From the company that now owns League of Legends comes a mobile MOBA that looks a lot like it.
Tencent isn’t a company that you may be too familiar with, but it’s a name is increasingly cropping up in the West. China’s largest internet company is a big deal and naturally has its fingers in many pies.
Though not currently (officially) available in North America, Arena of Valor is Tencent’s newest mobile hit. Despite over a million downloads in the Play Store I’d never heard of it until picking up a Razer Phone, on which it is preloaded.
It’s a mobile MOBA, it’s free to play and looks suspiciously like the most popular game on the planet: League of Legends. But that’s OK since Tencent owns that, too. It’s also a lot of fun.
A familiar formula
From the makers of League of Legends comes a game that looks… a lot like LOL.
There is nothing groundbreaking about this game in the MOBA space. The formula is extremely familiar, following the tried and true pattern of a symmetrical map separated into lanes, teams of up to 5 players, towers, jungle, monsters and a large crystal type thing in each base that you need to destroy in order to emerge with the W.
Competitively, Arena of Valor is played entirely online, so sadly you won’t be ranking up on a plane or anything as you need a solid connection. You are able to practice or play matches against bots, but as you’d expect this is an entirely online affair.
Arena of Valor has a bunch of different heroes to unlock and play as you progress, each with their own unique style and abilities, a selection of unlockable skins, as well as having a pretty stellar ranked game mode with seasons long enough for you to actually make a good rank without having to grind away at it for hours every day.
Easy to play, a challenge to master
Some good thought has gone into how you’re actually going to play Arena of Valor on a phone or tablet. The controls aren’t quite as touch-friendly as Vainglory, but they’re still very good. There’s no diving into menus or endless tiny icons on the screen, everything is perfectly placed for operation on a phone with a quick tap.
The left side of the screen is where you control your hero and spend gold to purchase upgrades throughout a battle. The right side is where you find your main ability, your talent, and your special abilities. The talent and specials all have a cooldown period, and the specials will get more powerful as you level up in the course of a battle. And at any point, if things get too much, you can recall to base and get a full heal.
Arena of Valor has a pretty comprehensive training scheme to teach you the mechanics of the game, and while leveling up – Source