Top 10 Most Played MOBA Games (2019 Edition)

most popular mobas
Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm is the 3rd most popular MOBA in the US

Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBAs) came from humble beginnings in the late 90s and early 2000s and begun as player-created-mods of rts games, StarCraft and Warcraft.

In 2003 a player built a custom Warcraft battleground and game mode named Defense of the Ancients, pitting two teams of five players against each other with the goal of destroying their enemy's base- fun fact, Dota and Dota 2 were directly inspired by this player mod.

Today MOBAs are enormously popular team games with player numbers in the millions and lively esports scenes with tournament prize pools of up to $20 million.

Three of the most popular MOBAs- Dota 2, League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm- are in the top five for highest esports player payouts.

Because MOBAs often have fiercely loyal fan bases, the ranking below depends only on how many people are playing the game.

The player numbers were gathered through Steam stats and other independent sources, as most game developers rarely release specific player numbers.

10. Airmech Strike 

Total Registered Players: 1,759,000 copies owned in 2018  
Total Active Players: Avg. 196.7/day through Steam in 2018 

AirMech Warthog class

In AirMech Strike, players control a transforming mech unit that can fly above the battleground or land to aid ground units in destroying enemy structures.  

If you’re a fan of vintage MOBAs and flying through the air in a powerful robot, AirMech Strike is the game for you!

AirMech Strike by Carbon Games has been available since 2012 in Early Release through Steam under the name AirMech, but was officially released in March 2018 as AirMech Strike.

The game is free to play through Steam, and current ownership stands at 1,759,000. The game appeals to players with its throwback feel to Technosoft’s 1990 release Herzog Zwei, one of the original MOBAs.

AirMech is a small, independent game, with 200 average daily players in 2018. However, its small team of developers embraces the size of the game. Game Developer James Green addressed the game size in a reddit AMA in late April

“As I said, I'm very happy with AirMech's success. We can afford to develop the game and not have a grind, not have any big pressure to buy anything to reduce grind, and for 10 developers it's pretty amazing.”

The game is about as active as can be expected from a small player base. Players drop new posts in the official forums and subreddit once or twice a week, most of which are very promptly responded to by the official AirMech team.

AirMech has 2,500 followers on Twitch but is not supported by regular streaming at this time. Currently, the developers are focusing on AirMech Wastelands, a PvE version of the game.

9. Awesomenauts

Total Registered Players: 2,000,000+ 
Total Active Players: Avg. 402/day through Steam in 2018 

Awesomenauts brings the team play of MOBAs to the world of 2D side-scrollers

Awesomenauts by Dutch developer Ronimo Games is a MOBA meets 2D side-scrolling fighter. It was released for PC in August 2012 and was transitioned into a free-to-play title in May 2017.

Each colorful, arcade style match pits teams of 3 against each other in a battle to destroy the enemy’s solar collector. 

The Awesomenauts community is small, but persistent, drawn to its throwback design and unique, stress free game play.

This is the game for MOBA lovers looking to kick back and have some fun. Metacritic user VSInGamer described the draw of the game in December 2012.

“Game play a bit repetitive, but fun to watch and a great breather from all the intense cinematic masterpieces of today.

Good game overall though, and would recommend to anyone who just wants to play a fun game without the importance of stressing over levels and enjoy a good blast from the past.”

8. Battlerite

Total Registered Players: 2,000,000+ 
Total Active Players: Avg. 6,119/day through Steam in 2018 

Every game of Battlerite plays like a colorful, non-stop team fight.  P.C. Hi-Rez Studios

Battlerite describes itself as a Team Arena Brawler and it certainly lives up to the title.

Each match of the top-down PvP shooter is played 2v2 or 3v3 on small symmetrical maps.

Battlerite was released on Steam by Hi-Rez studios in November 2017, after ten months of early access. The game is free to play and sees over 6,000 daily players on average.

Battlerite is a MOBA stripped of laning phases and structure eliminations- it is a celebration of team fighting.

It’s unique nature keeps it exciting and entertaining, with a healthy following on Twitch and YouTube, and active player communities on Reddit.

With an active development team and big plans for the future, including the introduction of the Battlerite Royale mode, Battlerite isn’t going anywhere and is certainly worth a try!

7. Heroes of Newerth 

Total Registered Players: 30 million+ as of 2015
Total Active Players: Unknown. 5-10K estimated in North American servers. 

Teams of five battle as the Legion vs. the Hellbourne, fighting to destroy either the central map structure, or the enemy teams base. P.C. FrostBurn Studios

Heroes of Newerth could be accurately described as an old game on its way out.

HoN was officially released by S2 Games in December 2010 with mechanics and gameplay similar to MOBA giants Dota 2 and League of Legends.

The game was at its peak from 2010- 2013 with 460,000 unique players and 150,000 concurrent players in May 2013.

The game was acquired by Garena in May 2015 and is operated by FrostBurn Studios, although it does not see active development.

Heroes of Newerth has struggled over the past few years with long queue times, poor server function and a declining player base.

Both the subreddit and official forums are somewhat lackluster, with only 10k subscribers to the subreddit. It does land several hundred daily Twitch viewers and has managed to maintain a loyal player base.

Despite a positive reception and a meta-critic score of 76 out of 100, Heroes of Newerth has struggled to stand on its own and is always falling short in the comparison to Dota 2 and League of Legends.   

5. Paladins

Total Registered Players: 25 million+ 
Total Active Players: 17,581/day through Steam in 2018 

Paladins pits customizable champions against each other in objective based battles. P.C. Hi-Rez Studios

Paladins is a fast-paced shooter MOBA, pitting teams of five customizable champions against each other in objective based matches.

The free-to-play game gives players 36 champions to choose from. Players can then customize each Champion’s abilities and gameplay with a unique deck-building system, one of the most appealing parts of the game.

On 16 May, user WESTdeen said “What makes Paladins' game play so fun and deep is its Cards Deck Building where you can change a Champions playstyle depending on the deck you have chosen made of 5 cards out of 20 and 1 talent out of 4.”

Paladins release was overshadowed by accusations of playing as an imitation Overwatch. It has since come into its own with an active Esports scene and community.

Paladins regularly sees play on 40+ Twitch channels and thousands of daily comments and posts on YouTube.

The game boasts an active subreddit with over 50k subscribers, and lively official forums. Paladins is a light-hearted, entertaining game for MOBA lovers looking for a new way to experience the genre.

4. Smite

Total Registered Players: 20 Million in 2016
Total Active Players: 8,965/day through Steam in 2018  

Smite pits a pantheon of powerful gods against each other in wild battles. Image: Hi-Rez Studios

Smite was released in 2014 as the original MOBA offering from Hi-Rez studios (who are also responsible for Paladins).

The game is filled with gods, goddesses and mythical creatures from cultures across the world. The free-to-play game launched with a number of PvP game  modes, the most popular being Conquest, a classic MOBA style mode played on a three lane battleground.

Smite has received favorable reviews since its release. In 2014 Game Informer wrote, “Smite is an excellent addition to an expanding genre, and one that distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack with decidedly different gameplay, a quirky and lighthearted take on classic mythology, and a variety of interesting modes.”

Smite benefits from active developers, frequent new content and events, and an active community across Reddit, YouTube and Twitch. Smite also supports an exciting Esports scene. The Smite World Championship offers a total prize pool of $1M.

3. Heroes of the Storm

Total Registered Players: Unknown. Blizzard Ent. has kept a tight lid on this information.
Total Active Players: Approximately 300,000/daily players

Heroes of the Storm has been described as a casual MOBA, with Blizzard working to remove the pressure and toxicity which the larger MOBAs are notorious for.  P.C. Blizzard Ent.

Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard Entertainment’s contribution to the flourishing world of MOBAs.

The game was launched in June 2015 as an online arena where heroes from the other Blizzard franchises come to do battle. Heroes of the Storm is free-to-play, and while Blizzard has kept a tight lid on official player numbers, the game is typically in the top 50 most watched on Twitch.

Heroes of the Storm has been well received overall since release, attracting players by eliminating certain elements of classic MOBAs thought to be tedious or drawn out.

Metacritic user LoneWolfStones noted,
“Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard's take on the MOBA genre. It smartly trims the more tedious elements of other MOBA's like LoL and Dota and stands on its own as a fresh experience that is both faster paced and more accessible. Gone is the laning phase and other things you might be familiar with. In fact you can get about the map much faster by using mounts.”

2. Dota 2

Total Registered Players: 100million+
Total Active Players: 448,328/daily on Steam in 2018

Dota 2 is the stand alone sequel to the popular Defense of the Ancients, a mod developed for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos  P.C. Valve Corporation

Dota 2 was released by Valve Corporation in 2013 as a free-to-play game through Steam. Since then, it has consistently maintained its status as one of the top MOBAs on the market, standing second only to League of Legends.

With nearly 5 million followers on Twitch, up to 50 YouTube videos uploaded per day, and 430K sub-reddit subscribers, it’s clear that the Dota 2 community is alive and well.

Although the game is notoriously complex and difficult to master, it has managed to hold the attention of millions of players for many years. It has dominated the world of professional gaming for years, with the 2017 International Dota 2 Championship fielding a prize pool of over $20 million- a record broken just this week by Epic Games announcement of a $100 million prize pool for the first season of competitive Fortnite.

1. League of Legends

Total Registered Players: 100million+
Total Active Players: Approx. 27 million/daily in 2017 

League of Legends has an average of 27 million daily players across the globe.  P.C. Riot Games

In the world of MOBAs League of Legends has been the undisputed top of the list for active players.

Released in 2009 by Riot Games, it has grown to over 100 million registered players, and maintains one of the most active professional gaming communities in the world. LoL typically sits in the Top 5 most viewed games on Twitch, with over 64,000 viewers at the time of writing.

LoL is a classic MOBA, with 5v5 games played on laned battlegrounds. Players can choose from numerous champions to do battle, working to destroy the enemy’s player base. League of Legends is home to a nearly maniacal fan base, with most gamers either loving it or hating it.

Gamer RIOP3L explained the draw, and the downsides of the game on Metacritic in 2016.

“If you like the game, you will want to get better and better until you are the best. This is what keeps everyone hooked on this game for years. Gameplay is good. Game can induce rage when you face opponents way better than you, or when your teammates are too bad. Losing is humiliating. Also, the lore is good, but you have to search for it on the internet. Only start playing this game if you have a good, controllable temper”

No matter what users, fans, or critics say, League of Legends will continue to top any list of Most Played MOBAs for years to come.

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Race- Human; Class- Warrior Princess; Traits- Curiousity, Excitability, Optimism; Skills- gaming, story telling, baking, napping.
Gamer Since: 1996
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Currently Playing: Hearthstone, Overwatch, Fortnite, Heroes of the Storm
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Heroes of the Storm, Child of Light

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