Vainglory (video game)
|Developer(s)||Super Evil Megacorp|
|Publisher(s)||Super Evil Megacorp|
July 2, 2015
|Mode(s)||Multiplayer video game|
Vainglory is a video game developed and published by Super Evil Megacorp for iOS and Android devices. The game is a version of the genre wherein two opposing teams of three or five players fight to destroy the enemy base by controlling the path between the bases, which is lined by turrets and guarded by AI-controlled enemy creatures. Off the path, players battle for control points that provide resources. The game was released for iOS in November 2014, after being soft-launched for over half a year, with the Android version being released in July 2015.
The game's development started in 2012 upon the forming of Super Evil Megacorp. The game was unveiled at Apple's September 2014 iPhone 6 announcement event to demonstrate the platform's Metal graphics API. Super Evil Megacorp attempted to make a game that would entertain players for hours and encourage in-person multiplayer experiences similar to that of a LAN party.
Vainglory received generally favorable reviews. Critics praised the game's graphics, characters, and level design, but criticized its lack of team communication features. Reviewers disagreed on the game's degree of accessibility to newcomers, which was part of the reason why it received mixed reviews.
Vainglory is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game similar to popular MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota 2 but designed for smartphones and tablets. A standard for the genre, two opposing teams fight to reach and destroy the enemy's base while defending their own in a tug of war for control over three paths, the "lanes", which connect the bases. In addition, there are "jungles” between the lanes, which contain creatures and objectives that can be killed or captured.
In Vainglory, teams have five players who each control an avatar, known as a "hero", from their own device. Weaker computer-controlled characters, called "minions", spawn at team bases and follow the lanes to the opposite team's base, fighting enemies and turrets en route. Lining the lanes are turret towers that repel the flow of minions and enemy heroes. The player's objective is to destroy the enemy turrets and ultimately the "Vain crystal" in the enemy team's base.
There are four PvP modes in Vainglory: Standard 5V5 — in which teams of five heroes battle on the Sovereign’s Rise with three lanes and two jungles, Standard 3V3 — in which teams of three heroes battle on the Halcyon Fold with one lane and one jungle, Battle Royale — in which progression is faster and the battle is limited only to the lane, and Blitz — in which players must gain the most number of points or reach the 15 point score cap in 5 minutes by taking down turrets and objectives or killing other heroes. A fifth mode currently unavailable to play, Onslaught, is a seasonal mode exclusive to Winter Seasons of progression, in which for five rounds players are bound to a shrinking border and fight in sudden death battles. Within Standard 5V5 or 3V3, players can choose between Ranked to increase their in-game skill tier or Casual to not affect their prestige. In the game client, 5V5 is listed as a 25 minute play duration while 3V3 is listed at 20 minutes.
In Ranked mode, players are matched by a ranking system. Commonly referred to as Elo/ELO in game chat, the rank points you earn from match wins will go up, and so as you improve, so will the skill of your opponents. Elo is named after Arpad Elo, the mathematician and chess grand master who invented the rank score system that may be at the heart of rank scores in Vainglory.
As of 18 March 2018 (Update 3.1.1), there are 38 hero options. The developers of the game continually add new heroes, each with different skills but balanced for fair play. For example, a hero may have high damage but poor mobility, or strong melee abilities but no ranged option. Players choose between three abilities that upgrade via a common technology tree. There is a set number of heroes that are free to play, with the free to play roster being renewed every week.
The game uses two main in-game currencies for in-app purchases: one that can be earned through normal play and completing missions, known as Glory, and one that can be purchased with money, known as Immensely Concentrated Evil (ICE). ICE can also be earned in game, but it is less common than Glory. Players can unlock additional heroes for a certain amount of Glory. Skins, which change the appearance of heroes, can be unlocked with ICE or by collecting blueprints from the Market or in-game quests. Crafting a skin via a blueprint also requires Essence, obtainable through reward chests or acquiring a blueprint for a skin that a player already owns. Special Edition skins may only be unlocked through Opals, obtainable through reward chests or frequent in-app purchase bundle packs. Update 1.18.0 introduced "chests," which provide another way of obtaining any of these currencies; chests become available after completing a certain action (e.g. win 5 games).
Update 2.5 introduced Talents, collectible hero upgrades exclusively for BRAWL game modes (Blitz and Battle Royale).
Update 3.4 introduced joystick control.
In February 2012, game developer "veterans" from Rockstar, Riot, Blizzard, and Insomniac founded Super Evil Megacorp in San Mateo, California to make a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game for tablet devices, and thus began development on their first game, Vainglory. Apple chose the game to demonstrate the graphics capabilities of their iPhone 6 and Metal graphics API at the iPhone 6's announcement event. The game was soft-launched for six months prior to this September 2014 event, and was released on November 16, 2014.
Kristian Segerstrale, the founder of Playfish and former head of EA Digital, joined Super Evil Megacorp as its COO. Segerstrale expected Vainglory to popularize the MOBA genre like "Halo did for first-person shooters". Segerstrale stated that he hoped Vainglory would become something players "will organize their lives around" rather than something to pass spare time. The game is designed for tablets, which the company felt was the most fitting platform despite its lack of "core games" (games that rewarded "teamwork and strategy" over thousands of hours of play). They told Polygon that tablets were "inherently social", "less alienating to new players", and "possibly the best space for multiplayer play". Super Evil Megacorp CEO Bo Daly said he saw PC MOBA games as solitary experiences and thought tablets could make the experience better for groups as a reinvention of the LAN party, where players share a common gaming experience in the same shared physical space on separate devices. The company also intended for the game to become an eSport. European eSports tournament organizer Electronic Sports League announced the Vainglory Cup, a set of Vainglory competitions, to take place in June 2015 and elevated their partnership with ESL in Summer 2017 for organizing Vainglory 8 NA and EU.
On March 5, 2015 at the Game Developers Conference 2015, it was announced by Super Evil Megacorp that Vainglory would be getting an Android port. After undergoing a closed beta, the game was fully released on July 2, 2015 on the Google Play Store.
One of the most impressive features of Vainglory is its artwork, which is produced by a team directed by Carlo "Chainsaw" Arellano. Players are also invited to guide the development of Vainglory by interacting with the Developers through Livestreams on Twitch.
Update 2.8 (September 2017) adds Keyboard and Mouse support in addition to Samsung's partnership with SEMC for Samsung DeX, a docking station for Samsung S8/S8+/Note 8 to connect listed device to a PC.
SEMC announced in early 2017 that a 5v5 mode was under development. The mode was released on February 13 of 2018.
The game received "generally favorable" reviews, according to video game review score aggregator Metacritic. Reviewers praised the game's graphics, characters, and level design, but criticized its lack of team communication features. While IGN's Mitch Dyer wrote the game was accessible to newcomers, Matt Thrower of Pocket Gamer felt otherwise. The Guardian named Vainglory the "best" iOS game of 2014. The game was one of ten Apple Design Award recipients in 2015.
Matt Thrower of Pocket Gamer noted how the PC-based MOBA genre has had issues adapting its precise controls to the mobile platform, but that Vainglory trimmed features in the right areas. IGN's Mitch Dyer wrote that the game was its own "scaled down, rather than scaled back" version of the MOBA genre, and not an attempt to "approximate" League of Legends and Dota 2 experiences for mobile devices. Dyer praised the game's character and map detail, and wrote that all ten of the heroes had "fun" designs and were enjoyable to play. Thrower felt similarly about its graphics as most reviewers did. Dyer praised the iPad controls, but felt "cramped" on the iPhone 6 Plus. TouchArcade's Ford described the controls as "flawless" and felt that the game's tutorial was among the best he had seen in iOS MOBAs. He added that he considered the game's in-app purchases "very fair" and not "pay-to-win".
IGN's Dyer reported his games to be about 21 minutes in length and noticed that they tended to snowball out of balance by the time the Kraken creature appears at the 15-minute mark. Dyer added that the advantages of in-person team communication made games feel "lopsided". Pocket Gamer's Thrower wrote that the game's "depth" was in learning how to use the individual characters, and that beginners were subject to an "impenetrable learning curve", especially without organized teams. Ford of TouchArcade said his only issue was with players leaving their play session while the game was still in action, but felt this was mitigated by the game's "Karma" matchmaking system. Ford otherwise reported that Vainglory played well as a whole as "probably the best MOBA on iOS".
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- Ford, Eric (November 20, 2014). "'Vainglory' Review – Portable MOBA Magic". TouchArcade. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- Dyer, Mitch (December 10, 2014). "Vainglory Review". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- Corriea, Alexa Ray (June 5, 2014). "Vainglory: Former EA Digital head wants to reinvent the LAN party with a new tablet MOBA". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Heroes Archive - Vainglory". Vainglory.
- Thrower, Matt (November 18, 2014). "Vainglory review". Pocket Gamer. Steel Media. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "Vainglory Critic Reviews for iPhone/iPad". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "VAINGLORY SUMMER 2017 SEASON KICKS OFF TOMORROW ALONGSIDE UPDATE 2.6". Super Evil Megacorp. Retrieved 2017-09-10.
- Dunsmore, Kevin (March 5, 2015). "Vainglory Brings the MOBA Experience to Android Today". Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
- Vainglory Casual (January 16, 2015). "(1/16/15) Dev Livestream - Now with more ChainSAW - Part 1" – via YouTube.
- "Vainglory to Introduce Mouse and Keyboard Support with Samsung DeX". Super Evil Megacorp. Retrieved 2017-09-10.
- Fahey, Mike. "Mobile MOBA Vainglory Upgrades To 5V5 Next Week". Kotaku. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
- Dredge, Stuart (December 23, 2014). "The best iPhone and iPad games of 2014". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on January 11, 2015. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
- Sarkar, Samit (June 9, 2015). "Apple Design Awards 2015 honor seven games, including Crossy Road and Vainglory". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved June 10, 2015.