Ironclad brought us Sins of a Solar Empire in 2008, and we enjoyed its space-based mixture of RTS and 4X. Its next project, Sins of a Dark Age, pivots the developer's focus to the expanding MOBA genre, and it seems part of the reason for the change comes from Ironclad's belief that RTS games are "very niche," as Director Blair Fraser describes it in an interview with RPS.
Ironclad hopes its mixture of RPG with RTS in its MOBA Sins of a Dark Age will help it stand out from competitors such as League of Legends and Dota 2. The crux of this approach are Realm Quests, optional side-tasks which players can complete for team-wide boons and powerful items. In an explanatory trailer, Ironclad Producer Blair Fraser describes how Realm Quests work and how they influence the Hero-on-Hero clashes on the battlefield.
When we first got a look at Ironclad’s Sins of a Dark Age, the developer underscored its intent to distinguish itself from competitors League of Legends and Dota 2 with by integrating an RTS role into its MOBA—Commander Mode. It was an insane idea, but we liked the thought of a game coming to the genre with a different focus, and we were confident Ironclad's experience making one of our favorite strategy games ever would help them pull it off.