Masters will feature 16 teams from both the SMITE Challenger Circuit (four from North America, four from Europe) and the SMITE Pro League (all eight teams). Spring SMITE Masters took place on May 20–29, while the Summer Tournaments will run on August 5–14, 2022.
The final stage of the tournaments will be the SMITE World Championship Finals in Atlanta, Georgia. The best teams in the SMITE Pro League will compete on the battlefield for the highest reward — the opportunity to lift Thor’s hammer as a trophy. The prize pool, format, and dates of the final will be announced later.
MOBA games are loved by millions of players. Vibrant esports tournaments with large prize pools are held every year, and the broadcasts break records for hours watched. MOBA games are popular and will remain so for a long time to come.
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