MOBA Madness: Five new games on the horizon, and how they measure up

T.J. Hafer at

Sins of a Dark Age

Made by: Ironclad Games, best known for Sins of a Solar Empire
Releasing: 2013
Hands-on: Yes

What's different about it?
Sins of a Dark Age focuses on trying to make the map feel like a living world, rather than a static stage. The day/night cycle grandfathered into the genre from the original Warcraft III engine has a more significant effect on gameplay than games like Dota 2, changing the behavior of creeps in the jungle, what kinds of minions spawn, where concealing brush pops up, and even the stats of certain items with the "Night" tag. Sins will also prompt each team with a series of randomized quests throughout the match, such as killing a particularly strong hostile creep and bringing its head back to their base, which give significant benefits upon completion.

How does it play?
Like most of the new wave of MOBAs, it seems to lean more toward the League of Legends side of the design spectrum than the Dota 2 side. Heroes are relatively durable (though less so than in Inifinte Crisis), concealing brush is present, and mechanics like denying are nowhere to be found. The quests really seem to make each match more interesting, and prevent any two matches from ever really flowing the same. I'll be interested to see how these sorts of randomized modifiers affect competitive play.

Can I play it?
Opting in to the Founders program (the lowest level is $25) gets you immediate closed beta access.

And so there you have it: five up-and-comers in one of PC gaming's biggest emergent genres. We'll continue to keep their lanes warded, and let you know which ones can hard carry like a boss, and which are more likely to AFK at the fountain and waste your time.