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Vainglory (video game)

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Vainglory
Vainglory app icon (rounded edges)

App icon

Developer(s) Super Evil Megacorp
Publisher(s) Super Evil Megacorp
Platform(s) iOS, Android
Release date(s) iOS
  • November 16, 2014

Android

  • July 2, 2015
Genre(s) Multiplayer online battle arena
Mode(s) Multiplayer

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 was released on July 2, 2015.

Gameplay

Vainglory - Koshka attacking a jungle monster

Screenshot of gameplay on an iPad

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, the "lane", which connects the bases. In Vainglory, teams have three players who each control an avatar, known as a "hero", from their own device. Weakercomputer-controlled characters, called "minions", spawn at team bases and follow the lane to the opposite team's base, fighting enemies and turrets en route. Lining the lane are turret towers that repel the flow of minions and enemy heroes. The player's primary objective is to destroy the enemy turrets and the "Vain Crystal" in the enemy team's base. If a crystal is destroyed, the team who destroyed the crystal wins.

Features:

  • Dive into intense MOBA action by developers formerly at Riot Games & Blizzard Entertainment.
  • Immerse yourself in a vivid world with ultra-high fidelity graphics.
  • Play with intuitive precision controls.
  • Blaze through fast-paced, 20-minute matches.
  • Become powerful heroes with unique abilities.
  • Explore immense variety and flexibility in build paths for each hero.
  • New heroes and features coming regularly.
  • True laning, ganking/objective-taking and teamfighting phases.
  • FREE TO PLAY.

As of May 2017, there are 32 hero options, with another hero in development. The developers of the game continually add more, each with different skills but balanced for fair play. For example, a hero may have high damage but poor mobility, or strong melee abilities but no ranged options. Players choose between three attack skills that upgrade via a common technology tree, with the third ultimate ability unlocked after the other two have been upgraded a couple of times. There is a set number of heroes that are free to play, with the free to play roster being refreshed every week. Players can also choose to permanently unlock any character for a certain amount of Glory. The game uses two in-game currencies: Glory, which can be earned through in-game play, and ICE, short for Immensely Concentrated Evil, which can be purchased in the app.  Vainglory offers two main modes of in-game communication: team emoticons and strategic pings. 

Vainglory Halcyon Fold map

Vainglory'​‍s Halcyon Fold map, with team bases on both ends, the lane connecting the two on top, and the jungle underbrush beneath the lane

Development

In February 2012, game developers from Rockstar, Riot, Blizzard, and Insomniac founded Super Evil Megacorp in San Mateo, California to make a MOBA for tablet devices, and thus began development on their first game, Vainglory. Apple chose the game to demonstrate the graphics capabilities of the iPhone 6 and Metal graphics API at the iPhone 6's announcement event. The game was soft-launched, a release intended for public reveiw of the finished products, six months prior to the September 2014 event, and was released on November 16, 2014.

Kristian Segerstrale, the founder of Playfish and former head of EA Digital, joined Super Evil Megacorp as its CEO. 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.[4] The company also intended for the game to become an eSport. European eSports tournament organizer Electronic Sports League announced the Vainglory Cup, a set of Vainglory competitions, to take place in June 2015.

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. After undergoing a closed beta, the game was fully released on July 2, 2015 in the Google Play Store.

Reception

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. The game was one of ten Apple Design Award recipients in 2015.

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. Touch Arcade‍‍ '​‍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. Eric Ford of Touch Arcade 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".

Features:

  • Dive into intense MOBA action by developers formerly at Riot Games & Blizzard Entertainment.
  • Immerse yourself in a vivid world with ultra-high fidelity graphics.
  • Play with intuitive precision controls.
  • Blaze through fast-paced, 20-minute matches.
  • Become powerful heroes with unique abilities.
  • Explore immense variety and flexibility in build paths for each hero.
  • New heroes and features coming regularly.
  • True laning, ganking/objective-taking and teamfighting phases.
  • FREE TO PLAY.

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