Playing MOBAs requires a bit of a time investment. There are complicated rules to learn, dozens of heroes to know, and you have to figure out how to deal with the toxicity bred from a highly competitive genre. But Strife, an upcoming MOBA by Heroes of Newerth developer S2 Games, aims to alleviate most of these issues by adjusting its mechanics to promote teamwork instead of intra-team flaming.
Strife sticks to the three-lane setup, but adds a unique twist: In most MOBAs, last hitting a minion provides the attacker with a set amount of gold. In Strife, that gold is shared among the team, encouraging teamwork and reducing cooperative tension. Its hero roster--smaller than the 118 playable characters in S2's HoN--has also been designed to be flexible, meaning every hero can fulfill multiple roles. That way, you can select your favorite character regardless of the position you'll be playing in a given match.
To facilitate that flexibility, Strife includes an item crafting system. You might, for example, spend resources earned by playing matches to add a bunch of health bonuses to a standard damage item, turning a bruiser hero into a damage-heavy tank. Heroes are further supplemented by pets, of which there are several to choose from. Each of these provides a specific passive buff, such as an increase in attack or magic damage, as well as a single activated ability suited for escaping ganks or buffing your stopping power.
Many of these tweaks may seem too granular to have much of an impact on the way you'd expect a MOBA to play, but their potential is promising. We'll have to wait until Strife enters beta this fall to see whether or not its focus on accessibility and fostering a positive community will yield a more friendly competitive, team-based experience. But we sure wouldn't mind if it did.
Check out the following slides for additional images and information.