The Beat

tuesdayexclusiveDawngatenew.png POSTED BY EA Staff ON Aug 19, 2014

Evolving MOBA: Developing Dawngate with its Players

Senior Producer Dave Cerra from Waystone Games shares how Dawngate is an evolution in the MOBA genre.


“So EA is making a MOBA? Why?” We get that a lot. 

Multiuser Online Battle Arenas (or MOBA for short) are one of the most popular genres in gaming. Whether you call them MOBA or ARTS, these 5v5 team games are incredibly deep.  Developers big and small are creating new experiences for this genre.

We’re often asked: What makes Dawngate different?

We Built Waystone to Build Dawngate

To do MOBAs right, you need MOBA players with thousands of hours of gameplay experience. You need digital natives who get why control code gets squishy with an authoritative server, and how to maximize constraints to maximize performance. You need artists who naturally prioritize readability to prioritize competitive gameplay. And you need designers who can see a different state of the art. That’s why we built Waystone Games.

Our team has worked on games ranging from League of Legends to World of Warcraft to The Sims. We know online games, we know deep games, and we know MOBA. And our players are confirming that we’re not crazy to try to contribute something new to the genre. Though Dawngate is still in Community Beta, the game has already been adopted by hundreds of thousands of players in this early stage. The enthusiasm of our growing community humbles, validates, and drives us like nothing else.

Make Choices Based on Your Role

In Dawngate, you play the character you want, the way you want, and still contribute to your team. This is very different than other MOBAs. But Dawngate didn’t begin life with this key feature.

Dawngate evolved over time. We’ve built dozens of different MOBAs and well over a hundred different maps, searching for that spark in the gameplay, and eventually iterated our way into the game we now call Dawngate. 

In multiplayer games, a “Metagame” generally evolves. The math behind the optimal way to play emerges and a “correct” way to play becomes law. We knew that we wanted to challenge this, and the Role System became our answer. 

In Dawngate, you are not restricted to a certain character in a certain role. Players can choose their Shaper and then decide how they want to play by declaring a role. 

Want to roam around and kill people? Pick Predator. Focus on last-hitting mechanics? Go Gladiator. Clear jungle camps? Hunter is for you. And do you love to support? Take Tactician … supporting in Dawngate is like nothing else.  

The game will reward your play style, freeing you up to choose who you want to play and still contribute to your team. This feature unique to Dawngate within the world of MOBAs.

New Rules, Core MOBA Mechanics

We focused on creating a new map with new rules. Dawngate still features core MOBA mechanics like lanes – we actually tried getting rid of those, but it just didn’t feel like MOBA without them. But there’s a lot new as well.

In Dawngate, there are two lanes with a huge jungle that opens up all new strategic possibilities. Spirit Wells sit outside the lines and act as resource nodes, allowing players to fight over the game’s economy in a manner unique to Dawngate.

And in Dawngate, the base fights back: we put a huge raid boss into each base, making the end of each game a climactic push. Dawngate’s map structure creates a MOBA that’s both immediately familiar yet strikingly different. Combined with the role system,

Dawngate offers a very original MOBA experience.

Living Lore 

Finally, we wanted to bring something to the genre that’s never been a focus for a MOBA: rich story and character. Dawngate’s story unfolds in The Dawngate Chronicles, bringing the player’s characters to life in a story filled with drama and some serious feels.

But we didn’t want to just stop there, so we made it the whole thing interactive.

At critical points in the storyline, a "vote" opens. Players choose a side, and every game played casts a vote. When the vote closes, the story moves forward reflecting the community's choice, often revealing new content like playable characters and skins.

It's like a massive RPG campaign where the whole community choose the adventure and drives content directly back into the game. The feature is still evolving with the players in Beta right now and we're having a blast.

Building the Future

We're in this for the long haul. We just put our first pass at a Practice Mode into the game, letting new players learn the ropes against bots before jumping into PvP. Last week at gamescom in Germany, we launched our EU Alpha servers. 

MOBA is just getting started, and Dawngate is an evolution that not only needs your help ... it's something you need to get in on early. 

You can follow Dawngate on Twitter, Facebook, Twitch and Reddit. Community Beta is open now ... join us at!


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