Arena of Valor(AoV) is a MOBA released in the Americas in December 2017.
The MOBA genre is fairly standardized at this point, and Arena of Valor is no stranger. Games start on the standard three-lane map with five characters on each team. Typical gameplay devolves into one character in the middle and top lane, two in the bottom lane, and one in the "jungle", that hunts the neutral creeps. Some changes to the typical formula are:
- Items can be bought for gold at any time, not just at home base
- Characters have four skills instead of five; a passive, two actives, and one "ultimate" active
- Most skills auto-track to targets and have the option to aim manually
Anyone familiar with the game flow of a typical MOBA will feel right at home in AoV. Games of the typical 5v5 game mode will last between 15 to 20 minutes on average. There are multiple game modes to be had, with 1v1 and 3v3 both available in casual and ranked modes.
The game also supports some robust options that shouldn't be overlooked. Things such as auto-targeting priority, GUI placement, and "buy order"(the order in which your items are bought) can be customized.
Player interaction is also taken fairly seriously. Your profile includes a "credibility score" that must be maintained above 90 to play in ranked games, and above 70 for casual games. The game can be connected to your Facebook account and your friends can find you through it. There is an in-game friend system as well, and ranked or standard matches can be played with a pre-formed party. In the game, there is both a standard chat and voice chat feature.
Overall, gameplay in AoV is very compelling. MOBA fans will have a lot to enjoy, and those unfamiliar with the genre will be happy with the tutorial system.
There are three primary currencies in AoV; Gems, Gold, and Vouchers.
The payment structure for AoV is straightforward; like other games in the genre such as League of Legends or Dota 2, free characters are available on a weekly basis, giving you access to a portion of the roster. Purchasing a character costs either Gold or Vouchers, and all characters are purchasable with either. Gold is earned through achievements, winning matches against players, and through Lucky Draws, which I'll explain in a bit.
Vouchers and Gold are also used to purchase boosting items that double your gold or experience gain for a period of time. Arcana, equivalent to Runes from League of Legends, can be bought with Gold. Skins are available for purchase with Vouchers only.
Gems are a special currency acquired through achievements and Lucky Draws. Gems can be used to purchase chests that reward either Arcana, Gold, more Gems, or character "trials", which unlock a hero for a limited time.
Gems are also used to purchase Magic Crystals that are spent to do a "Lucky Draw". This is essentially a "loot box" mechanic that unlocks Gold, Gems, experience boosts, gold boosts, skins, or special legendary skins. You can only buy one Magic Crystal with gems per day.
All of the money spent in AoV is optional; skins, boosts, and Lucky Draws don't have an effect on gameplay. Arcana can help you gain an edge but its completely available via Gold. Gold gain is also fairly generous, as you can get 100 Gold per match fairly easily.
Cost per champion can be prohibitively expensive for those looking to fill out their roster, but the champion variation is actually pretty nice to have. I would be nice if Gems had a greater use.
AoV invokes every other MOBA's art style with their presentation. Overall, the game is very dark. Shadows are heavy and the art direction is dark and serious. Menus look well designed but somewhat low quality. Voices and music are included and unoffensive.
The detail put into character models and skins are apparent and pay off. Icons and skills are also put together with care, and overall there seems to be a lack of bugs or graphical glitches.
Rewards for daily play in AoV are big. To start, there is a standard Gold and Gen bonus for daily logins. Sometimes, a character is included as a login bonus. There's also the Path to Glory, which unlocks over ten free heroes at a rate of one per day, as long as you play games daily. There is also a reward for keeping your credibility score in the 90s, and events that award bonuses as well. The characters, and sometimes skins, that are rewarded are the real treat.
Known as Kings of Glory or Honor of Kings in China, Arena of Valor has gathered a huge following in Asian markets. Worldwide, it has over 200 million players monthly. Outside of the US the game has been out for over two years and has seen a plethora of support.
Proprietors of AoV, Tencent, is also one of the largest game developers in the world. They own League of Legends' developer Riot Games, along with mobile developer Supercell and have the Chinese publishing rights to PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Needless to say, if any game is going to get support for a long while, it's this game.
Arena of Valor has a ton going on. With the support of the large international player base coupled with the monolithic development team, there's not much in the way of AoV. The gameplay is very enjoyable and finding a match has not been difficult in the slightest. And furthermore, rewards for playing and cost for playing are very player friendly.
Arena of Valor is very easy to recommend.