There’s some not-very-different alternate reality where I’m obsessed with MOBA (Multiplay Online Battle Arena) games. I’m not just talking about being one of the folks who picked up League of Legends early on and got way into it; I’m talking about playing these damn games from the beginning. The real weird folks.
I played a lot of Starcraft back during the heyday of the original game. More importantly, I played and created a whole bunch of Starcraft custom maps. Including a map called Aeon of Strife. The Aeon of Strife Starcraft map is sometimes considered the very beginning of MOBAs, though that discounts how many MOBA-like elements were present in the 1989 Megadrive title, Herzog Zwei (which is the progenitor of the entire Real Time Strategy genre). Aeon of Strife featured many of the elements that are now central to the MOBA–hero characters, RPG elements, three lanes, towers, creeps, and so on. But it wasn’t the highly competitive game we know today. Instead, it was purely cooperative–four humans against the AI.
Aeon of Strife gets the credit, but it was hardly the only map of its type. There were single-player RPG maps with similar objectives. Others had jungles and bosses, but lacked the typical three-lane structure. Some were simplified to make them easy to win. And a few were insanely difficult. I think I probably posted an RPG map of some sort to battle.net, which shouldn’t be a surprise. And it was probably terrible.