Over the past two years, thanks to Smite, I’ve gotten sucked into the MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) genre. I’ve learned about jungling, last-hitting, and counter-picking. I’ve played every major MOBA out there, and while Smite is my preference, I’m always interested in new genre entries.
Fresh to the scene is Call of Champions, a new mobile MOBA from Spacetime Studios.
Call of Champions is a 3v3 MOBA featuring 16 champions and five character classes. The rounds are short five minute bouts, and there is no item store, which helps to accelerate players directly into the gameplay. Having no items is a newish trend in MOBAs, which I first experienced in Heroes of the Storm. The absence of items further reduces the learning curve in Call of Champions, which lends well to the game’s existence as a viable mobile title.
Every character has five special abilities to utilize as well as their default basic attack. The special abilities range from summoning sandstorms to earth-shattering ground punches and freezing blasts of air. What you see is what you get in Call of Champions, and without the inclusion of stat-modifying items, each ability has the same effect each time it is used.
The bright-side to this consistency is that new players are not at any particular disadvantage for not knowing how to build up a champion with items. But, this also means that players can hit the skill ceiling for champions very quickly. Learning how to chain abilities together is as easy as reading the tool tips and seeing that one ability does more damage, for example, to targets who have been hit by another one of your abilities.
Being so easy to learn, the real difficulty in Call of Champions comes from working with your own team. Unless you’re playing in a room with one or two of your friends, there is no real way to communicate with your team members beyond four generic indicators that you can ping onto the mini-map.
When players are all randomized, and playing on their own, it’s not such an issue. But when you’re matched up against a pair of players (or worse, a whole trio) who are clearly working together, you’ll notice it. They will roll around together in a pack, ganking, and taking out towers with little resistance since your teammates are probably going to try and split up to push the lane that the group isn’t in. This is exactly what the enemy group wants, and they will just rotate and pick off the lone player before they know what hit them.
While the annoyance of having to go up against an organized team occurred from time to time, what was far more annoying for me was the lack of teleport-to-base ability. Because respawn times are so short, and the map is relatively small, the lack of a teleport option means that after a team-fight I’d have to hoof it back to base to heal myself, and by the time I ran back out to lane, my opponents were already alive and heading back. We’d usually meet right in the middle to duke it out, die, repeat.
Very little was ever accomplished in fair fights, in other words.
Matchmaking and respawn annoyances aside, Call of Champions is a great first step into the world of MOBAs for players new to the genre. With short matches, a respectable selection of champions to choose from and easy-to-learn mechanics, Call of Champions is certainly a great mobile game, let alone a decent, albeit very basic, MOBA experience.