Garena AOV – Arena of Valor is already featured on ESL but that doesn’t necessarily make it a great mobile MOBA.
Known as the first truly popular mobile MOBA, Garena AOV – Arena of Valor has come a long way from its 2015 release. Players can choose from a diverse roster of heroes that also include the likes of Batman and the Joker. Gameplay-wise, players will have a relatively easy time learning how to play these heroes. Aside from hero diversity, the game looks great and is a far cry from its competitors. Thanks to these, it’s currently the only mobile MOBA included in ESL’s roster of supported games. Despite this, I’m still hesitant to call it the best mobila MOBA in the market today.
It's Wednesday, which means a new Top 5 Plays from @ArenaofValor is OUT! Check out the best plays from last weeks competitive and non-pro tournaments in Episode 9! ?https://t.co/NmjDnwvwH7 pic.twitter.com/HZZRgWPUvX
— ESL Arena of Valor (@ESLArenaofValor) January 24, 2018
Hero balance is excellent
Arena of Valor isn’t the first mobile MOBA that I’ve played and reviewed. About a month ago, I came out with a glowing review of Mobile Legends. And while I generally liked that title’s combat and gameplay mechanics, I wasn’t digging its hero selection. Though there were a lot of tanks, I complained that their offensive capabilities were seriously gimped. This resulted in players opting to play marksmen and assassin heroes that were more offense oriented. In contrast, Garena AOV’s heroes aren’t just as diverse, they also happen to be a little more balanced. Tanks aren’t just damage sponges in this game. They could dish out some mean damage too! As for marksmen, assassin, and mage heroes, they aren’t as overpowered in this game. To offset their damage-dealing capabilities, they have relatively low health (compared to tanks).
Pay to win?
Much like Mobile Legends, heroes could be bought with in-game currency (called Gold) rewarded after every game. Initially, players will be given free heroes for their first couple of games. Then, they’ll have to earn Gold by playing well in either regular or ranked matches. The amount of Gold that a player gets will depend on his/her performance. In addition to this, players can get more Gold as rewards for just completing games. Players who don’t want to grind can also get heroes by buying them using real world cash. With that said, heroes bought using this method won’t give the player any advantage.
Another feature of Arena of Valor that players will like is its graphics. Again, when compared to Mobile Legends, AOV’s graphics looks a lot better. While jaggies are to be expected, they’re not as glaring as what you’d find on ML. The same can be said for the game’s animations and effects. These effects look so good that I sometimes find myself admiring them during team fights. It should be noted that with its graphics and effects, you will need a capable phone to play the game. Even with my mid-end Huawei GR5 2017, I still experienced a little slowdown.
Despite the slowdowns, Arena of Valor on my phone was still playable. The slowdowns were really few and far between that I didn’t really noticed them that much. What I did notice though was the bad netcode that caused numerous disconnects. For a game that’s fast-paced and requires teamwork, these disconnects are maddening. Sometimes I’d go on a killing streak and then a teammate gets disconnected. What then happens, our team is left on a 4 vs 5 situation. While this can be winnable on Mobile Legends, AoV isn’t as forgiving. More often than not, a 4 vs 5 results in us losing team fights. This also means that we can’t split-push or counter a split-push from our opponents.
Woah, #ArenaofValor is coming to #ClosedBeta for #NintendoSwitch on #Europe this Jan 27- 28! Could this be the start of #MOBA coming to consoles? ?#Tencent #iOS #Android #Switch #Gaming #gamedev #Mobagehttps://t.co/JmlI1xwAVc pic.twitter.com/ZDHiF1GMyp
— Mobirum (@Mobirum_World) January 25, 2018
Now disconnects are part of any online multiplayer game. The problem with Garena AOV is that its developers really hasn’t done much to fix the disconnects and lag that players are complaining about. The last time I played Arena of Valor thoroughly was in December. In that time, Garena has steadily released new heroes but no fixes for the disconnect issues. When I came back to play the game for this review, this was still around and actually cost me a match.
Garena AOV is still a great game but…
Make no mistake about it, I highly recommend playing Garena AOV. That is if your phone can manage it and if you have really strong internet connection. Even then, that isn’t going to guarantee that you’re not going to get into those 4 versus 5 situations. I feel like this game could easily overtake Mobile Legends (in the SEA region) in terms of player base. Garena just really needs to refine its netcode and provide players with a smoother gameplay experience. I remember a time when playing ML, I’d always get disconnected. In less than a week, Moonton came up with an update that fixed the issue. Additionally, they made changes to their system that allowed losing players in Ranked play to retain their current ranks if one or more of their teammates went AFK.
— ESL Arena of Valor (@ESLArenaofValor) January 20, 2018
Yes, it’s good that Garena AOV is flourishing as an eSports title. However, Garena not addressing the disconnect issues might end up stymieing the game’s growth. The company should be aware of this now. A couple of years ago, they brought League of Legions to the SEA region. While service was okay in other countries, players in the Philippines complained of constant disconnects and lag spikes. Players got so frustrated that when DoTA came out, a lot of them jumped ship. Now, LoL is considered a byword in the country. If Garena wants to lord it over the mobile MOBA market, they’ll need to do better by their players.