On seeing the gigantic popularity of multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, developer Super Evil Megacorp decided the genre could work brilliantly on touchscreen devices and set out to create the ultimate MOBA on mobile. The spectacular result is Vainglory, and as testament to the game’s brilliance, it already has a huge following and has become the focal point of a prestigious eSports league.

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Super Evil Megacorp is comprised of a bunch of highly creative folks with an impressive gaming pedigree having developers previously worked for Riot Games, Blizzard Entertainment, Rockstar Games, Guerrilla Games and Playfish among others. For them, Vainglory is a labor of love, and you can really sense that when you play the game.

In Vainglory, which is now available on SHIELD Tablet K1, a battle is raging between two teams with each team being made up of three characters. Each team also has its own base and inside this base resides a crystal called the vain. The goal of each team is to make their way from their own base to that of the enemy and destroy the crystal, thus securing victory.

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On any given map there are several things to consider. Each character has his or her own unique abilities so finding a good balance within a team is crucial to success. What’s more, when a battle commences there is a brief opportunity to visit the shop where players purchase items that can be deployed to gain an advantage. There are healing objects like the Fountain of Renewal, defensive items that create a barrier between your character and the enemy, and offensive tools like the Swift Shooter that increase the speed of your attacks.

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Then there are the minions. These are AI-controlled creatures that swarm around the battlefield either assisting in attacking the enemy or acting as cannon fodder while the human player concentrates on making progress relatively unhindered.     

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Take all these elements together and you have a deep, chess-like strategic and tactical challenge but played out in real-time lending the whole exercise a sense of panic and urgency. Only those players who can work well together under pressure will succeed.

It’s no wonder that MOBA games lend themselves to competitive eSports environments. Like any great sport, Vainglory presents teams with a goal (to win), rigidly enforced rules, and a limited palette of tools with which to do so.

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The result is an absolutely gripping experience and this is why eSports in general, and Vainglory in particular are proving so compelling for players, gaming fans and casual observers alike. The first North American live season finals are taking place in Santa Ana, California between December 4 through December 6. Sponsored by NVIDIA, whose SHIELD Tablet K1 is the hardware of choice for many Vainglory teams, and broadcast on Twitch, perhaps it’s time you made your mark on this thrilling new frontier of gaming.  

Vainglory is now available to download on SHIELD Tablet K1 from Google Play for free.