Gandalf, stop feeding the Balrog.
The MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) genre, which was first popularized with Warcraft III mod DOTA, has been seeing a golden age lately with hugely popular titles like League of Legends or Valve’s DOTA 2. Now, one of the most beloved universes in all of geekdom is getting in on the action with Guardians of Middle-Earth.
According to the official site, Guardians of Middle-Earth will feature the 5v5 battles typical of the genre, presumably with the standard three-lane-and-jungle setup as well. There will be over 20 “iconic” guardians playable in the game, like Sauron, Gandalf, and Gollum – Legolas is on the front page of the site, so presumably he’s in there, too. I’m stumped on who exactly that’s supposed to be in the logo with Gandalf, though.
More characters will be added in after release, with some coinciding with the release of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit film this winter – I can only imagine we’ll see Bard the Bowman, Bilbo Baggins, and some of the Dwarves, but I don’t think they’ll be letting anyone play as Smaug the dragon. Just a hunch.
I’m a big fan of MOBA-style games, and I do like Lord of the Rings, so I’ll be interested to see how this plays out, even if it is a console-only release. It just won’t be the same without the frantic right-clicking back to your tower when you’re about to be ganked.