One of the new features of the Heart of Thorns add-on for Guild Wars 2 is a new player vs. player mode called stronghold. ArenaNet recently revealed details about this mode and it turns out it’s basically a five vs. five MOBA. You can read an overview of stronghold mode here and watch a detailed presentation on an abandoned map in this forty minute video. You’ll note stronghold has all the trappings of a MOBA, with the equivalent of creeps, player roles, lanes, defensive towers, jungling, and resource gathering. That’s the map up there. You can see the lanes. You can also see that it’s got trebuchets. I don’t think trebuchets are a trapping of MOBAs, but they should be.
One of the things that mystifies me about MOBAs is how long they can take. A round of League of Legends takes about twice as long as it should, especially considering the relatively brittle match progression. You’re just knocking down towers, one after the other. There’s none of the fluidity you get in an actual RTS, with base building, variable army composition, and wide-open maps. Do MOBA players really want to push their way down the same lanes for over a half hour? Given the popularity of the genre, I guess they do.
So for all the MOBA trappings of stronghold mode, I’m delighted to hear ArenaNet designer Hugh Norfolk say:
We want to still preserve that feeling that you can play PvP in Guild Wars 2 and you’re not investing some weird amount of time that can be anywhere from ten minutes to thirty minutes to forty minutes or whatever. So we want to preserve time so players can have quick intense battles over a short period of time.
He later estimates that a round of stronghold will last fifteen minutes. That sounds about right to me. I can be finishing up my third round of stronghold while you’re finally getting to the enemy base in your first round of League of Legends!