EA have a new studio called Waystone, and that studio is making a fantasy MOBA. ‘A fantasy MOBA?,’ sez you. ‘Well, bear with me while I send power to my auxilliary imagination generators.’ That’s quite enough snark from you, hypothetical reader. After all, you’re entirely imaginary yourself. Pot, visualise kettle.
In fact, Waystone are well aware of their game’s close resemblance to the likes of LoL and Dota. Dawngate has reportedly been built from the ground up to “look and feel familiar” while offering “whole new ways to experience MOBA gameplay”.
“Dawngate empowers you to forge the champions you love for the roles you want in a competitive arena, shaped by ever-evolving, community-driven content and story,” reads the brief description on the official site, where you can sign up for a closed beta.
While Dota’s currently in the process of lore-ing up its Proving Grounds, MOBAs aren’t best known for their storytelling - honestly, I’m not sure there’s room. And LoL champions, despite the plurality of item builds possible, couldn’t be said to be forged by their players. So who knows in what directions EA are pulling the genre.
Internet uber-sleuth Superannuation reckons Waystone are the rebranded free-to-play division of EA’s Dead Space studio, Visceral.
Last year, Visceral Play4Free were looking for a Global Community Manager with an “unhealthy passion for MOBA games”, and a game designer with “work experience on MOBA, Action RTS” titles, plus “knowledge of the competitive space”.
It's worth noting that this isn't EA's first hash at a MOBA - that was Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes, which gave up the ghost in March before every leaving beta. And the publishers regularly run competitive events for NBA and FIFA, so they do know this stuff. But it’s difficult to imagine them hosting a Dota 2 International or a LoL Championship Series, don’t you think?