Zynga's Solstice Arena will do away with minions and farming in order to focus on nothing but fast-and-furious fighting.
The multiplayer online battle arena is a tough business to break into, but Zynga hopes to make a go of it with Solstice Arena, an iOS-exclusive MOBA designed for short, quick battles of just five to 12 minutes each - hence the term "speed MOBA." The focus is on three-vs-three battles but the game will offer single and multiplayer coop combat against bots as well, with a matchmaking and queue system designed to put together players based on their skill, level and hero abilities. Ten customizable heroes designed for different styles of play will be available at launch.
But the big twist is the focus on quick, intense battles. Farming and minions have been eliminated from the equation in order to put the focus squarely on combat, which Zynga described as "a deliberate design choice that we believe transforms this genre perfectly for the demands of mobile and the average player's busy lifestyle." And while players will be able to spend money on "extensive customization options," a big effort is also being made to avoid the pay-to-win situations that plague so many free-to-play multiplayer games.
I don't play MOBAs myself so I have no idea how this one is likely to fare; maybe the iOS exclusivity will help and it's perfectly possible that the focus on speed will actually be a real game changer. But given the recent unfortunate fate of Battle for Graxia, which Petroglyph Games announced will be taken offline at the end of June, I have to think that it has some pretty big hurdles ahead of it.
Solstice Arena is available now for the iPad and iPhone.