Built to Play visits PAX East and decides to talk about roguelikes and their friend in a bind, the MOBA.
PAX East is our one big trip of the year. We can't afford planes, trains or automobiles, so we really try to go to a convention where we'll see a lot of new ideas and fascinating approaches to gameplay. One of the big trends we noticed on our first day, however, was gameplay based on two genres, the roguelike and the mobile online battle arena. They like like fairly different genres, but tend to be implemented for the same reasons: People like them, and they make money. That's not to say that these genres have been implemented poorly, but stretching the idea of both a procedurally generated landscape can only go so far, and often results in a more generic experience than a replayable one.
The MOBA by comparison feels more like a blatant cash in as various companies are slightly tweaking the concept of heroes running at each other in an arena to target potential League of Legends players who have yet to pick up the game. There has been some advancement in the MOBA The shooter equivalent the Team Fortress 2 replica or first person arena combat progresses the genre beyond the scope of the top down perspective. But even that seems to be copied frequently and without nuance.