Arena of Valor
|Arena of Valor|
|Genre(s)||Multiplayer online battle arena|
Arena of Valor (Chinese: 傳說對決; pinyin: Chuánshuō Duìjué), formerly Realm of Valor then Strike of Kings, is an international adaptation of Honor of Kings (Chinese: 王者荣耀; pinyin: Wángzhě Róngyào), a multiplayer online battle arena developed by TiMi Studios and published by Tencent Games for Android, iOS and Nintendo Switch for markets outside mainland China. As of September 2018, the game has grossed over $140 million outside China. Arena of Valor was one of six Esports video games featured at the 2018 Asian Games, 2019 Southeast Asian Games, and 2021 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games as part of the demonstration sport.
Arena of Valor is a 3D, third-person, multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game for mobile. The game has multiple modes, with the main three being Grand Battle, Valley Skirmish and Abyssal Clash. Players compete in these matches which on average last for around 12 – 18 minutes. Players aim to destroy enemy turrets on the map, with the victory condition being to destroy the enemy core.
Players control characters, referred to as heroes, and each of these heroes have a unique set of abilities. Heroes start the game at a low level, and can earn gold and experience (XP) in various ways: Killing non-player creatures such as minions or monsters, defeating other players, destroying structures, passively through time and through special items that can be purchased through the shop. Earning experience unlocks and augments abilities, making the hero more powerful. Items purchased in the shop do not carry over matches, and therefore all players are on equal footing at the start of every match.
Matches give players rewards, such as gold, which can then be used to buy a variety of heroes or arcana. In addition to this, players can play a 'Ranked' match type, which allows them to be matched with players who are at their skill level and be assessed through in-game 'ranks'. Stars are earnt for a victory, and lost when the player loses.
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There are various game modes, with 5v5, also known as Grand Battle or Ranked, being the most popular.
Valley Skirmish is a 3v3 game mode using a much smaller map. In this version of the game, there is only one turret and a core base for both team. These games are designed to be much quicker, and typically last for 4 – 6 minutes.
Abyssal Clash is a 5v5 game mode where players are given randomly selected heroes. Players may choose to re-roll once and receive a different hero. The game map, Abyss Canyon, only has one lane, with two turrets and a core base connected at either end of the lane. There are certain restrictions which do not appear in the default 5v5 mode: Items may only be purchased before leaving the base or upon death and hero healing at the team base is disabled. There are health regeneration runes that appear next to each turret, which provide heroes with a small regeneration effect.
Hook Wars is one of the party/entertainment game modes that is available to play every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The game map, Treasure Bay, is made up of two large connected vessels. There are no minions, turrets or bases in this mode. Each player is able to use a Hook as a special ability, which can grab an enemy on the opposite boat or from long distances. Players aim to capture the Control Zone, located at the center of the map, and hold the zone for a certain duration (until the counter reaches 100%). The capture rate increases with the number of players standing within the zone.
There are 101 heroes in Arena of Valor as of June 16, 2020. Arena of Valor divides the heroes into numerous categories that each play different roles. The most notable difference is the type of damage a hero deals - some heroes deal physical damage, which can be countered by the armor stat, whilst other heroes deal mainly magic damage, which is countered by the magic resistance stat. Some heroes deal both types of damage, and some deal 'true' damage, which cannot be countered by either armor or magic resistance. All heroes are classified as one of six categories, with some heroes overlapping multiple categories.
- Marksman: Also known as "AD Carry/ADC", marksmen are ranged heroes that usually deal physical damage mostly through their auto attack. This hero type deals sustained damage, and therefore are useful in teamfights in order to reduce opponent's health. They are also very efficient in taking objectives such as turrets. However, they are often fragile and vulnerable. Examples of marksmen are Tel'Annas, Valhein, and Yorn.
- Mage: Mages are sometimes known as "AP Carry/APC". These heroes deal high amount of burst magic damage. Some mages are fragile while some mages are more durable depending on the respective itemization. Mages are a mix of ranged heroes, which deal damage from afar, or melee heroes, which deal damage from close distances. Examples of mages are Lauriel, Liliana, and Tulen.
- Assassin: These are heroes that are designed to deal large amounts of damage quickly, and often do not have much health. Assassins often search for the enemy marksman or mage as well as any other fragile heroes to eliminate quickly. They are also responsible for shutting down enemies that are on a killing spree. They have high mobility and burst damage for focusing valuable enemy targets. Examples of assassins are Murad, Nakroth, and Zill.
- Tank: Tanks are heroes that have large amounts of HP and usually build completely defensive to be able to soak damage for the team. As a result, they often deal little damage. However, they often have abilities known as 'crowd control' that allow them to inhibit the movement of the enemy team. In addition to this, they can use these abilities to initiate a teamfight, or to prevent the enemy team from attacking high priority targets such as an ally marksman or mage. Examples of tanks are Xeniel, Thane, and Toro.
- Warrior: Heroes that blend the attributes of damage dealer and tank, combining moderate survivability with respectable damage. Warriors usually have a balanced amount of health, defense, and attack damage, which is a common designation for close-range melee duelist. Thus, they able to survive long periods of fighting and excel in doing continuous sustain damage. Warriors are all-rounded and tend to be extremely strong in 1v1 scenarios. Examples of warriors are Florentino, Rourke, and Omen.
- Support: Heroes whose abilities aid the rest of the team by providing healing, buffing allies (such as movement speed buffs), debuffing the enemy team (such as stunning), or a combination of the above. Support heroes are often paired with the marksman in the early laning phase of the game where the support doesn't kill minions but instead focuses on aiding their partner and harassing the enemy heroes. Support heroes usually aid ally marksman as they are often weaker during the early phase of the game and need assistance in order to survive. Example of supports are Alice, Annette, and Krizzix.
Players can purchase items, which make a large impact on the hero stats and playstyle. An example of this is Zephys, a dual warrior/assassin class. He has a passive ability that increases damage reduction against incoming damage based on a proportion of health lost. If only offensive items are bought, he will deal a lot of damage but will have a low amount of health and defense, which impact survivability. If Zephys purchases a mix of offensive and defensive items, he can take damage for the team while still dealing a noticeable amount of damage. If Zephys buys only defensive items, he can boost his damage reduction passive to its maximum potential, being literally almost impossible to die in most circumstances like a Tank class character, but will deal drastically lower amounts of damage.
This kind of playstyle can be applied to all heroes, allowing tanks to act as warriors, mages to act as supports, and vice versa.
Arena of Valor (formerly Strike of Kings) is an international adaptation of Honor of Kings for markets outside mainland China. In 2015, Tencent approached Riot Games and asked them to turn their multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game League of Legends into a mobile title. However, Riot Games declined and claimed that the gameplay of League of Legends could not be replicated on smartphones. Tencent proceeded to create their own mobile MOBA game, Wangzhe Rongyao, roughly translated to English as Honor of Kings, and was released on November 26, 2015. Nevertheless, several Riot Games employees deemed that the design of characters and abilities in Honor of Kings were "blatantly ripping off the intellectual property of League of Legends", and reportedly brought these concerns to Tencent. Tencent responded that they would change its own game enough to sell as a standalone product with no relation to League of Legends. Despite this, Honor of Kings already gained massive popularity in China at this point. Tencent felt that it was too late to make huge changes to the game, so they decided that Honor of Kings will only go through small necessary changes, while the international release of the game outside mainland China will be the one that features different content, hence leading to the creation of Arena of Valor.
Arena of Valor is developed by TiMi Studios with the same engine and user interface design as Honor of Kings and published by Tencent Games for the western market. Garena joined the development team as they helped to westernize the atmosphere of the game. The in-game characters have been swapped from characters inspired by Chinese folklore and Chinese mythology, to characters inspired by European folklore and several mythologies from other nations, with blending a variety of elements including Lovecraftian horror, steampunk, high fantasy, and sword and sorcery to appeal audiences outside mainland China. The appearance of in-game characters mostly recycled and revamped designs of characters from Heroes of Newerth, a MOBA game that Garena had acquired from S2 Games.
Arena of Valor included several characters such as Butterfly, Violet, and Mina from Age of Gunslingers (Chinese: 槍神紀; pinyin: Qiángshénjì), a third-person shooter that was developed by Tencent and TiMi Studios. These characters have different lore than the game where they originated. Additionally, Arena of Valor has multiple collaborations with other franchises, including crossover interaction with characters from DC Universe, Contra, and Wiro Sableng. The game has collaborated with KFC and Sword Art Online to advertize the game, with the mascot of the respective franchises made their appearance in the game as a skin.
Tencent originally intended to feature characters from Marvel Comics during the earliest development stage of Arena of Valor before they collaborated with DC Comics, with the closed Beta test (of the game under the name of Marvel Super Heroes MOBA (Chinese: 超级战场; pinyin: Chāojí zhànchǎng). The initial game featured some characters from Tencent's intellectual property such as Butterfly, Violet, Mina, Valhein, and Zanis crossovers with Marvel's characters. However, Marvel took back their license, forcing Tencent to shut down the game. Subsequently, TiMi Studios had to restart the development from scratch and redesign the game, creating the current appearance of Arena of Valor. Tencent approached DC Comics to include its characters as a replacement.
The soundtrack for Arena of Valor was composed by American music artist Matthew Carl Earl, creating a different atmosphere compared to the original score with Chinese music instruments in Honor of Kings.
Arena of Valor has a wide variety of publishers for different regions. Arena of Valor was first launched in Taiwan on October 14, 2016 by Garena, following a two-week closed beta testing period. On October 17, 2017, Garena launched Arena of Valor in Malaysia, Singapore, and Philippines, where a majority of the gaming community plays mobile games. Garena decided to combine these three countries in one server. In South Korea, the game was published by Netmarble on April 26, 2017. The game was released in European markets by Tencent in August 10, 2017, and was released in North and Latin American mobile app stores on December 19, 2017. On June 28, 2018, Tencent implemented "Asia server" unannounced. This server included Australia, New Zealand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Brunei. In Japan, DeNA cooperated with Tencent to launch Arena of Valor on November 30, 2018.
The game was announced to be released for the Nintendo Switch console during the September 2017 Nintendo Direct presentation. A closed beta became available for the platform between June and July 2018, and participants received an exclusive in-game skin for one of the characters. The game is confirmed to launch on the platform on September 25, 2018.
Speaking to Engadget, Tencent Games revealed the Nintendo Switch port of the game is enhanced and optimized for the platform, taking advantage of the console's processing power and hardware features to implement various changes to the game, such as improved graphics and animations, better lighting, smoother lines, and additional minute details like butterflies. Additionally, several adjustments were made to the game to be playable on a bigger screen with traditional controls, and stats for characters have been reconfigured. Because of these changes, cross-play between the Nintendo Switch and mobile versions of the game is not possible. Tencent Games have plans for competitive events based on the Nintendo Switch version.
Riot Games implied that their relationship with Tencent is still strong, and the conflict between them and their games is only "a bump in the road". In July 2017, Riot Games filed a lawsuit against Moonton, the developer of the rival game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, for copyright infringement, citing similarities between Mobile Legends and League of Legends. Riot Games complained that the name title of Mobile Legends sounds confusingly similar to League of Legends. The case was initially dismissed in Central District Court of California in United States on account of forum non conveniens. Tencent, as Riot's parent company, filed a new, separate lawsuit on behalf of Riot Games, directly targeting Moonton's CEO, Watson Xu Zhenhua in Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court, which ruled in Tencent's favor in July 2018, awarding Tencent a settlement of $2.9 million (RMB19.4 million). The case was generally renowned as "LoL vs MLBB", which is to cause major public relation damage to the Mobile Legends's brand as a whole through word of mouth to make the game well-known that it has ripped-off League of Legends illegally.
With both Honor of Kings and Arena of Valor still continuously increasing in popularity, playerbase, and have a huge esports scene, Riot Games then realized and acknowledged the potential of the mobile market for the MOBA genre. Riot Games eventually announced their own mobile MOBA game, League of Legends: Wild Rift on October 16, 2019, which is the 10th year anniversary of League of Legends.
Arena of Valor tournaments have been held in numerous regions, with each region having their own local leagues such as Garena Challenger Series Pro League (GCS) in Taiwan, Realm of Valor Pro League (RPL) in Thailand, Arena of Glory (AOG) in Vietnam, Arena of Valor Star League (ASL) in Indonesia, Arena of Valor: Valor Cup (AVC) in Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines, Arena of Valor: Valor Series (AVS) in Europe, North America, and Latin America, and Arena of Valor Japan League (AJL) in Japan.
Arena of Valor also has two annual world championship tournaments; Arena of Valor International Championship (AIC) and Arena of Valor World Cup (AWC). AIC is a tournament where teams from across the world participate to earn profit and glory for their own esport organisation, while AWC is a tournament where teams participate under the banner of their national flag to represent their own country.
The first AIC was held in South Korea from November 23 to November 26, 2017. The event attracted more than 36,000,000 online viewers, breaking mobile game records worldwide and has since become the leading standard of mobile eSports. The game occupying the top positions of mobile game rankings in Asia for months has also received the honor of Google Play’s Best of 2017 Game award in Europe. The second AIC tournament was held in Thailand from November 23 to December 16, 2018. The tournament increased the number of competing teams to 16, with teams competing for the title and a proportion of the prize pool worth $600,000 (£460,000). The third AIC tournament was also held in Thailand from November 5 to November 24, 2019. It featured an additional all-new 1v1 competition, where one player represents each team and the winner walking away with $5,000.
The first Arena of Valor World Cup (AWC) tournament was held in Los Angeles, United States, from July 17 to July 28, 2018. A total prize pool of $500,000 made AWC one of the largest mobile eSports tournaments in gaming history. A total of nine regions competed for the grand prize, which includes Taiwan - Hong Kong - Macau, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia - Singapore - Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea, North America, Latin America and Europe. Additionally, the tournament host selected three Wildcard teams to participate in AWC. The second AWC tournament was held in Danang, Vietnam, from June 27 to July 14, 2019, with the same total prize pool of $500,000. The second AWC also marks Japan’s first participation in an AOV international tournament since the game introduced their Japanese server on November 30, 2018.
Asian Games 2018
Arena of Valor was part of the Esports demonstration event at the Asian Games 2018 held in Indonesia. Eight countries were able to participate after qualifying from their respective regional qualification, with Indonesia automatically qualifying as host. Unlike other electronic sports events, there is no qualification for Central and West Asia.
Southeast Asian Games 2019
Arena of Valor won the award for "Best Music in a Casual/Social Game" at the 15th Annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards, whereas its other nomination was for "Best Original Instrumental". It was also nominated for "Original Score – Video Game" at the 2017 Hollywood Music in Media Awards, for "Original Dramatic Score, New IP" at the NAVGTR Awards, for "Best Competitive Game" at the 2018 Golden Joystick Awards, and for "Fan Favorite Mobile Game" at the Gamers' Choice Awards. Arena of Valor: Flip the World won the award for "Song/Score - Mobile Video Game" at the 9th Hollywood Music in Media Awards, while the game itself and Honor of Kings 2.0 were nominated for the same category at the 10th Hollywood Music in Media Awards. The game was also nominated for "Best Mobile Sport" at the Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Awards, while Honor of Kings 2.0 won the award for "Best Music in a Casual Game" at the 18th Annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards, whereas its other nomination was for "Best Sound Design in a Causal/Social Game".
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